Winter Skin Care Survival Guide

Did you know? One of the most common skin conditions is dry skin and irritant hand dermatitis.

Causes:bauer winter

  • The biggest contributing factor to dry skin is the weather.
  • When it’s cool outside, furnaces are turned on, indoor humidity drops and many experience dry skin.
  • Frequent handwashing or scrubbing with soap solutions.
  • Incomplete hand drying.
  • Lotions that are water-based.


  • Dry, chapped, roughened, reddened painful hands.
  • Can get progressively worse with skin thickening, cracks, fissures, itching and discoloration of the skin.

At Work:

  • Utilize alcohol gels unless hands are obviously soiled.
  • Wash with warm, not hot, water. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Dry thoroughly, especially between fingers and under rings. Pat hands dry, don’t rub.
  • If possible, use a fragrance and dye-free moisturizer such as CeraVe, Vanicream or Cetaphil.

At Home:

  • Fragrance and dye-free moisturizers such as CeraVe, Vanicream and Cetaphil are recommended.
  • Products labeled creamy or that have additives such as Vitamin E are not recommended.
  • Apply petroleum (such as plain Vaseline brand petroleum jelly) frequently – especially after hand washing. Wipe off excess to avoid the greasy sensation.
  • Limit showers to daily and use Dove unscented or other non-soap cleanser. Apply a thin layer of petroleum and wipe off excess.
  • Avoid bubble baths, bath oils and shower gels.
  • Create a barrier. For severely dry skin on hands, it may be helpful to soak in warm water for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate your skin, then apply petroleum jelly to dry hands and wear cotton gloves (or cotton socks) while sleeping.
  • Wear gloves or mittens when outside in the cool weather.
  • Wear protective gloves when involved in activities that can be abrasive to hands (i.e. gardening, cleaning with harsh products or chemicals).
  • It is also helpful to wear gloves while washing dishes. Avoid latex gloves if possible. If latex gloves are your only option, make sure they are cotton or cloth-lined.
If dry skin problems persist or worsen it may be time for a visit with Amy Bernards, PA-C Dermatology at Reedsburg Area Medical Center. For an appointment with Amy to discuss your skin needs call the Specialty Clinic at 768-3900.


References: Amy Bernards, Physician Assistant – Dermatology 2/15/17.World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care 2009;Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2002 Hand Hygiene Guideline.