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Winter Skin Advice from dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Smith

A special and very timely article about winter skin issues and psoriasis by guest contributor, dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Smith:

As temperatures drop, many people see their skin quickly become dry, flaky, and more sensitive. Dry winter air depletes the skin’s natural moisture barrier, causing skin to feel tight and dehydrated. Unfortunately, winter skin issues can go beyond dry, itchy skin. A combination of low temperatures and dry indoor air can cause an array of seasonal skin issues. Below, I’ve highlighted a few of the most common yet unexpected skincare issues that my patients see during the winter months, along with recommended treatments.

Dry Skin/Eczema

Dry skin is the most common winter skin issue, and some may have more severe cases than others. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes a dry, scaly, and itchy rash on the skin. For winter flare-ups, I recommend that my patients avoid hot showers, however tempting they are, and opt for brief, lukewarm showers. Hot water can deplete the moisture, which is not ideal when the air is already dry. After showering, pat gently dry and generously apply a gentle fragrance-free moisturizer, like Cetaphil or CeraVe. I also recommend avoiding certain fabrics like wool, which can be irritating to the skin.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an incurable autoimmune disorder that forms scaly, itchy dry patches and plaques on the skin. Flares of psoriasis are common in the winter due to a combination of dry air and lack of natural sunlight. Stress around the holiday season can contribute to flare-ups as well. A home humidifier can help alleviate some of the symptoms, but your best bet is to see your dermatologist. Sometimes topical treatment can help. I often recommend a topical called Sernivo to my patients during winter months, since it’s a spray treatment that dries quickly, so you can jump right back into your winter layers without worrying about greasy residue. The FDA-approved spray is also great for hard-to-reach places like the back and behind the knees.

Psoriasis is a common, yet incurable autoimmune disease – even celebrities suffer from outbreaks. Top models including Cara Delevigne and CariDee English have spoken out about their experience with psoriasis, and both have shared that their outbreaks are often triggered by work-related stress. Even though psoriasis is a genetic condition, stress is often linked to the condition.

Acne

Though most people associate acne with oily skin, dehydrated skin can trigger breakouts as well. One helpful hint is to hydrate and moisturize with an oil-free product. Drink water and avoid sugary drinks if possible. Also, avoid over exfoliating, especially when skin is sensitive from the harsh winter air. If you’re faced with a breakout, avoid picking and try an over the counter 2.5% benzoyl peroxide spot treatment.

For More Information Visit Dr. Smith’s website:

http://fortmillderm.com/

http://sernivo.com/

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