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Winter is Here: Tips to Prevent Dry Skin 'Blues'

Medical Director Offers Time-Tested Suggestions to Prevent Dry Skin in Winter

When the calendar says it's December, better start preparing for the "Dry Skin Season." Whether you suffer from dry skin only in winter or year-round, you can take some simple steps to keep your skin soft, healthy, and pain free. "An ounce of prevention" will help you beat the discomfort and pain caused by dry irritated skin.

While every inch of our skin is affected by the cold outdoors and low humidity created indoors by heating furnaces, our hands and feet suffer the most. Natural oils produced by the glands in the skin help the skin retain moisture. But our hands and feet lack the oil glands that are present on all other skin surfaces. If our palms were covered by oil, just think of all of the things that would slip out of our hands! The same goes for the soles of our feet: we would slip and slide with every step!

Without this oil, the skin on the hands and feet suffer most when exposed to excessively cold outdoor temperatures, dry indoor heat, and wearing socks and gloves made of wool or other materials that can irritate the skin.

To help avoid winter weather's skin irritations, painful cracks, and unsightly appearances, Dr. Paul R. Kasdan, medical director of OurHealthNetwork.com, says, "Getting a head start on winter's assault is the best thing you can do for your skin." Dr. Kasdan recommends starting the following "good skin habits" immediately:

  • Moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize again. This is especially true after bathing or hand washing. Make sure you pat your skin "almost dry." While the skin is still damp, apply a moisturizer to hold the water in, and keep the skin from drying. We have found that Tripod Labs Hydrostat is excellent for dry skin and cracked heels
  • Add oil to your bath. The oil will soothe dry skin and help "lock in" moisture.
  • Wear clothes--especially gloves and socks--made of natural and comfortable fibers. Cotton is more soothing to the skin than nylon, wool, and rubber. Cotton will help the skin keep natural fluids in, while absorbing excessive perspiration that can cause drying.
  • Exfoliate patches of dry skin as soon as they appear. This helps to prevent the skin from breaking down and cracking. For calluses and dry cuticles, something stronger may be needed.
Dr. Kasdan's Favorite
Exfoliative Scrub Recipe


  • 3 Tablespoons Epsom Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher (coarse) Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel

Mixing Directions:

  • Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add oil, glycerin, and Aloe Vera Gel.
  • Mix until wet, and ingredients stick together.
  • If its too crumbly, add a little more glycerin and Aloe Vera Gel.
  • Keep in a containe

Exfoliating dry dead skin allows moisturizers to penetrate deeply into the skin.  Many podiatrists and dermatologists recommend the following products for this step.   These products are safe, effective, and really produce results:

Artemis Women Heel Smoother is a revolutionary, doctor tested and approved , pedicure appliance that smoothes callouses and removes dry skin in seconds, without the use of harsh chemicals or dangerous blades. This product is approved by the APMA.

Callex Ointment thins and softens calluses and dry cracked skin. Made from natural plant enzymes and contains no acids or harsh chemicals.

For those who do not respond to "preventive measures," Dr. Kasdan suggests these additional tips:

  • Dry cracked cuticles and skin around the nails can receive intensive moisturization with the use of specialized Digital Caps. These re-usable pads fit over the ends of fingers and toes, providing continuous moisturization and relief. "I suggest wearing these on the fingers during the night, while wearing them over the toes both day and night," says Dr. Kasdan.
  • For those who cannot easily reach their feet, Dr. Kasdsan suggests the use of Gel Dry Skin Therapy Socks to moisturize the feet. These socks comfortably fit the feet, and through a timed mechanism releases mineral oil to moisturize and lubricate the feet. "These socks work for a surprisingly long time, and are cost effective," according to Dr. Kasdan.
  • If all else fails, and you cannot get rid of dry skin calluses and cracks, then try soaking your hands or feet in lukewarm water containing bath oil before bedtime. After 10 minutes, pat the area "almost" dry (leave some moisture on the skin). Apply a thick layer of a cream based moisturizer to the skin. Cover with cotton gloves or socks for the entire night. If the dry skin persists, you may need the help of a dermatologist.

For more information about treating dry skin and cracked heels, click here.

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