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Confidence Beyond the Skin-Preventing Dry Skin in the Winter

Is the Winter Weather Making Your Skin Feel Like an Alligator?

 I have to start this month’s newsletter/blog article with an apology about my last article “Holiday Makeovers”. I wrote that article while sick with the stomach flu, and in my feverish delirium hit the “publish” button before I had  chance to proof read what I had written.  This decision resulted in the article going live with some significant grammatical errors.  I didn’t even realize what I had done, until the next morning when I received horrified voicemail messages from my mother (the college professor) and my sister (the English major), who called to chastise me for what I had done. I have since had a chance to edit the article, and I sincerely apologize to all of my other critical reader/subscribers! I learned a valuable lesson about writing when feeling under the weather, and am making a pledge to my loyal readers to never let that happen again!

All around the country, we are all experiencing seasonally dry weather this time of year, which can lead to dry, flaky, and itchy skin. These skin conditions can be exacerbated by airplane travel and the extra heat used to heat our homes and businesses. Most commonly the back and lower legs are affected, but any part of the body can become dry and itchy. Personally, I notice my lips and cuticles are especially dry this time of year. To help you combat the itchy, flaky alligator skin of winter, here are some tips and products that you might find helpful:

1. Take shorter and cooler showers-Hot water exposure causes moisture to evaporate from your skin. so shorten the time you are in the shower. Limit shower times to 5-8 minutes and keep the temperature on the cooler side.  Be sure to avoid harsh drying deodorant soaps, and stick to moisturizing soaps and body washes  like Dove.

2. Use a good moisturizer cream or lotion immediately when getting out of the shower. Studies have shown that if you towel off and apply moisturizer right away when skin is still damp, you can prevent some of the moisture from evaporating and keep it in your skin. Keeping your skin more hydrated can help prevent that annoying mid-back or lower-leg itch that so many of us experience. Some great winter moisturizers are, Eucerin Calming Cream, Amlactin Lotion, and Cereve Cream.

3. Be careful with household chores-Hands and cuticles can take a beating this time of year if you often find yourself up to your elbows in hot suds. With all of the holiday partying, most of us will be spending more time doing dishes and house cleaning for guests than we typically do throughout the rest of the year. The extra water contact and chemical exposure from cleaning products will contribute to the problem of hands feeling dry, and possibly even lead to cuticle skin cracking.  Your first line of defense is to wear gloves for dishes and cleaning. You can shop for some cute and fashionable gloves called Gloveables online. Also, before you go to bed, you can use Vitamin E oil on cuticle skin. Aquaphor ointment is also great for dry cuticles. Aveeno has an Intense Relief Repair cream hand cream that I use on my hands every night before going to bed.

4. Prevent chapped lips-Remember that you still get sun exposure on your lips during all of the fun outdoor winter time activities. When I ski, I am careful to apply lip sunscreen at least a few times a day. I like Blistex DCT lip treatment when outside in the winter.  At night after skiing, I apply Aquaphor ointment to my lips and a little inside my nose. This can help prevent those dry skin nose bleeds.

5. Do you experience chest bumps and itching?-If you experience itchy bumps on your chest, you may be suffering from a condition called Grover’s Disease. It is more common in the winter and among middle-aged males, but it is possible for females to be sufferers too.  The itchy bumps that result from Grover’s Disease can be very annoying and a little unsightly. If you are among the sufferers of Grover’s disease, you can try Aquanil HC lotion for a couple of weeks. This lotion has a little cortisone that can help minimize the inflammation and the bumps. Be careful not to use this more than a few weeks because it can start to cause a rash from overuse of cortisone. Any rash persisting more than a week or so should be evaluated by a qualified professional.

I am really looking forward to the winter weather! I love to ski and bundle up with a good book in front of the fireplace!  It is nice to slow down a little over the holidays and catch up with family and friends. This is the time of year to tell everyone in your life how special they are to you.  I am heading to the  east coast to Maine over the holidays to be with my family, and then we are driving up to Canada for a skiing adventure over New Years! I will be practicing my French in St. Sauveur, a small ski village just outside Montreal!

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year! See you in 2012!

I have been asked if I receive any financial incentive to mention products in my newsletter/blog and the answer is no. I only comment on products that I have used myself or that I recommend to patients because they have unique benefits.  However, I am a clinical trainer for both Medicis (Dysport/Restylane) and Allergan (Botox/Juvederm).

For my fellow tech-y followers, I have started daily tweets on Twitter! To stay up to date on the latest, you can follow me @kaseydamatopac . For those Facebook fanatics out there, I have also created a FB fan page! Go ahead and “like” the page to stay up to date on the latest in skin care!

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