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"How can I prevent dry skin?"

ZocdocAnswersHow can I prevent dry skin?

Question

Every winter my skin gets so dry and itchy that I don?t know what to do. Doesn?t bother me other times of the year, only in the winter. Why do I get this dry skin in the winter and how can I prevent it?

Answer

I am sorry that you experience dry skin (Xerosis). This can be very frustrating. You should follow up with your primary care physician to ensure there are no other symptoms or possible etiologies to cause your dry skin. Dry skin can be exacerbated by excessive washing and dry environments (more prominent during winter months). You can try to avoid excess washing and use a mild soap like Dove or Lever 2000. A well cleaned humidifier is often helpful during winter months to prevent the increased dryness in the environment. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which there is a defect in skin molecules that help keep the skin hydrated, such as filaggrin. Eczema often runs in families and can be associated with asthma and allergies. symptoms typically get worse during the cold months and can lead to dry, itchy skin. However, it seems that you only get symptoms during the winter so true eczema may be less likely. Nevertheless, the main aspect of eczema and dry skin treatment is topical moisturizers. You can moisturize may times a day with a fragrant free lotion like Aquaphor, vaseline, and hydrolated petrolatum. The thicker the cream/ointment the better for eczema and severely dry skin. In general, ointments are thicker than both lotions and creams. The moisturizer will help keep the skin hydrated and prevent increased itchiness. You should follow up with your primary care doctor to evaluate your skin during the winter when it is dry and itchy to ensure there are no other worrisome features.

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