The recent record-breaking cold weather that San Diego has been experiencing this Fall and Winter has led to a slew of skin-related rashes and conditions through our dermatology doors. Here Dr. Palm shares some tips on how to identify if you are vulnerable to dry skin and eczema, and how to best safeguard your skin against harsh weather elements.
Here are some tell-tale signs that your skin is deprived of much needed moisture. This leaves hands dry and even predisposed to irritating skin conditions like eczema (aka atopic dermatitis). Affected skin often has the following symptoms:
- Red itchy patches (eczema)
- People predisposed to dry skin often have a condition called “ichthyosis vulgaris.” Patients with this condition often have dry patches on the shins that resemble fish scales, which is how the condition derives its name (ichthy= fish-like). An easy way to screen yourself is check the palms of your hands. Patients with ichthyosis vulgaris have many more skin markings and stripes on their palms than those that are unaffected.
Tips for winter-proofing skin:
- Moisturize often using specialized products.
- Ceramide containing products such Cerave and Cetaphil Restoraderm are especially helpful. Ceramides are cholesterol-derived fats that normally moisturize our skin but are in short supply when skin is irritated and dry.
- Moisturize after hand washing
- Consider use of white cotton gloves at night after moisturizing in severe cases
- Temper the temperature of your shower
- Use more tepid water and moisturize after your shower or bath to seal in moisture
- Colloidal oatmeal added to bath water soothes dry irritated skin (Aveeno is a great brand)
- Use of heaters decrease air humidity. Consider a humidifier or add plants which diffuse water into the air