Moisturize skin twice a day and winter itch disappears.

People with dry skin and eczema spend a lot of time and money trying new supplements, dietary changes and treatments to combat winter itch, but they often neglect the most effective treatment of all: moisturizing.

By that I mean all of your skin, twice a day. Every day.

I think it’s because moisturizing is so basic — and because it takes time. People who are tortured by dry skin and itch have trouble believing that something as simple as moisturizing morning and night will really help. But the evidence shows it’s more effective than hydrating from the inside (a.k.a. drinking lots of water). And as long as you pick a thick, greasy product (think creams and ointments, not lotions, and get fragrance-free), you can use whatever moisturizer you can afford.

The most common winter skin flare-up I see in my dermatology clinic at Women’s College Hospital is worsening eczema — and that’s because the cold dehydrates the skin, allowing more irritants and allergens to get in. It’s like the rust you get on a car in spots where the paint has rubbed off.

For these patients, corticoid creams deal with the immediate problem, but frequent moisturizing will help prevent the next one. The people I see, even those who are being tortured by eczema, still don’t regularly moisturize twice a day. I suspect patients who do this are less likely to wind up in my clinic because they’re managing the condition better at home.

Source: Toronto Star. Click here to see rest of article

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