Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dry Skin....or Winter Eczema

We all seem to be plagued by dry, chapped skin this winter. My hands are usually dry, as I wash them often, but this winter is particularly bad. Poor Allie, her hands are red, scaly and just painful to see. The dermatologist took one look at it and immediately diagnosed it as winter eczema also known as "winter itch". Your hands look like cracked porcelain.

Now, it is not a disease, but rather a reaction to the cold and dry environment. He proudly told us that one way to cure it would be to go somewhere warm and live there.
Great advice, just not practical for us.

So, here is some advice that might prove useful....
Cold, dry air is the culprit.

1. Indoors this time of year can be harmful, so try and get a humidifier.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
3. Avoid clothing that doesn't allow the skin to breathe - so any artificial fabrics - acrylic, nylon, polyester - Also - wool, while warm and natural irritates eczema further, so try and not keep that layered against your skin.
4. Try to wash in water that isn't hot... The hotter the water the more oil is robbed from your skin.
5. Limit exposing your skin to the wind and cold air. Wear a protective layer of gloves or put your hands in a muff (like the vintage figure skaters). Keep a barrier between the cold air and your precious skin.

Here are some moisturizers that the dermatologist recommended...
This product is one from Eucerin. It is thick and greasy and probably only good to put on right before bed. You can't really do anything when it is on your skin, as it really doesn't dissolve.
This one, AmLactin was recommended and Allie recommends as well. It has lactic acid in it, so there is a bit of a sting when you apply it. But, Allie has seen results, luckily. It isn't found everywhere, but most pharmacies will order it for you. Here is a link to a coupon, as one squeeze tube ran me $14 at Walgreens. So, I was glad to have a coupon. But, it is good stuff.

I keep a tube of either Neutrogena Norweigan hand cream or Crabtree & Evelyn Jojoba Oil Cream in my car. I find that on the 45 minute ride to work, I apply it regularly. Unfortunately, it tends to freeze, but hopefully those days will soon be over....

No comments: