Dry skin is a common issue for people of any age. Lori B. Howell, CNP
, a certified nurse practitioner at Hattiesburg Clinic Laurel Dermatology
and Dermatology – Picayune
, says there are solutions for those who suffer from dry skin.
“Dry skin may cause severe itching, and nighttime itching is very common with this. Many people see a dermatologist thinking they have a skin disease when actually it’s severe dry skin,” said Howell.
Flu season is typically at its peak during this time of year, and so health care providers usually encourage people to wash their hands regularly to avoid catching illnesses. However, according to Howell, washing too frequently may not be the best thing for one’s skin.
“Hand hygiene is essential, but it can cause dryness. Washing with soap and alcohol-based hand sanitizers year round may cause severe dryness,” she explained. “To prevent this, apply an unscented oil-based moisturizer immediately after washing and avoid excessive use of hand sanitizers and excessive hand washing.”
Aside from the painful discomfort, Howell said dry, cracked skin is an easy entrance for bacteria. To preserve and protect skin, she recommends the following tips:
- Add a humidifier to your home (particularly during cool, dry weather months)
- Use oil-based moisturizers.
- Avoid excessive washing. (Water dries out the skin, so she suggests quick showers or baths, followed by patting dry and moisturizing while the skin is damp.)
- When bathing or moisturizing, avoid alcohol-based or perfumed products, as they could add to dryness and cause irritation.
“AmLactin and Lac-Hydrin lotions are trusted products dermatologists have used for years to prevent and treat dry skin. These, along with Aquaphor Healing Ointment, can be used together and are considered safe for all skin types and ages. But remember to always test new products on a small area of skin for sensitivity,” said Howell.
Lori Howell is a board-certified nurse practitioner. She’s had more than 20 years of experience in health care, primarily in dermatology, prior to becoming a certified nurse practitioner. In her practice, Howell provides general dermatology services, such as minor skin surgery and the treatment of psoriasis, skin cancer and other skin diseases.
*Please note Hattiesburg Clinic does not publicly endorse any particular drug or product mentioned in this article. Individual treatment options are provided to each patient.