7 Tips to Prevent Dry Skin & Chapped Hands This Winter (Updated 2023)

Woman putting lotion on shoulder. (MODEL)

Many of us experience painfully dry skin during the winter months. Do you know that feeling, a stinging sensation when you apply soap or lotions? There are a variety of reasons we experience chapped, cracked skin during the winter months. Cold air, dry indoor heat, low humidity levels, and harsh winter wind can all sap your skin of moisture.

Prevention is the best approach to skincare during winter to avoid dry skin, especially in the Rochester, NY, area. If you’re already experiencing painful and frustrating cracks, our dermatologists propose a multi-step treatment and maintenance plan.

How to Prevent and Treat Dry Skin

1) Stay hydrated to prevent dry skin. With decreased humidity in the air, it’s especially important to stay hydrated each day. Drinking plenty of water will not only help your hands, but it will keep skin from drying out all over your body, including your face!

2) Keep your surroundings hydrated. Using a humidifier is helpful beyond just curing a cold or cough. Consider using a small one in your home or office to keep your skin from losing moisture.

3) Use moisturizer immediately after washing. Locking in the skin’s existing moisture within a few minutes after a shower or bath or washing your face and hands can help prevent dry skin. Avoid fancy, perfumed lotions. Instead, use products such as EltaMD moisturizer and other barrier creams that trap moisture. Reapply frequently throughout the day to keep moisture in.

4) Wear gloves. Our hands are often the first place we notice dry skin. You can reduce dry, raw skin by putting on gloves before you go outside during the winter or performing tasks that require your hands to get wet.

5) Apply skincare creams before going to bed. Applying an emollient to your skin overnight gives your skin the time it needs to absorb the treatment and for the emollient to replenish your skin with the moisture and oils it needs.

6) Dial down the water temperature when bathing. A hot shower or bath feels great after a chilly day, but hot water can worsen dry skin. Use lukewarm water and reduce the frequency of bathing, if possible.

7) Wear clothes that won’t irritate your skin. During the winter, even the clothes you choose can irritate your skin. Avoid this by wearing cotton or silk under scratchy fabrics such as wool sweaters. Also, use gentle laundry detergent for washing your clothes.

When Should You See a Dermatologist?

It’s important to recognize when dry skin becomes more than routine and requires evaluation by your dermatologist. If you experience worsening redness, pain, or swelling, use the online form to request a consultation with a member of our team at Dermatology Associates of Rochester or call us at (585) 272-0700 to schedule an appointment.

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