Dry, cracked skin

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WINTER: Can be harsh on skin. Credit: Shutterstock

WE all know that in winter we should take care to ensure our skin does not become too dry. 

But what do you do if all your preventative measures have failed you and you end up with dry, cracked skin on your hands or face?

This common complaint can become sore, uncomfortable and even embarrassing.  Cracked skin also means your barrier protection is lowered, leaving you more prone to infection and making it important to take measures to heal the area.

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The problem is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, meaning your first step is to take steps to prevent further moisture loss by avoiding harsh detergent soaps and thoroughly drying hands after you have washed them rather than letting them air dry, which allows further moisture to be lost from the skin.

Next, apply a heavy duty hand cream or barrier cream regularly throughout the day.  The more often you do this, the stronger your skin’s natural barrier will become.  Some of the best products are petroleum jelly and creams designed for eczema. For a more intense hit of moisture, slather your hands in product and wear a pair of gloves over the top overnight.

For the skin on your face you may be less inclined to walk around with noticeably shiny lotions or creams on.  Too heavy a product could even clog your skin’s pores, leading to break outs. Take care of the delicate skin on your face by avoiding washing with water that is too hot, and limit the use of exfoliants until your skin s back to normal.  Try using a special facial oil which will hydrate without leaving your greasy, followed by a rich moisturiser designed for the face.

Nourish your skin from the inside too by upping your intake of water and consuming more Omega 3 oils in the form of oil fish, pumpkin seeds or supplements.

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