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If you have been experiencing drier skin on your face, hands or feet this winter season, you aren’t alone. But if you find these areas of the skin flaking, cracking, or inflamed (eczema) you may need some help! Dry, itching and inflamed skin is a sign of atopic dermatitis, or eczema that goes in cycles, or flare-ups.

Staying indoors with any kind of heating element dries out the air and consequently, your skin. But you can take steps to keep your skin supple, moisturized, and healthy. If you are experiencing serious skin issues, our dermatologists can help. We can evaluate the condition and recommend specific treatments that your skin will respond to.

In addition, the following can help you avoid or treat dry skin:

-Moisturize Properly
In the wintertime, this means finding a moisturizer that is oil-based. This provides the skin with a protective layer that keeps in more moisture than a water-based cream or lotion. To moisturize the face, however, be particular about the oil in the moisturizer. You want to prevent clogging your facial pores. Products with almond oil, avocado oil, mineral oil or primrose oil or ideal, as are lotions with humectants that attract moisture to the skin.

-Screen out UV rays
Use sunscreen before you go out and enjoy the outdoors this winter. Sunlight reflected off of snow can cause a sunburn. A broad-spectrum sunscreen, reapplied liberally the longer you are outside, is a good strategy to protect your skin.

-Protect Your Hands
Wearing gloves when you outdoors help keep the thinner skin on your hands moist while avoiding dryness, itching and cracking. Make sure they stay dry, however, as wet skin can cause problems including eczema flare-ups.

-Use a Humidifier
In the wintertime, dry skin can benefit from a humidifier (or several) in your home to put moisture back in the air while using the heater.

-Care for Your Feet
Wearing boots and socks can protect your feet, but because the air is dry it’s a good idea to moisturize your feet with glycerine or petroleum jelly products. You can also get rid of dead skin by regularly exfoliating your feet which supports your moisturizing efforts.

-Avoid Long, Hot Baths
While it’s tempting to indulge in leisurely hot baths during the wintertime, the heat can break down the skin’s lipid barriers, reducing moisture. It’s better to take shorter baths at a moderate temperature to protect the skin from drying out.

-Treating Eczema
For eczema, you may be prescribed topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors (Protopic), antihistamines, and antibiotics. Topical corticosteroids are applied as creams to the affected areas. Our dermatologists, Dr. Jenson and Dr. Edwards will determine the treatment after evaluating where the dermatitis is located, how severe your symptoms are manifesting, whether there is a skin infection, and how your skin responded to treatments in the past.

If you need to see one of our dermatologists and you live in the Orem, Utah, or surrounding area, please reach out to our team today at 801.224.5200 to schedule your consultation.