Itchy, irritating, and unsightly, dry skin can be a pain – literally and figuratively. And it’s only exacerbated by the biting, low humidity that comes with the changing of the seasons. But, fear not! That nip in the air doesn’t have to spell disaster for soft, healthy skin. With these tips from the physicians at Forefront Dermatology, you can nip dry skin in the bud. It’s All About Moisture As you age, your skin produces less of the natural oils that keep it supple and smooth. Applying a moisturizer within 3 minutes after bathing or washing your hands helps supplement and trap those oils. “My rule of thumb is to use a moisturizer that you have to scoop out, not pump,” says Dr. Peter Katz of the Appleton, Wis. office. “Lotions just aren’t good enough because they evaporate in minutes. With a good moisturizer, you should feel a little residual on your skin even 20 minutes later.” Take Smarter Showers It may seem counterintuitive, but that long, hot shower may be drying out your skin. Your skin’s natural oils become more fluid in the heat (think: heated butter) and are easily stripped away by water and soap. “Some people don’t shower as often in winter,” says Dr. Betsy Wernli of the Manitowoc and Chilton, Wis. offices. “That’s not necessarily good, either. If you have dry, cracked skin, this allows bacteria and viruses to enter the skin. Proper hygiene and moisture will keep your skin healthy and help protect your body from infections.” Try shorter showers at cooler temperatures and gentle cleansers. Before leaving the humidity of your bathroom, pat yourself dry and slather on the moisturizer. Choose Products Wisely In addition to thicker moisturizers, pay attention to the other products that come in contact with your skin. Products containing alcohol, heavy fragrance, alpha-hydroxy acids or benzoyl peroxide dry out your skin while deodorant soaps, body spray, or even laundry detergent may further irritate dry skin. When in Doubt, See a Dermatologist If you have a rash, cracked skin or other condition that isn’t improving with over-the-counter treatments, your best bet is to see a dermatologist. It may be your skin’s response to seasonal changes or a sign of a skin condition. “I see this a lot with my patients,” says Dr. Wernli. “They’ve suffered for quite a while unnecessarily. We have treatments for all kinds of skin diseases. No matter what the condition, we can always help.” Dry skin doesn’t have to give you the winter blues. With a few simple changes to your daily skin care routine you can feel beautiful in your skin all year ‘round. And, of course, if you’d like some expert advice, you can always count on the physicians at Forefront Dermatology. To find the physician nearest you, visit the Locations page today.