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Winter Is Coming: Tips to Prevent Dry Skin "Blues"

Medical Directors Offer Time-Tested Suggestions to Prevent Seasonal Dry Skin

CHICAGO - September 20, 2005 - When the calendar says it's October, better start preparing for the "Dry Skin Season." Whether you suffer from dry skin seasonally 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. Lowell Weil, Jr. and Dr. Paul R. Kasdan, medical directors of OurHealthNetwork.com, say, "Getting a head start on winter's assault is the best thing you can do for your skin." They recommend starting the following "good skin habits" in October, before the cold winds begin to blow:

  • 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.
  • Add oil to your bath. The oil will soothe dry skin and help "lock in" moisture.
  • 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. The doctors at OurHealthNetwork.com have found Callex Ointment to be uniquely effective in thinning and softening calluses and cuticles.
  • 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.

Click here for the recipe for Dr. Kasdan's favorite exfoliative scrub.

Dr. Kasdan believes most dry skin problems would disappear if everyone followed this advice. Click here for the recipe for Dr. Kasdan's favorite exfoliative scrub. For those who do not respond to "preventive measures," Dr. Weil 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. Weil.
  • For those who cannot easily reach their feet, Dr. Weil 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. Weil.
  • 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, including explanations of the doctors' tips, please contact John Moroney at 312-952-1848 or media@OurHealthNetwork.com.

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