Dry skin is common during the winter and can lead to flaking, itching, cracking and even bleeding. But you can prevent and treat dry skin.

1. Skin is scaly:

One culprit: a steamy hot shower. 

It's tempting, especially in cold weather, to take long, hot showers. But being in the water for a long time and using hot water can be extremely drying to the skin. Hot water drains skin's moisture barrier.  Keep your baths and showers short and make sure you use warm, not hot, water.

2. Itching:

Switching to a mild cleanser can also help reduce itching. Be sure to gently pat the skin dry after your bath or shower, as rubbing the skin can be irritating.

Applying moisturizer after getting out of the bath or shower is recommended. Ointments and creams tend to be more effective than lotions. Dab on a cream with ceramides, hydrating lipids that dry air depletes, 

3. Sensitive skin:

Wear soft fabrics that breathe, such as 100 % cotton. With wool or other rough fabrics, wear a soft fabric underneath.

Be sure to check the ingredients in skin-care products, because deodorant soaps, alcohol-based toners and products that contain fragrance can irritate dry, sensitive skin.

4. Hands feel like sandpaper:

Skin on hands has few oil glands, so there's less natural defence against cold, dry air. 

It's a good idea to apply hand cream after each hand-washing. If the skin on your hands needs more help, dab petroleum jelly on them before bed. If your hands are frequently immersed in water, wear waterproof gloves.

If these measures don't relieve your dry skin, you may require a prescription ointment or cream. Dry skin can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as eczema. Go and see your dermatologist.

The information provided on this website is for general health information purposes only, and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a qualified health care provider.