Beat the Itch of Winter Skin
By John Casey
Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD
"A vicious cycle develops," says Ella L. Toombs, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and director of Aesthetic Dermatology of Dupont Circle, in Washington, D.C.
The dry air of winter pulls moisture from the skin, which then tends to peel, crack, and shed excessively, Toombs says. This increased loss of skin cells results in increased oil and water loss. This leads to more dry skin. Also, the forced hot air of indoor heating systems contributes substantially.
"Remember going on vacation to a warm tropical climate and how smooth the skin felt without any moisturizer?" she says. "That's because the humidity in the atmosphere kept the naturally produced oils on the skin and the superficial cells soft and adherent so that oils were not lost."