The winter months can be especially cruel to skin, leaving it dry, itchy, scaly, bloody, and all manner of other uncomfortable adjectives. Nina M. Scott, the president of Dermatology Specialists Research, attributes winter skin woes to a change in the air inside and out: The air outside is dryer in winter, while people inside are cranking up the heat.
But your dermal discomfort doesn’t have to last for the season. Scott and the American Academy of Dermatology have a few tips to keep the roughness at bay.
The most widely applicable advice, according to Scott: avoid using harsh cleansers (over-the-counter acne treatments are common offenders) or staying in the shower for too long. Apply lotion as soon as you step out of that shower, because your pores are more open then, allowing moisturizers to do their magic more efficiently.
The AAP has similar advice on cleansers and cleansing, suggesting that you use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers—and keeping the amount you apply small enough that you don’t see a thick lather. The AAP also advises limiting showers and baths to 5 to 10 minutes and blotting your skin with a towel to dry off.
The key to protecting your skin, Scott says, is taking care of it all day.