Winter months can be tough on skin - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

FOX Medical Team

Winter months can be tough on skin

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You may want to rethink taking a long, hot shower for the next few months. Between the hot showers, the cold and central heating, our skin takes a beating every winter. FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin has tips on how you can be ready for it this year.

Every year when the colors start changing, our skin starts itching. At 313 Salon in Marietta, chief stylist Traci Williams has heard the same complaints every fall for 31 years.
     
"Everyone comes in and says, ‘Ugh, my scalp feels dry, my skin feels dry.  Itchy,'" said Williams.

Williams says she feels it, too -- maybe even more than some of her clients.
   
"Because I work in an environment where the heat is running, and I work with the blow dryer all day.  So, it's double for me," Williams said.

Williams is blessed with great skin, but she also takes care of it by picking the right products for her skin-type and moisturizing religiously twice a day. She uses sunscreen even in the winter. And when the seasons change, she changes products from a lighter summer moisturizer to a heavier winter moisturizer.

"Things that work good would be creams, instead of lotions, where in the summer you might use a lotion, in the winter you would use a cream," Williams said.

It's not just the cold outside that's the problem. It's the thermostat going up and up and up. Central heating will suck the moisture out of your skin.

At Morehouse Healthcare, pediatrician Dr. Truddie Darden says a lot of the acne products that her teen patients are using dry out the skin. For them -- and for all of us -- she recommends drinking a lot more water in the fall and winter.

"Hydration of the skin is key, it really is important. Because the more water you drink, the more hydrated the skin will be, and that's something that again, we really underestimate and under-represent how valuable water is," Darden said.

Dr. Darden the best moisturizer isn't high-end or dirt cheap -- it's whatever feels best on your skin.  But you have to stick with it because consistency is really important.

"And it has a lot to do with the regimen, and the consistency of the regimen, using the regimen, cleansing the skin, hydrating the skin, moisturizing the skin and being consistent with that, irrespective of what the products are," Darden said.

Traci Williams says it all comes down to this: you can't banish winter, or the cold, but you sure can banish itchy, flaking, scaly skin.

"But you need to do it now, not in the middle of the winter when your skin is already dry," Williams said.

Here's a trick that dermatologists and Williams know: put your moisturizing on where your skin is still damp fresh out of the shower. That helps in absorb better and so you get the biggest benefit.

Darden says steer away from products with alcohol as well as fragrances because they can be drying.

Not a fan of lotions and creams? Try Shea butter or olive oil -- even coconut butter.

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