Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!
Check out what's happening this month at Wilmington Dermatology Center!

Battling Winter Skin Conditions

As the weather continues to be cold and harsh through the winter months and we are turning the heat up in our homes and offices, many of us are experiencing dry, itchy winter skin. The reason that we get so dry is because moisture diffuses from our skin cells (which are composed primarily of water) into the air. This leaves our skin parched, dull, red and even cracked. While some of us are dealing mainly with dryness, others may be experiencing flare-ups and increased symptoms with their Rosacea, Eczema, and Psoriasis that go hand in hand due to deciding factors from physical, social, and environmental elements of the winter months. We have combined our top tips for beating the four most common and pesky winter skin conditions.

1-   As expected, our #1 and first mentionable tip for dealing with general dry skin is to MOISTURIZE!  The moisturizer that you select does not need to be expensive to be effective. Look for thick and rich ointments and creams for the winter. For extra dry skin look for products that contain lactic acid or urea. Some of our favorites at WDC include our Cerave cream and lotion line.  Not only are they cost effective, but they work wonders!  If you’re mainly concerned about facial dryness, SkinMedica has a Dermal Repair cream that is super moisturizing and effective in battling dryness. Other effective ingredients include dimethicone and glycerin, which help draw water to the skin and keep it there. Finally, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly) trap water in the skin. For many people, their skin quickly absorbs the moisturizer and they find that they must reapply it frequently throughout the day.  A natural moisturizer can also be found in your kitchen pantry and it tastes good too! Extra Virgin Olive Oil works wonders for the skin when it comes to moisturizing, as well as maintaining the skin’s elasticity, due to the antioxidants it contains. Olive Oil can be found in a wide variety of skin care products.  Don’t forget your lips and hands! Keep a tube of lip balm on you at all times along with a small tube of hand cream.

2-  Rosacea causes small blood vessels to swell and become more visible, giving the face a red glow. In addition, pimply bumps resembling adult acne often appear on the nose and cheeks.  Winter proofing for rosacea includes choosing calming, skin sensitive skin care products. Chamomile and Aloe Vera have great soothing ingredients for sensitive skin. Also, avoid harsh products that contain alcohol, peppermint oil or witch hazel. Keep up with the SPF. The weather may be turning, but that doesn’t mean to stop applying the sunscreen, especially when varying climate changes trigger flare-ups. Be consistent with using a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher. While the weather plays a huge role in our skin, with rosacea, things like spicy food and alcohol can trigger flare-ups so be sure to keep all in moderation.  Topical gels, such as Mirvaso and Finacea, are your greatest aid in handling this cumbersome skin condition. FDA approved, doctor prescribed skin routines are a necessity in coping with the triggers of Rosacea. Come see your WDC provider if you think you’re in need of prescription help for Rosacea. WDC is also conducting a research study for Rosacea patients that we’re recruiting for.  Contact our office today to see if you would be a candidate and find out all of the details!

3-  Eczema is our third most common pesky winter skin condition.  Eczema is a condition that encompasses myriad skin problems and often affects people with allergies and asthma. Adults typically get a form of eczema called dermatitis, and like other skin conditions; it worsens when temperatures and humidity levels drop. In order to help/prevent this skin condition from getting worse in the winter months you can apply an oil-based moisturizer to your hands, or wherever you find necessary, and be sure to cover up with gloves, scarves, and hats!  Cerave also has a great Therapeutic Hand Cream all of the WCD staff loves for the winter months.  You can also counteract the dryness at home by using a humidifier, which will out the moisture back into the air and your skin.  When you see your provider, we can also give you topical prescriptions to help relive the itching and symptoms of the dryness.

4-  Psoriasis affects an estimated 7.5 million Americans. This inherited autoimmune disease causes itchy, dry, sometimes painful patches to build up on elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. Those who have psoriasis know that the winter months are when flare-ups are more likely due to a decrease in sun and UVB exposure, which help slow down the cell growth.  Great ways to help keep the psoriasis under control in the colder months are to try your best to find your inner “om”.  That’s right, stress is a very frequent trigger for psoriasis outbreaks.  We also recommend possible treatments such as light therapy. This does not mean tanning beds, which contain the skin cancer causing UVA rays, but specifically UVB rays. Topical steroid treatments can also help maintain and relive psoriasis symptoms. WDC is also a part of an ongoing psoriasis study that we are continually recruiting patients for.  Call for details to see if you could benefit from the study!