Heat Rash: Prevention, Symptoms & Treatment

Heat rash, also called prickly heat or miliaria, is a common condition in which areas of the skin feel prickly or sting due to overheating. Blocked sweat glands cause this. Because the sweat cannot get out, it builds up under your skin, causing a rash and tiny, itchy bumps. When the bumps burst and release sweat, many people feel a prickly sensation on their skin. It can itch a lot, but it’s not dangerous.

Heat rash looks like tiny bumps surrounded by red skin. It usually happens on clothed parts of the body, such as your back, abdomen, neck, upper chest, groin, or armpits. And it usually gets better once your skin cools off.

Heat rash happens most often in hot, humid conditions. It’s most common in infants. Active people, newborns in incubators, and people on bed rest with fever also are more likely to get it.

You can get a heat rash when you sweat too much. The ducts from the sweat glands in your skin become blocked. This causes the sweat to leak into the surrounding tissue, which leads to irritation and redness. You may feel the prickly, or stinging, sensation that gives this condition its name.

Symptoms of Heat Rash
- The rash may feel prickly, stinging, or burning.
- The rash is severe or painful or does not go away on its own within a few days.
- You develop an infection in an area where you recently had heat rash.
- You have a fever or any other signs of illness.
- The rash is bright red or has streaks.
- The rash starts after you have been taking an antibiotic or new medication.

Treatment and Prevention
- Move to a cooler, less humid place.
- Don’t scratch your skin, or it could become infected.
- Keep the affected area dry.
- Don’t use ointments or creams that keep your skin moist.
- You can put powder on the rash to feel more comfortable.
- Keep your skin cool by using fans, cool showers, and air-conditioning.
- Wear clothes that aren’t tight and don’t trap heat and moisture.

While these summer skin problems can dampen your fun, they’re usually not serious. Most go away in a few days to a few weeks. If a rash or other skin problem lingers or worsens, you should call your dermatologist’s office.

Bug Bites, Ticks & Mosquitoes: How to prevent and care for bites

Although most bug bites are harmless, some can spread dangerous diseases like Zika Virus, Dengue, Lyme Disease, and Malaria. Particularly if you’re visiting areas with known insect-borne diseases, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk.

To help prevent bug bites, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  1. Use insect repellent. To protect against mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs, we recommend you pre-treat outer layers of clothing (long-sleeved shirts & pants, hats, sneakers, shoes, seams) with insect repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET or one with the active ingredient Permethrin. Follow the directions carefully and allow the clothes to dry for at least two hours before wearing them. We do not recommend applying insect repellant directly onto your skin as it can cause irritation. Do not use sunscreen that contains insect repellent.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing. If you know you’re going to be out at night or hiking in a densely wooded area dress appropriately to prevent bug bites. Cover exposed skin as much as possible by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and closed shoes instead of sandals – once again, treat them with DEET or one with the active ingredient Permethrin. For additional protection, pull your socks up over your pants and tuck your shirt into your pants.
  3. Use bed nets. When sleeping in the great outdoors, use bed nets to protect against mosquitoes. Look for one that has been pre-treated with pyrethroid insecticide. If it doesn’t reach the floor, tuck it under the mattress for maximum protection.
  4. Pay attention to outbreaks. Check the CDC Travel Health Notices website and heed travel warnings and recommendations.

Sometimes, despite one’s greatest efforts, bug bites still happen. Fortunately, most bug bites and stings can be safely treated at home. To treat bug bites and stings at home, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  1. For painful bites, such as a bee sting, take an over-the-counter painkiller, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow the directions on the label and use the correct dose.
  2. For bites that itch, apply an ice pack or an over-the-counter anti-itch cream, such as hydrocortisone. Another option is to take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine.
  3. To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the bite.

Although most bug bites and stings are harmless, some can be dangerous. This is especially true if you are allergic to the bug’s venom, or if the bug is carrying a disease. Here in the United States, it’s common to experience a bite or sting from the following types of bugs:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Fleas
  • Bedbugs
  • Biting flies
  • Mites
  • Bees, wasps and hornets
  • Spiders
  • Ticks

Most bug bites and stings can be safely treated at home with topical medication, such as hydrocortisone cream or ointment, or an oral antihistamine to reduce the itch. However, sometimes a bug bite or sting could turn into something serious – particularly if you have been bitten or stung by many insects at the same time.

Go to the emergency room immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after a bug bite or sting:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • The sensation that your throat is closing
  • Swollen lips, tongue or face
  • Chest pain
  • A racing heartbeat that lasts more than a few minutes
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • A headache
  • A red, donut-shaped rash that develops after a tick bite: This could be a sign of Lyme disease, which should be treated with antibiotics.
  • A fever with a red or black, spotty rash that spreads: This could be a sign of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bacterial infection carried by ticks, which should be treated immediately.

Although most bug bites and stings do not turn into a severe or even fatal illness like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms. If you feel tired all the time, you have a headache, fever or body aches, or you develop a rash after a bug bite, see a board-certified dermatologist immediately.

To remove a tick that is attached to your skin, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  1. Use tweezers to remove the tick. Sterilize the tip of the tweezers using rubbing alcohol and grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Avoid twisting, squeezing or crushing the tick, as this can cause its head or mouth to break off and remain in your skin. If this happens, use tweezers to remove the remaining parts. If you cannot remove the rest of the tick, see a board-certified dermatologist.
  3. Dispose of the tick. Place it in a sealed bag or container; submerse the tick in alcohol; or wrap it tightly in tape. You may also want to save the tick in a sealed jar. That way, if you develop any symptoms after the bite, the tick can be tested for disease.
  4. Clean the bite area with soap and water.

Ticks can bite at any time, however they’re most active in April through September. Fortunately, there are many things people can do to protect themselves and their families against ticks.

To prevent tick bites, dermatologists recommend the following tips:

  1. Walk in the center of trails. Avoid walking through heavily-wooded and brushy areas with tall grass.
  2. If you must walk through heavily-wooded areas, wear long pants and long sleeves. Pull your socks up over your pants, and tuck your shirt into your pants to prevent ticks from crawling up your body. It’s also a good idea to wear light-colored clothes so that ticks can be spotted easily.
  3. Use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing. Make sure to follow the product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, making sure to avoid the hands, eyes and mouth.

Examine your skin after spending time in heavily-wooded or brushy areas. Conduct a full-body tick check to make sure that no ticks are crawling on you. Since ticks prefer warm, moist areas, be sure to check your armpits, groin and hair. You should also check your children, pets and any gear you used outside.

Proper Nail Care Begins at Childhood

Proper nail care is important to your health, your appearance and your self-esteem. Your nails can even help a doctor diagnose a medical condition. The good thing is that proper nail care is not difficult. Here are some do’s and don’ts for fingernail and toenail care.

Do:

  • Keep them short and clean. Use a good nail clipper or a small nail scissors to cut them every week or two. If you let your nails get too long, they’re more likely to break and to get germs under them that can make you sick.
  • Cut them in the shape of the tip of your finger, pretty straight across but a little round at the sides so they’re strong.
  • Cut your toenails straight across, using a clipper designated for toenails. This will help prevent an ingrown toenail.
  • Using a nail file or emery board to smooth the ends of your nails. Make sure that the file is not old and dull. It will work better if it is new. Rub it back and forth very gently along the end of your nail to remove any rough edges.
  • Dry your hands really well after washing them or getting them wet.
  • Rub lotion on your fingernails, especially when your hands feel dry.
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet keeps your nails strong.
  • Change your socks every day. 
  • Wear flip-flops in public showers and at the pool to prevent infections caused by a fungus that can get under your toenails.

 

Don’t:

  • Bite your nails or pick at the skin around your nails. It can cause an infection and it hurts, too!
  • Pry or poke at things with your nails. This can damage them.
  • Cut or push back the cuticles, the tiny sliver of skin where your nail grows out your finger. That can lead to infection.
  • Use nail-polish remover more than twice a month. It’s really hard on your nails.
  • Use acrylic nails (artificial nails). These can be very harmful to your nail and are not recommended.
  • Wear shoes that are too tight, which can cramp your toes.
  • Wear socks when you go to sleep.

If you’re having problems with your nails, seek a medical examination and the specialized expertise of a board-certified dermatologist.

Amazing facts about your skin, hair & nails

Acne (pimples & zits)

  • Acne is a very common skin problem, affecting about 40 million to 50 million Americans.
  • Nearly 85% of people have acne at some point in their lives. It usually starts in puberty but can affect people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s.
  • Acne usually appears on the face, chest and back.
  • By the mid-teens, more than 40% of kids have acne or scars from acne that need to be treated by a dermatologist.
  • In 2004, people spent $2.2 billion to treat acne.

Skin Cancer

  • More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.
  • 1 out of 5 Americans (17%) will have skin cancer at some point in their life.
  • Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer, and one in 58 people will get melanoma at some time during their life.
  • Melanoma is the most common kind of cancer for young adults who are 25-29 years old.  It is the second most common kind of cancer for teens and young adults who are 15-29 years old.
  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour. In 2008, about 8,420 people died from melanoma.

Tanning Beds

  • Even though they are bad for skin and can cause skin cancer, each day about 1 million Americans use tanning beds.
  • Almost 28 million people tan indoors in the U.S. every year; 2.3 million are teens.
  • Nearly 70% of tanning salon patrons are women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
  • Indoor tanning before the age of 35 has been associated with a significant increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  • Studies also have found that indoor tanning can make skin look old, hurt the immune system (the part of the body that helps fight infections), and damage eyes.

Hair & Nails

  • It’s normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day but anyone who notices thinning hair should see a dermatologist.
  • Hairstyles that pull the hair, like ponytails and braids, can cause hair loss.
  • Fingernails grow 0.1 millimeters each day and toenails grow 1 millimeter a month. Fingernails grow faster than toenails, and nails grow faster during the summer than the winter.

Tattoos & Piercings

  • When a group of 500 grown-ups ages 18-50 were asked about tattoos and piercings, 24% said they had tattoos and 48% had a piercing in the ears or another part of the body.
  • Almost one in five people (17%) with tattoos have thought about having them removed.
  • People with tattoos are six times more likely to have hepatitis C, a liver disease that kills 10,000 people a year.
  • Common problems with piercings include infections and allergies to metal.

FDA proposes updating sunscreen regulatory requirements

Whether you’ve been a longtime patient or a new one, you know our mantra – “Protect your birthday suit…use sunlock daily.”

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposed new rule that outlines the final detailed written study or monograph for over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products. It’s important for everyone to take notice.

The goal of the sunscreen monograph is to update nonprescription, OTC sunscreens – those that are marketed in the United States and grandfathered in without FDA-approved applications – to ensure that consumers have access to sun protection options that are considered safe and effective.

The proposed rule identified two ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – as “Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective” (GRASE), and two others – PABA and trilomine salicylate – as not GRASE.

For an additional 12 ingredients, including oxybenzone, the FDA indicated that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that these ingredients are GRASE. However, in the proposed rule the FDA stated that this designation does not indicate these ingredients are unsafe for use in sunscreen, an assertion being made by the Environmental Working Group. The FDA is asking for more testing of these 12 ingredients.

In addition, the proposal puts forward a recommendation on SPF values on sunscreen labels, including raising maximum SPF from 50+ to 60+.

“Because sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) supports any and all regulations to ensure that the public has access to safe and effective sunscreens.

“We are encouraged that the FDA is taking this action on the Sunscreen Innovation Act, and we look forward to working with the FDA as it develops and finalizes the proposed rule,” said AAD President Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, in a statement regarding the proposal.

“As the proposed rule is finalized, we encourage the public to continue protecting themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.” She added, “If you are concerned about the safety of the ingredients in your sunscreen, talk to a board-certified dermatologist to develop a sun protection plan that works for you.”

The AADA is currently reviewing the proposed rule and will submit comments to the FDA. The AADA continues to engage with the FDA to discuss our shared interest in promoting access to new sunscreen ingredients, including new and advanced UV filters, many of which are already available in other countries.

And, once again, please remember to “Protect your birthday suit…use sunlock daily.”

Ringworm – a treatable fungal infections common in children

To start, ringworm is not a worm. It is a type of fungal infection that derives its name from the ring-shaped red, scaly patches with clear centers that characterize its appearance.

Skin fungi live in the top layer of skin cells in moist areas of the body, such as between the toes or in the groin and diaper area. Sometimes, the normal balances that keep fungi in check are upset, resulting in an infection.

Some fungal infections cause only a small amount of irritation, while other types penetrate deeper and can cause itching, swelling, blistering, or scaling.

Different fungi, depending on their location on a child’s body, cause ringworm. The risk of contracting ringworm increases if the child:

-Is malnourished
-Has poor hygiene
-Lives in a warm climate
-Has contact with other children or pets with ringworm
-Is immune-compromised by disease or medication

How is ringworm diagnosed?
Ringworm is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of the child. The lesions of ringworm are unique, and usually allow for a diagnosis simply on physical examination. The physician may also order a culture or skin scraping of the lesion to confirm the diagnosis.

The most common types of ringworm are:

- Athlete’s Foot
This common condition mostly affects teen and adult males, and is rarely found in children before puberty. Many things can cause athlete’s foot, include sweating, not drying the feet well after swimming or bathing, wearing tight socks and shoes, and warm weather conditions. Children are not typically susceptible to athlete’s foot unless present with a parent or there is ringworm infection in the nails.

- Jock Itch
This condition, tinea cruris, is more common in males and occurs more often during warm weather conditions. Although not as common, women can and do get jock itch.

- Scalp Ringworm
This is highly contagious, especially among children. It occurs mainly in children between the ages of 2 and 10, but rarely in adults. Ringworm of the scalp can also develop into a kerion, a large, tender lesion over the area of the initial ringworm and may be associated with a rash elsewhere on the body and tender lymph nodes in the neck.

- Nail Ringworm
This is an infection of the finger or toenail, characterized by a thickened, deformed nail. This condition is found more often in toenails than fingernails, and is more common in adolescents and adults than young children. Men suffering with nail ringworm are more likely to develop a recurrence, hence the rationale is to treat the disease aggressively.

- Body Ringworm
This skin infection is characterized by a ring-like rash on the body or the face. This occurs at all ages and is more common in warmer climates.

What is the treatment for ringworm?
Because the fungi can live indefinitely on the skin, recurrences of ringworm are likely, and treatment may need to be repeated. Specific treatment will be determined based on:

-The child’s age, overall health, and medical history
-Extent of the condition
-Location of the ringworm
-The child’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
-Expectations for the course of the condition
-Child or parent’s opinion or preference

Consult your dermatologist.

The Difference Between “Hydrating” and “Moisturizing”

When browsing the skincare aisle at any store, you’ll often see the words “hydrating” and “moisturizing” on many products. The two, in fact, are NOT one and the same.

While it’s easy to think that these two words mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably, they each mean something different and serve different purposes when it comes to your skin.

Hydrating means that this product contains less than 5% lipid ingredients. It usually uses glycerin or polymers that have hydrophilic side and lipophilic to attach on the skin and catch the water meanwhile. But it doesn’t not have full lipid to seal and protect the skin. This kind of products look clear and like gel or jelly, ie. serums, gels, toners…etc.

On the other hand, Moisturizing products contain at most 25% of lipid. Moisturizers can provide certain lipid to protect your skin. The lipid only stays atop the skin, instead of being absorbed by the skin, to form a transparent layer to prevent water loss. At the same time, the hydration permeates into skin. The products tangibly look white or creamy.

Your skin is the largest organ on your body. It holds in all of our bodily fluids, which prevents dehydration.  It’s vital to keep our skin nourished and to make sure it has all the tools it needs to fight any damage caused by dryness, skin conditions, or environmental damage.

Dry skin affects males and females equally and is a very common issue in older people, who are prone to having dry skin.  That’s because, as we age, our skin tends to produce diminished amounts of natural skin oils and lubricants. The lack of water vapor in the surrounding air (humidity) is another cause of dry skin.

So, when do moisturizers work best? When should you opt for a hydrator?

Hydrators vs. Moisturizers

Both moisturizers and hydrators work to ensure that our skin receives moisture. The natural lipid barrier of our skin protects itself from damage and loss of water, but if you’re someone who suffers from dry, flaky skin, then you may need some extra reinforcements – enter moisturizers.

Dry skin means your skin isn’t producing enough lipid cells on its own, so moisturizers can help lock in moisture.

Hydrators, on the other hand, usually contain humectants. These work to catch moisture from the air and saturate it through the layers of your skin.

So what’s the difference boil down to? Basically, dehydrated skin needs hydration. Dry skin needs oil and moisturization. Identifying the difference is crucial in treating the exact issue.

Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin

So, hydrators alleviate dehydrated skin, and moisturizers help the effects of dry skin.

Dry skin is classified as a skin type, which means a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors has contributed to your skin’s inadequate production of natural oils.

Dry skin can flake, itchy, and cause an overall dull, rough, or lackluster appearance. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is caused by a lack of water.  Not oil, like dry skin. So, yes, this means even oily skin types can suffer from dehydration.

When the water content of your skin is depleted, the results become visible in your skin, leaving it less elastic and supple.

Research indicates that 75 percent of the American population falls short of the daily 8-10 cups of water that are recommended. In other words, a majority of people in the United States are functioning in a state of dehydration.

What You Can Do?

We can’t always control the environment we are exposed to, so it’s important to know what matters we can take into our own hands to improve the quality of dry or dehydrated skin.

First, and we talk about this all of the time, drinking plenty of water is an absolute must. No matter your skin type or condition, nothing bad can come from drinking the right amount of water.

If you feel that your skin is dehydrated, choose a hydrator with hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that helps keep your skin hydrated and youthful-looking. It works to keep your skin stable, protected, and regenerated while holding in a substantial amount of moisture.

When it comes to moisturizers, look for creams that contain natural oils, fruit extracts (Vitamin C is a great one), cocoa butter or even beeswax to help your skin lock in and retain moisture.

A natural humectant ingredient like honey or aloe will nourish your skin while moisturizing it. Natural oils will help fight signs of aging, too. Eating nutrient-rich fruits and water-based can also help hydrate your skin.

Sun-exposed skin can easily lose moisture and make your skin appear dry, flaky, and even more wrinkled. That’s why our mantra of wearing 30 SPF or higher sunscreen every day is imperative.

There’s also nothing wrong with using both a hydrator and a moisturizer together! Just be sure to apply any hydrating products first, and a moisturizer second.

This routine will help ensure that you’re adding the necessary hydration and moisture to the skin while locking it in all day.

Moisturize to Prevent Dry Skin in Winter

While winter weather is a common cause of dry skin, extremely dry skin may be a different and more significant matter. You may want to talk to a dermatologist to discover why your skin is so dry and how to avoid it. For example, you may be advised to avoid contact with certain products or chemicals.

Absent of those factors, the following strategies may also help you manage dry skin.

Use less hot water,
It may seem like a good idea to soak in lots of water when you’re trying to rehydrate your skin. But hot, soapy water can oftentimes make dry skin worse by stripping the protective oils from your skin, leaving it vulnerable to drying. Keep your baths and showers short and use warm water rather than hot.

Use minimal soap
Ditto for using too much soap or hand sanitizers too often, which can also cause your skin to dry out. Use soap and hand sanitizers sparingly. Only apply soap when and where you need it, such as under your arms and on your feet. Choose mild, fragrance-free options such as white Dove, Vanicream, or Basis brands that are designed to be less drying.

Moisturize
Skin moisturizers are among your most important weapons in your arsenal for fighting dry skin. The right moisturizers can help you treat and prevent dry skin. There are four basic types of moisturizers that are available without a prescription.

- Ointment moisturizers tend to trap the most moisture in your skin, but sometimes they can feel greasy. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is an example of this type of moisturizer.

- Oil moisturizers tend to be less greasy than ointments, but they’re still effective at fighting dry skin. Examples include baby oil, mineral oil, and bath oil.

- Cream moisturizers tend to be more popular than other types of ointments or oils because your skin absorbs them more easily. Examples include hand creams.

- Lotion moisturizers generally feel the least greasy. But they can be less moisturizing than the other options because of their higher alcohol content.

After you wash your skin, pat it dry. Then apply your ointment, oil, cream, or lotion right away. Moisturizing right after washing can help you trap as much moisture as possible in your skin.

RI Skin Doc and our Rejuvaderm MediSpa carry a complete line of moisturizers and lotions that are ideal for helping you prevent or remedy dry skin issue and maintain your glowing complexion.

How to Prepare for Your Dermatologist Appointment

From treating blemishes to diagnosing skin, a good dermatologist can help you pinpoint the underlying cause of your issues. Scheduling your next visit is just a phone call or email away, but prepping for your appointment is key.

Make a List
Before your visit, make a list of your concerns. It not only guarantees a smoother and more time-efficient appointment, it also allows your doctor to come up with a more accurate diagnosis. Make a detailed list highlighting your family history, medications you take and your overall skin concerns. Providing information on any past dermatologist visits can also be extremely helpful. This can help your new dermatologist understand any treatment plans you may have had in the past.

Bring Photos
Bringing some photographs of a sporadic skin condition when it flares can be a great help to illustrate to your dermatologist the skin condition you’re concerned about. Photos are also great resource to assure a more productive cosmetic procedure appointment. Photos of yourself at a younger age for example, can help illustrate exactly what you’re looking for.

Have Realistic Expectations
Being patient and realistic about your treatment plan is a good place to start you visit your dermatologist. It often takes time for your skin to become acclimated with new medications and treatments, so don’t expect instant or overnight final results. It usually takes weeks for some new medications to show their full effectiveness..

Wear Loose Clothing
Often times, patients wear tight and complicated clothing, making it difficult for your dermatologist to perform an examination. Comfort aside, wearing loose clothing makes examinations much easier to perform and garments easier to remove when swapping for an exam gown.

Don’t Wear Makeup
You may rely on some foundation and concealer to get you through the day, but when visiting your dermatologist, it’s a good idea to pass on the makeup. Your physician is definitely going to want to get a closer look at your skin, so going in sans makeup can help your dermatologist better identify your condition.

Remove Your Nail Polish
Dermatologists treat a wide variety of skin conditions and pay close attention to the health of your nails, especially because some skin cancers tend to form on your nail beds. It’s wise to remove your nail polish to prepare for your appointment. Nail fungus can sometimes be the cause of body rashes. Additionally, moles can develop under the nails, and those moles tend to be more aggressive.

Never Book Treatments On The Same Day Of An Event
Some procedures like peels, laser treatments and injectables can leave your skin looking inflamed and irritated. Book your appointment a week in advance of any scheduled event you may have (party, date, work presentation, etc) to ensure your skin looks its very best. With adequate recovery time, you’ll look your best and not have to worry about a bruised appearance.

Preparing for Winter Starts NOW!

The change of seasons always puts stress on the skin. The calendar has just turned to November, but our skin can soon be a casualty of the yo-yo temperature changes.

Cold and chafing winds, as well as stagnant indoor air, can leave skin parched because it tends to lack natural moisture. And the stress of the holidays, including eating and drinking to extremes, only adds to skin challenges.

Don’t despair. You don’t have to surrender to all of winter’s indignities. Here’s an arsenal of simple advice to help us prepare our skin for winter’s assault:

1. Wear gloves
Most people wait until temperatures turn frigid before donning gloves. Consider wearing them starting now.  That’s because even minor skin chapping on the hands can turn into fissures that become course and sometimes infected. The same is true for lips, which should always be covered with lip balm when venturing outdoors.

2. Switch from lotion to cream
When you switch your seasonal wardrobes, it’s a good idea to do the same with your skin emollient. Use creams, which are typically more moisturizing, instead of lotions, which don’t provide as strong an oily barrier to reduce water loss in the skin. Creams feel a bit heavier on the skin but they do a much better job at protecting against temperature and humidity extremes. It’s definitely good to put it on at night.

3. Take shorter showers
Ironically, the very things that make us feel good in the moment, such as long, hot showers or baths, can leave our skin crying out for moisture over the longer-term. Opt for shorter, more lukewarm baths and showers and pat your skin dry afterward. Follow up quickly with a layer of moisturizer from head to toe. Also, try shower gel instead of soap for extra skin enrichment.

4. Celebrate in moderation
Winter brings a bevy of holidays that can be fun to celebrate, but between all of the alcohol, rich foods, and deprived sleep your skin can pay a price. Seasonal stress can also bring on certain skin ills, such as acne or cold sores. Cutting back on simple sugars and carbohydrates, which are plentiful in fast foods or processed foods, is another measure we can take to avoid breakouts when a stressful situation (such as Thanksgiving dinner with 10 of your least favorite relatives) looms. In general, stress can make any skin problem a little worse. It’s not the reason you break out per se, but it’s one of the factors.

5. Don’t skip sunscreen
This is our mantra. Though we’re less exposed to sun in winter, that doesn’t mean we can stop protecting ourselves from its rays altogether. Some skin creams have sunscreen built in, but make sure yours carries an SPF rating of 30 or higher, whether you spend most of your time indoors or are one of those adventurers hitting the slopes.