Managing cracked, dry, itchy skin during the winter

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Winter is here, and that means you might be dealing with dry, cracked, or irritated skin.

Because of a drop in the level of moisture in the air, winter months are a prime time for your skin to become dry and could even lead to further issues.

Now with COVID-19, we are frequently washing our hands and wearing masks, which can dry our skin out even more.

Experts at Mayo Clinic Health System say one of the best ways to avoid skin irritation this season is moisturizer, and lots of it.

“Be sure to moisturize aggressively. I always dare people to overuse their body lotions…because you can’t,” says Mary Duh, a P.A.-C. in Dermatology. “Sometimes you have to moisturize more often too. Doing it just once a day might not be enough.”

One trick to relieve a stubborn itch and get fast relief is by placing your lotion in the fridge. Duh says this provides a cooling effect, minus the irritants in anti-itch creams. It’s also best to use a hypoallergenic lotion as opposed to lotions that are scented.

Another preventative way to combat the dry skin is to bundle up when going outdoors – not just for warmth, but to protect your skin. Using a humidifier in your home will also add moisture to the air and combat dry skin problems.

Other skin problems may arise during the winter such as dandruff and dermatitis. For those with dandruff over-the-counter shampoos can be beneficial.

If your skin problems persist even after using over-the-counter products, or if symptoms become severe, contact your healthcare provider.