Chapped winter skin is no fun. It flakes, catches on our sweaters, and can even crack and bleed. No one likes the way sandpaper-like skin looks and feels, but the problems it can cause are more than aesthetic.
As Palm Beach, Fla., dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Beer tells Newsmax Health, the damage dryness does can be serious. The good news, he explains, is that there are remedies to keep your skin healthy and feeling good all winter long.
“Dry skin can exacerbate underlying skin conditions such as eczema [red, dry bumps and blisters that can ooze] and psoriasis [patches of raised, red skin with white scales],” he says.
“And since 2 to 4 percent of the population has one of those two diseases, dry skin is really a significant health issue because as the skin gets dry and either eczema or psoriasis flares, it can really tip people over and they can look bad, they can feel bad.”
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People who have those conditions also are more prone to skin infections, he notes.
If your skin is sensitive, it’s especially important in the winter to avoid gel products containing alcohol, like hand sanitizers, which can be especially drying, as well as harsh soaps. It’s also a good idea to trade any gel-based acne product you may use for a cream because it will be less drying, he says.
And when it comes to caring for the body’s largest organ, in general, all-natural skin products can be good, but be sure you pick a product that is proven to work.
“Some all-naturals are better than others,” he says. “I don’t think that being all-natural in and of itself is a recommendation.”
He looks for products from “companies that have really strong research and development, that have done a lot of testing, and that have products that are ethical and well sourced,” he says.
Being outside in the winter or summer sun can increase your risk of skin cancer, but even people who are not fans of the great outdoors can be at risk.
“Even if you’re not outside a lot, some types of skin problems, including melanoma, [are] genetic, and although sun and tanning beds make them worse and increase your risk, everybody should get looked at at least once a year,” Dr. Beer advises. “If you have a family history [of skin cancer] or you grew up getting a lot of sun, I recommend getting seen twice a year.”
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