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Dry Skin

Moisturizers provide a seal over your skin to keep water from escaping. Apply moisturizer several times a day and after bathing.

Q: Why does my skin get so dry in winter?

A: Dry skin can be itchy, irritating and even painful, and winter dries out our skin for several reasons, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Two reasons skin dries out in the winter is the low humidity levels that come with cold winters and the heaters used to keep homes warm.

“Skin tends to be driest in winter, when temperatures and humidity levels plummet. But the season may not matter as much if you live in desert regions” because humidity is always low there, the Mayo Clinic said.

Central heating, wood-burning stoves, space heaters and fireplaces all reduce the humidity in your home, which has the same skin-drying effect as the cold temperatures outside.

People may also be more inclined to bathing or showering in hot water, but that heat strips out moisture from your skin, the Mayo Clinic said. Using warm water instead of hot and limiting your shower time could keep some more moisture in your skin.

Moisturizers like lotions and creams are an obvious solution to help dry skin and prevent it from drying out in the first place. Thick moisturizing creams will work better than thin lotions, the Mayo Clinic said. Oil and petroleum jelly will also keep prevent drying out your skin.

Immediately moisturizing after bathing or showering will also help.

“Gently pat your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains. Immediately moisturize your skin with an oil or cream to help trap water in the surface cells,” the Mayo Clinic advises.

Using a humidifier in your home could also put some of that moisture back into the air to prevent your skin from drying out, the Mayo Clinic said, but humidifiers should also be kept clean to prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi.

— Shelley K. Mesch

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.