From dryness to frostbite, how to protect your skin this winter

Just about everyone deals with dry, even cracking skin this time of year. We asked you on the WTHI Facebook page how you deal with and prevent winter skin problems. News 10's Heather Good spoke with a local doctor and found out some routines may be causing more harm than good.

Posted: Dec. 28, 2017 10:48 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Just about everyone deals with dry, even cracking skin this time of year. We asked you on the WTHI Facebook page how you deal with and prevent winter skin problems. News 10's Heather Good spoke with a local doctor and found out some routines may be causing more harm than good.

Regional Hospital Dr. Andy Mulvey says he deals with the worst kinds of winter skin problems like frostbite.

"With high wind conditions, if the temperature is ten degrees like we had the last few days it can happen under thirty minutes."

Dr. Mulvey says patients will notice pale or purple skin. They may feel a burning, pins and needles sensation before numbness. He suggest seeking medical attention right away.

For less serious cold exposure cases, Mulvey says it is important to warm the skin but warming up the wrong way can do just as much damage. He says do not place your hands or feet close to a fire or heater or place a heating pad directly on cold skin. Instead, run water around a hundred degrees over the area. Otherwise, you risk burning the skin.

As for generally dry and chaffed skin, many of you posted about routines and products you like to use. Dr. Mulvey says moisturizers can work. He says aloe is reach in vitamin E and can help with inflamed and irritated skin. Doctors use aloe as part of a treatment plan in hospitals for patients suffering from frostbite.

While lotions and creams can be good to replenish moisture, applying it right before putting on tight gloves and going outside can cause heat to escape making you more susceptible to cold exposure.

Using moisturizing products can be a good part of your daily routine but Dr. Mulvey stresses your skin should be completely dry before being exposed to the elements.

Drink plenty of water. Dr. Mulvey says eight to ten glasses a day will keep your body, including your skin, hydrated.

It's also important to wear dry, loose fitting clothing if you must spend time outside.

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