A hot and steamy bath feels good, especially during the cold months, but it can leave the skin hanging out to dry. Doctors from Baylor College of Medicine explained that higher temperatures at the bath increase dry skin and it can cause long-term and damaging effects.
“Even though long hot showers feel soothing to the skin during cold weather, it is actually hard on the skin. The high water temperature and the evaporation of water off the skin, once out of the shower, causes the skin to become drier,” she explained.
Dr. Katta recommended patting the skin and using moisturizer cream while the skin is still damp after a shower.
“Moisturizer can make a huge difference. I recommend creams over lotions because lotions contain a larger amount of water and don’t lock in moisture as well as creams and ointments,” she added.
Lotions are lighter than creams and they actually feel lighter in the skin; lotions are usually packaged with a pump. Since creams are half water and half oil, they are thicker and they are usually packaged and sold in tubes. For extremely dry skin, ointments, like petroleum jelly, are the oiliest and the most effective.
“Very dry skin, if not reversed, can progress to skin inflammation and eczema, which calls for a different course of treatment,” she noted.
Cracking, scaling, itching and redness are signs of inflammation and this signs can also be found in the lips. Licking lips can dry the the skin over time because it represents a vicious cycle of chapped lips and in this case, lip balm or petroleum jelly should be used as moisturizer.
“These are such easy changes to your winter routine, but they can make a big difference in terms of preventing more severe skin problems,” reminded Dr. Katta.