Local Dermatologist Gives Advice On Protecting Skin In Cold

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- One of the biggest complaints about the cold weather is dry skin. If your hands are dry, cracked and irritated, you're not alone.

"My skin is very dry and chapped, especially my hands," said Marcy Monchamp, a Fort Smith resident.

Randy Bond said, "Right now [my skin's] a little on the dry side because it's noticeably colder today."

Those are the biggest complaints dermatologist Dr. Sandy Johnson is hearing this winter.

"Since your skin is the largest organ of the body, it's most susceptible to the environmental damages of the cold," she said.

There are things you can do to heal your skin and prevent dryness.

"You want make sure to moisturize as much as you can," Dr. Johnson explained. "That moisturizer gives an extra barrier between you and the environment."

She also recommends covering as much skin as possible, especially if you work outdoors. Also, stay hydrated.

"When there's cold there's less humidity sometimes, so you'll get more thirsty and more dehydrated and also your skin gets more dehydrated," she said.

Dr. Johnson said to moisturize every time you wash your hands or take a shower.

"When you wash your hands, your hands are still damp, so if you can put moisturizer on top, you can seal in that moisture even more," she said.

Carrying small jars of whatever product works for you in your pocket or purse is also advised.

"One of our favorites is Vaseline," Dr. Johnson said. "It has very very few ingredients. You'd like to use something that doesn't irritate your skin."

Cover up as much skin as possible to lock in heat. Sunscreen and sunglasses are also still important in the winter. Johnson Dermatology specializes in skin cancer. She said they are seeing an increase in skin cancers and melanoma.