Overcoming Dry Skin and Lips

Dry skin affects many this time of year, as the weather turns colder. We go over some ideas on how to alleviate the issue.

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Dry skin isn’t usually a serious medical condition, but it can be uncomfortable and unsightly. That feeling of skin tightness or even itching and scaling can be annoying. The cooler temps may leave your skin feeling dry and cracked.

Dr. Melody Eide, a dermatologist at Rapid City Medical Center, says, “When the leaves dry up, so do the rest of us. This time of year, there is something about the cold weather that makes everything a little bit dryer. One of the things I really recommend – and this is good year-round but especially important in the fall – is making sure as soon as you get out of the bath or shower you have a good, thick lotion that goes on. For the face, it should be oil-free, so you’re not causing any acne or secondary problems.”

You can do a lot on your own to improve your skin, including using moisturizers and avoiding harsh, drying soaps. Also, avoid fragrances and parabens. Make sure your facial lotion is at least an SPF of 30, even in the winter months, as UV light is still damaging. Limit your time in the shower or bath to under 10 minutes. Eide says to moisture immediately after a shower or bath as to seal in the moisture level of your skin. Chronic or severe dry skin problems may require evaluation by a dermatologist.

Children also need a little more TLC when it comes to hydration.

“You want to make sure you’re moisturizing your kids after getting out of the bath or the swimming pool … sunscreen should be mineral-based. And for little babies, they should really have no sun or any kind of exposure before the age of six months. I think Aquaphor can be a good choice for kids, or on my own kids we used Aveeno Eczema Care as a good, thick moisturization.”

Your lips are also of consideration. Since your lips are comprised of extremely thin layers of delicate skin, they are more prone to dryness. Hydration is key to combating painful chapping.

“For lips, a good thick emollient. There is something usually along the lines of almost like an ointment that can be helpful for the lips.”

Avoid lip balms that contain any sort of alcohol – as alcohol can irritate skin. Look for ingredients that help hold moisture like glycerin, mineral oil, aloe, lactic acid or sorbita. Beeswax and vitamin E are great at sealing moisture in but can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin. For severely chapped lips, Vaseline or Aquaphor should do the trick, but be sure not to over apply. Applying the right balm twice a day is usually enough.

Eide says nosebleeds can also be a problem this time of year and to use nasal saline spray to help combat that issue.

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