Between the increased numbers of hand washing and alcohol-based sanitizer use because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Florida’s fluctuating winter temperatures, this season has wreaked havoc on many people facing dry, cracked skin. cracked and peeled. Are there any ingredients we should look for in skin care products to help with healing? Dr. Cathy Milam of Milam Bogart Dermatology offers some recommendations for those who are dealing with dry skin during this time of year.
“As soon as the humidity drops, patients notice a huge difference in how dry and flaky their skin becomes,” says Milam. “Usually, from the time of Thanksgiving until February is when patients notice a significant change in skin texture.”
Milam says the best products, such as lotions and serums, are fragrance- and alcohol-free, and safe for everyday use. She recommends dermatologist-tested brands, like Neutrogena, CeraVe, Aveeno, and Eucerin.
If you still have dry skin even though you’ve been paying attention to moisturizing, you’re probably not using enough product or aren’t using it effectively. Milam recommends moisturizing liberally, and doing so as soon as you get out of the shower, while your skin is still damp, to retain moisture, and shower less often to prevent dryness. When moisturizing your face, use a thicker product at night and a thin product to use during the day.
And to get rid of those nasty dry flakes on the forehead and nose? Use an exfoliating brush or sponge instead of using a product that contains exfoliating beads or pads.
“Exfoliators with few walnuts or apricot kernels or flakes can be really harsh on the skin, stripping the skin of its natural layers,” says Milam. “If you’re going to be exfoliating with a product, find one that’s gentle, don’t rub too hard, and use a brush or washcloth to manually exfoliate.”
What if you have skin conditions that produce dry skin, like eczema and dermatitis? Avoiding ingredients like glycolic acid (used to treat acne) is helpful, especially when your skin is already inflamed. A combination of over-the-counter and prescription products can be helpful this time of year, from lotions like Eucerin for eczema and topical steroid creams with 1% hydrocortisone. Natural ingredients like oatmeal also really soothe irritated skin.
“If you have eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis on your hands and feet, try applying a cream and wearing socks or gloves overnight,” says Milam. “The worst thing for these conditions is long, hot showers. They have to be quick and wet, and the skin has to be applied dry.”
While there are plenty of at-home treatments people recommend during the winter months, like applying coconut oil, avocado oil or vitamin E to the skin, Milam says it’s best to use products that have been approved by a doctor. Dermatologically tested and approved.
“Finally, I tell the patient to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize,” says Milam. “That’s why you need a huge amount of lotion, especially with all the hand washing we’re doing right now, and with a cost-effective lotion, because so you can apply it freely.”