Picayune CNP shares ways to prevent dry skin
Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 26, 2017
As winter rolls into full swing in Mississippi, dry skin becomes a common issue for people of all ages. Lori B. Howell, a certified nurse practitioner for Hattiesburg Clinic Dermatology in Picayune, said there are solutions for those with dry skin.
“What people call a ‘winter itch’ is actually dry skin. Because humidity is down during the winter, the skin tends to dry up and, if not treated, can cause nighttime itching and other severe itching problems,” Howell said.
Howell said excessive bathing and other hygiene practices can cause the skin to dry out. During this time of year, flu season is typically at its peak. As a result, doctors tell people to routinely wash their hands, but Howell said too much washing is not good for the skin.
“Washing your hands is essential, but doing it too much or too long can cause severe dryness in your hands. When you wash your skin, it removes the natural oils that keep it moist,” Howell said.
She suggests using an oil-based moisturizer immediately after washing to replenish the skin’s natural state.
The same thing applies to bathing. People that take multiple showers throughout the day or bathe for an excessive period of time are more susceptible to dry skin, Howell said.
“Applying moisturizer immediately after washing your skin, while it is still damp, is the most important part to make sure your skin doesn’t dry up,” she said. “This should be practiced every day.”
Although many adults suffer from dry, cracked skin, Howell said the most misunderstood cases occur when infants suffer from dry skin.
Everyone is vulnerable to dry skin, including babies, Howell said. To prevent infants from developing dry skin, she suggests bathing the baby’s entire body every other day, which avoids over exposure to water.
Cracking of the skin creates access points for bacteria to enter the blood stream, she said. To protect skin, Howell has some recommendations.
Using a humidifier in the home helps keep skin nourished, especially during the dry winter months, she said.
Instead of using moisturizers that leave skin too oily—clogging up the pours and causing irritation—Howell suggests using ammonium lactate lotion, which can be purchased over the counter.
“It’s important to keep your skin safe and protect it so you are comfortable and safe from certain illnesses. But there is that balance that needs to be understood between too much washing, and none at all,” Howell said.
For more information on dry skin, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/dermatology. To set up an appointment with Howell, call 601-358-9972.