It’s early November and you can finally feel the chill in the air on dry desert nights. Even though this means more enjoyable weather and a return to outdoor activities like the Bump and Grind, it also means we need to take extra precautions when protecting our skin. While we love a warm rosy glow, we don’t love red chapped skin. And even though we may not need to bust out the mittens quite yet (or ever) we need to bust out the balm to keep moisture trapped in our hands, feet, lips and face.

When skin in exposed to dramatic temperature changes, the effects are even worse. Dryness is amplified when we compensate for the cold outdoor weather by cranking up the heat indoors. It’s this time of year patients with skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis start to see a flare. Even those with generally healthy skin see and increase in dryness and flaking.

If you’re using a daily moisturizing lotion, you may need to upgrade to a moisturizing cream. If you’re using a cream, you may need boost your moisture levels by adding a balm or ointment. These products don’t need to be expensive and overpriced. I recently tried a healing balm for the hands that retails for $249 and I still prefer an $15 drugstore brand! The thing both products have in common is that they are oil-based so they trap the moisture in your skin versus a more breathable water-based lotion.

If your skin is dry, don’t shy away from the oil-based products. Although sometimes greasy, they will save your skin from cracking under the cold. Try slathering the hands and feet before bed an ointment such as Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment. Cover with socks and cotton gloves to let the thinner skin of the hands and thicker soles of the feet soak up the moisture overnight. You can apply the same ointment to the lips and nose to prevent and protect from chapping.

Stay hydrated from the inside out. Keep the water handy and add some soul soothing and skin smoothing hot tea to your routine. You’ll be warmed from the inside and helping to give your protective barrier the moisture it needs to do its job. A dehydrated body can’t function at it’s prime, however a hot shower will not give you any moisture benefits. Steer clear of extra hot baths and showers as these will only dry out skin further.

If you’re really battling severe dryness, go for the oats. Sure, oatmeal is great for breakfast and cookies, but it’s also great for your skin. Oatmeal soaks can be purchased at your local drugstore and are great natural remedy for soothing dry and irritated skin. Oatmeal is an ancient standard for protecting skin from irritants from cold weather to poison ivy. When in doubt, ask your healthcare professional about additional steps you can take to protect your skin from the cold so you can stay comfortable in your skin all year long.

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