Archives for posts with tag: cracked skin

Have you ever stopped to look at your feet? Feet are one of those areas of the body that are overworked and underappreciated. Whether you sit at a desk or walk around all day, your feet are suffering constant abuse. In the middle of winter you may not care about how your feet look but when summer rolls around you may wish you had spent just a little time preparing your feet for to be showcased in those fabulous new strappy sandals.

Examine your feet carefully:
Does the skin around your toes appear dry and flaky?
Is your heel covered with dry and course skin?
Are there calluses lining the pad of your foot?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you are one of the millions of people with dry skin. Dry skin is a chronic skin type that can come and go and may only affect certain areas of the body (such as the feet or hands). Dry skin is mostly just irritating but can lead to problems such as cracks or infections if left untreated. During the winter dry skin increases due to changes in the environment and increased use of interior heaters which remove necessary moisture from the air.

So what may have caused your cracked heels and dry toes?

Many things can influence your feet such as wearing properly fitted shoes, age, psoriasis, diabetes, athlete’s foot, exposure to outside elements and lifestyle. Your feet develop thicker skin due to constant use (and abuse) but this skin can still be easily damaged. Taking the time to repair this damage will not only make your feet look better but feel better too.

What to do:

A pumice stone is a wonderful investment when trying to combat extremely dry or tough skin. This will help remove build up of dead layers of skin and allow healthy new skin to develop.

Apply a foot cream designed to soften those rough spots. Apply this at night and wear socks to bed to help seal in the moisture and give your feet time to repair while you sleep. Avoid lotions as most contain alcohol which will cause more dryness and may irritate the damaged areas (especially cracked skin).

Examine your shoes and invest in a new pair if you notice any tightness or rubbing against the skin. Improperly fitting shoes can lead to much more significant problems than dry skin in the long run!

Final Thoughts

You may not think your feet need care but remember that taking care of your body is important and neglecting any area will lead to trouble down the line. Most foot care treatments require five minutes or less a day to apply and can be done at night to avoid disrupting your day. Be ready to break out the sandals this summer and have fabulous looking feet that will be the envy of all the toes at the beach!

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Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall – dry and itchy skin can attack at any time during the year and make your life miserable. Although many cases of dry skin can be traced to environmental factors and changes in the weather, some skin conditions can be chronic health problems. Banish the itchy dryness today in a few easy steps!

Why Does My Skin Feel So Dry?

Dry skin is the result of less moisture in the skin cells. Low humidity can wreak havoc on skin that is already prone to dryness but everyone can fall victim to dry skin at some point in their lives. Other causes include frequent exposure to water (especially hot water) as this breaks down the lipid barrier in skin, harsh soaps, sun exposure, psoriasis and thyroid disorders.

Should I Worry?

Dry skin is more than just a mild annoyance. Although the itching and flaking can be enough reason to seek a treatment, here is one more: cracked skin can give bacteria the entrance it wants to get into your body. As the skin dries out tiny cracks form, especially on the hands and this leads to breaks. Some people may experience extremely severe cracks that cause bleeding, pain and discomfort. These cracks are much like a cut and need to be taken care of immediately before becoming infected. Your skin is your body’s best defense against disease and you don’t want to take it for granted!

What Can I Do?

If you have suffered from dry skin in the past, you probably know that most basic over the counter moisturizers have little long term effect on this problem. Some people may apply moisturizers continually throughout the day and still suffer from this problem. A thick moisturizer, alcohol free, is an important step in the defense against dry skin. Thin and runny lotions will do little to “seal in” the moisture your skin so desperately needs. If you are not sure, put your lotion to the test. Squeeze a nickel sized amount in your palm and then turn your hand sideways – if the lotion runs or drops off entirely, it’s the wrong lotion.

Final Thoughts

Dry skin is a common problem that affects millions of people each year. Keeping a daily skin routine that includes a high quality moisturizer specifically designed to target dry skin will go a long way towards rectifying this problem. Avoid dry environments and invest in a humidifier for the home. Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially in regards to skin care. It is always simpler to take preventative action rather than needing to repair significant damage.

Winter is coming and that means falling snow, holidays, sled rides and…..dry skin. Every winter thousands of people dread the appearance or worsening of their dry skin symptoms and seek new ways to beat this powerful foe. This year, take control of your skin and don’t let itchy and flaky skin put a damper on your winter wonderland.

Dry or itchy skin is a common condition that can occur all year round but peaks during the colder months when there is a drop in the humidity. Normally healthy and hydrated skin becomes dry, cracked and flaky. Mature skin may show increased fine lines and wrinkles due to the lack of moisture. For the most part, dry skin effects the arms, hands, legs and feet but can also occur on the trunk of the body or even the face (chapped lips anyone?).

The most common complaint when suffering from “winter skin” is a persistent itchiness that can be made worse when in contact with fabrics or liquids. Over time excessive cracking can and will lead to thick and rough patches of skin (called lichenification). This thicker skin not only develops lines and wrinkles but is prone to developing painful cracks (fissures) that may result in bleeding and irritated skin. Severe skin conditions can result from bacterial infections that can develop because of these and other conditions such as nummular eczema (red, scaly patches of skin) or dermatitis (inflamed skin).

The potential outcomes of winter skin are enough to take notice and take action before things get out of hand. Always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that is especially true in health care. Developing a proper skin care routine and faithfully maintaining a schedule will reduce your chances of developing winter skin this season.

Why does winter skin develop in the first place? The cells in the outermost layer of your skin are designed to protect the body and hold in the water to hydrate the interior layers. Loss of this water prevents the outer layer from doing its job and soon the moisture your skin so desperately needs to stay healthy slips away and you are left with dry and unhealthy skin. This can occur from over washing the hands (a frequent problem in the nursing field), exposure to harsh chemicals, changes in humidity and the natural aging process are all frequent culprits. Although some people naturally have “dry skin” and suffer this problem all the time.

Treatment options are available and can be quite effective in preventing or relieving the symptoms of winter skin. Water is not the solution and can frequently worsen the problem, not solve it so step away from the sink! A good moisturizer however is a great way to penetrate the skin and trap moisture in so the skin becomes smooth and supple. Choose a moisturizer specifically designed to target dry skin and use it regularly. If you have more severe symptoms, consult with a doctor and discuss potential treatment options – dry skin can sometimes require pharmaceutical grade products that are not available over the counter. Not all over the counter products to treat itchiness are safe to use on irritated skin so consult with a doctor or pharmacist before use.

Increase the humidity in your home or office if possible. There is no way to change the environment outside but by making strides to limit your exposure to the dry air, the better your skin will feel. Humidifiers are readily available in most local stores and online.

Remember to use sun block, even in the winter. Some sun blocks include a moisturizer along with SPF protection so you would receive double benefits! If you are outside, cover up your skin and limit sun exposure when possible. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your skin is not suffering from UV radiation.

Cover up your hands when you go outside and remove wet articles of clothing as soon as possible. The skin on your hands is some of the thinnest skin on your body and cannot bear being constantly exposed during the winter months! Stay warm and protect your skin!

Avoid skin treatments that will exfoliate or strip the skin of essential oils if possible. Remember it is the loss of moisture and natural oils that dried your skin out to begin with, don’t cause further aggravation with harsh chemicals! This can include masques, exfoliants and peels.

Protect your lips when going outside. Use a lip balm to keep the moisture in and banish those unsightly cracks – you will thank yourself. Remember that irritated skin reacts poorly when exposed to different materials and spicy food on sensitive lips can cause more than just a little discomfort.

Learning to control your winter skin is a battle well worth fighting. Just think of all the discomfort you have endured in the past seasons and make a commitment for this year to be different (a great New Year’s resolution!). If you are prone to dry skin, try keeping your regimen going all year round to see maximum benefits. Some treatments may require a few days to work to their full extent so be patient with your skin and allow it the time it needs to heal.