Halloween is almost here, and in the north, that means temperatures and humidity both drop. Humidity below 30% does a real number on your skin, particularly your lips and hands, especially if you are over 50 years old. In the winter months the low humidity dries out your skin and harsh soaps strip away your natural oils. As we get older, our ability to make more natural protective oils (sebum) declines. And to make matters worse, many people are allergic to chemicals in soaps, most commonly the preservative called triclosan. The combination of these things makes your skin dry and feel rough - and worse - you get little cuts that are so incredibly painful.
So, here’s what you can do. Prevention is best. As soon as the seasons start to change – that’s today by the way - apply a moisturizer on your hands and lips several times a day. Good moisturizers are not greasy and contain a special type of lipid called ceramides, along with fatty acids and even cholesterol. Don’t be offended by fats and cholesterol – unlike inside your arteries, on your skin they are good for you.
If you do wind up with dry skin, step up the frequency of your moisturizer, and increase the humidity of your house. An inexpensive and healthy way is to fill your home with houseplants.
And if you do get those little cuts on your hands, cover them with band-aids to increase the local humidity of the skin. That will speed up healing. And those special night gloves that act like mini saunas for your hands will dramatically improve your skin. If those cuts are driving you crazy, tissue glues work wonders to decrease pain and promote healing.