Monika Pis, PhD, CPNP
Frigid, dry weather is here! By using heat to warm our houses, we decrease the relative humidity of our environment, drying it even further. Dry air and low humidity cause loss of moisture from the skin. Many of us like to indulge in long hot baths or showers during the chilly months, but we forget these practices do not promote healthy skin integrity, especially in those who have eczema.
What is eczema?
Eczema is a chronic recurrent skin inflammation that is often accompanied by excessive dryness (xerosis) and itching. Irritants, such as fragrances in soaps or laundry detergents, low humidity, heat, stress, or rough clothing, trigger eczema.
There are simple steps that you can take to prevent alligator-like skin this winter season! Here is how:
- Take lukewarm showers/baths that last no longer than 7-10 minutes.
- Gently pat skin dry with a towel. Avoid rubbing motion, as rubbing can cause microscopic skin injury as thus contributing to irritation and providing entry points for germs.
- Moisturize your skin immediately after patting it dry with a towel to seal in left-over moisture.
- Get into a habit of moisturizing to your skin twice a day with scent-free moisturizer.
- If you suffer from chronic dry skin, avoid wearing clothes made from synthetic or rough fabrics (e.g. polyester, blue jean) as they will aggravate your condition. A good choice is 100% cotton wardrobe.