The wintertime prompts us to grab our coats and take hats and mittens down from closet shelves where we tucked them away last spring. These layers are important. They guard us from the frigid air and keep us warm. But we can’t forget all the other ways to care for our most important outer layer—our skin.
As the winter months approach, the air is less humid and your skin can become dry and cracked. To combat this, Monica Johnson, nurse supervisor at Sycamore Medical Center’s Wound Center, suggests a specific kind of lotion.
“Use a nice, moisturizing lotion regularly, especially after washing your hands,” Monica says. “Avoid lotions with water as the first ingredient.”
While it is tempting to turn up water temperatures when it gets cold outside, any exposure to warm water may promote dry, chapped skin. Avoid using especially hot water and opt for warm instead. Try to take quick showers and be sure to moisturize afterward. Monica also suggests using cotton gloves or socks to cover your hands and feet and allow the lotion to soak in to your skin overnight.
Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking water often. Even if you don’t sweat, your body still needs plenty of water. You may also consider using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.
Monica recommends being aware of changes to your skin and acting accordingly.
Those with certain medical conditions may need to pay special attention to their skin during these months. Though summer and flip-flops present a potential hazard for people with diabetes who have neuropathy, or loss of feeling, in their feet, the winter poses a different problem. During the colder seasons when shoes and socks are a must, people with diabetes may not feel areas on their feet being rubbed or growing irritated. For this reason, daily checks of the feet are an important skincare step.
“Like anything else, it’s about being aware of what your body is telling you and then doing something about it,” Monica says. “Make sure everything looks the way it’s supposed to and get it checked out if something is out of the ordinary.”
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