Flaky shins, cracked heels, dry itchy arms and chapped lips. The joys of winter?!
Well, not necessarily so.
While these may be common symptoms of the cooler weather, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are plenty of inexpensive products on the market to help you tackle dry skin.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a broad term that health professionals use to describe a group of conditions that cause skin to become red, dry, itchy and sore. According to eczema.org.au, while eczema affects all ages, it usually appears in babies aged 2-6 months old and disappears by the age of six. Adult eczema is very difficult to treat and can be onset by particular medications.
Why skin hydration is important
Keeping your skin hydrated is actually really important. Dry skin can flake, itch, crack, bleed and even become infected. It can also make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable.
According to Dr John Frew from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, the top layer of skin is very important in terms of protecting the immune system.
"It needs to be at least 10% water and this moisture helps to repair and maintain the barrier function of the skin and to keep it healthy," Dr Frew said.
Which moisturiser is best?
Dr Frew was part of a special investigation by the ABC’s Catalyst program, which looked at which moisturisers are best to use. He suggests there are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a moisturiser:
- Look for products with a base of glycerine, glycerol or paraffin as these tend to work best
- Avoid non-essential ingredients such as fragrances, dyes and plant products as these can cause allergies
- Find something you like the feel of because you should apply it regularly
- The fewer ingredients you don’t understand the better.
Tips to heal dry skin
The American Academy of Dermatology Association has some great tips for when showering to heal dry skin and prevent its return:
- Close the bathroom door
- Limit your time in the shower or bath to 5-10 minutes
- Use warm, not hot water
- Wash with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser
- Apply enough cleanser to remove dirt and oil but avoid using so much you see a thick lather
- Blot your skin gently dry with a towel
- Slather on moisturiser immediately after drying your skin.
eczema.org.au states some specific treatments for eczema include:
- Sedating antihistamines that induce sleep and reduce itchiness
- Bandaging that soothes the skin and helps heal lesions
- Antibiotics to treat secondary infections
- Dietician or diet assistance.
How we can help
You can also talk to your local Ramsay Pharmacist about some over the counter products that may work best for you. Our experts can also advise when it might be time to see a dermatologist or GP if your dry skin or eczema needs a prescription-only cream or ointment such as corticosteroids.
We’ll help you say goodbye to that thirsty skin and make sure it’s quenched for summer.