Right now we are all concerned with the corona-19 virus and are frequently hand washing, which can lead to dry, itchy hands. I have had a number of patients reaching out with problems related to dry itchy skin.  So, I decided to address this in my first blog.

What causes dry skin?

There are a number of external conditions that contribute to dry itchy skin. In the winter, especially in the north, there is little humidity in the air. Our skin dries out and may become itchy. It is cold outside and we take a hot shower. We may linger in the shower as it is relaxing. A long, hot shower is actually very drying for your skin. It is better to take a short shower, less than five minutes, with warm (not hot) water. In addition, there are numerous body washes available in all scents and spices like lilac, cucumber, mango, and citrus among others. All of them smell great!  But these scents may set off people with sensitive skin and contribute to itchy dry skin.  It is better to use bland unscented bar soap or glycerin soap. And upon exiting the shower, dry off a bit and apply moisturizer right away before you are completely dry. Our hands and feet dry out too so don’t forget to moisturize them also.

How to reduce dry itchy skin

A few words on moisturizers. There are numerous products on the market. Lotions are thin and go on easily. They are the least moisturizing. Creams are thicker than lotions and require some effort to apply over the body. Ointments are the thickest and require significant effort to apply but are the most moisturizing of the three types. If you have a very dry area of skin consider applying ointment frequently to that spot until the area is improved.

Ointments are ideal for the dry skin of the hands and feet. Pay special attention to the tips of your fingers which can crack in the winter and with frequent hand washing which we are all doing now. If you do have cracked fingertips you can apply ointment on your fingertips before bedtime and then wear thin cotton liners overnight on your hands.  (Cotton liners are thin white cotton gloves that can be purchased at your local pharmacy.)

Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have [email protected] and I can address them in a future issue

While we are currently on hold for seeing patients in person for concerns about their skin, we are actively seeing patients virtually. You can schedule a telehealth visit with Dr. Hayes, Dr. Raynham or Dr. Michelon, or any of our other dermatologists here or by calling 781-431-0060.