Seasonal dry itchy skin: What to do?
In the winter, and yes, we do have winter here in Southern California, many of us get dry, itchy skin. One reason is decreased humidity. Even when it rains we get dry skin because we tend to turn up the heater and take hot showers. Both of these maneuvers result in drying the skin. The dryer the skin the itchier the skin. Sitting close to a cozy fire will also dry your skin. Here are a few tips for winter itch.
1. Bathe less
This one is specifically for older patients: Keep in mind, there is no law that says you must bathe daily. Unless you are out there slopping the pigs and rolling in the dirt, don’t subject your skin to daily bathing. You might want to do the Army/ Navy bath (face, hands, feet, pits and groin), and avoid washing the trunk, arms and legs. Do the full bath or shower once every 3 or 4 days or even once weekly. Let your nose be your guide. When you do wash, use a very mild soap like olive oil soap or Dove. There are more expensive cleansers for very dry and or sensitive skin and they may be worth the cost. Examples are Accent and CeraVe.
2. Take cooler showers
When you do bathe, make sure your showers are short and tepid. Though its tempting to take the hottest shower you can stand, resist the urge. Hot water dries out your skin so make sure your showers aren't piping hot.
Use lots of moisturizers and use them often. Especially right after bathing. Moisturizers don’t have to be expensive and there are many over the counter examples. Aveeno eczema therapy, Eucerin soothing repair, Cetaphil are just a few. If you wash your hands frequently, try Aquanil cleanser. It means “no water” and all you do is put a little on and wipe it off. Still itchy? Try Sarna Lotion. It’s over the counter and is good for itch.
4. Wear cotton
Stick with pure cotton clothing as much as possible and use All or Tide for sensitive skin or Free and Clear to wash clothes. Also remember to stay away from scented fabric softeners.
5. Drink stuff
Stay hydrated internally. Yes, any liquids help hydrate, even coffee and tea. You are well hydrated if your pee is very pale or clear.