Dry skin can bug almost anyone during the winter. Of course, the best way to manage dry skin is not to get it in the first place (avoid harsh chemicals and hot showers, wear gloves when you wash dishes — you know the drill). But sometimes, especially with conditions such as psoriasis and diabetes, dry skin might be a regular part of life. What can you do to treat it? Here are a few suggestions:

Colloidal oatmeal is a highly effective skin moisturizer, protectant, and cleanser that people have used for centuries. Its use is regulated by the FDA, so be sure to look for bath and skin care products that contain this versatile natural remedy. Colloidal oatmeal has soothing properties that can also help your skin feel better while it’s working to eliminate the dryness.

Get a mani/pedi: Hands and feet are some of the first places that dry skin affects. If your fingers feel rough, scaly, and ashy, or your heels look like the Grand Canyon, treat yourself to a professional manicure and pedicure every now and then. If the salon offers paraffin treatment, go for it!

Maintain the humidity: Water, water everywhere is a good rule of thumb in treating dry skin. If you live in a cold or dry climate, you may want to place a couple of humidifiers or vaporizers around the house to keep moisture in the air. Here’s an easy and inexpensive household hack: simmer a large pot of water on the stove when you’re at home. You can add aromatics such as cinnamon sticks, whole allspice and cloves, and fresh rosemary to give your entire house a welcoming scent. (Just check the pot periodically and add water as needed, and be sure to turn off the burner before you leave the house or go to bed.)

Alter your bathing routine: Close the bathroom door to trap steam inside, keep the water temperature as low as possible, use only enough body soap and shampoo to do the job, and limit your bath or shower to five or 10 minutes. Afterwards, apply moisturizer while your body is still wet (believe it or not, olive oil works great in a pinch!), and lightly pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it with a towel.

Tend to your scalp: If you’re scratching your head or wiping tiny flakes off your shoulders, your scalp may be dry. This is a very common wintertime condition. Try these steps before your next shampoo: First, massage your scalp for a few minutes (running a soft, natural boar bristle brush through your hair helps loosen dead cells and remove hair product build-up). Next, rub coconut oil into your scalp and distribute it through to the ends of your hair; cover your hair with a shower cap for about 45 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and shampoo as usual. Don’t bypass the conditioning step either.

These guidelines might be helpful in your search for moisturizers and conditioners that work best for your skin type and condition:

  • Select ointments and creams instead of lotions
  • Look for ingredients such as lanolin, jojoba oil, or shea butter
  • Go with unscented bath soaps, hand soap, and laundry detergent
  • Check out samples first, feel free to experiment, and pick what you like best
  • Variety is OK: you’ll likely end up with different products for your lips, face and neck, hands and feet, and body

Need help deciding whether your condition is temporary and seasonal or something that might require medical care? Turn to Teladoc. Our board-certified dermatologists are available by app or web to diagnose your ailment and recommend treatment. You can upload five images of the affected area; the doctor can review them and provide a response within 48 hours.

“Flaky” should describe a pie crust, not skin. In addition to dry skin, Teladoc treats conditions such as acne, psoriasis, moles, rosacea, skin infections, and other complex skin conditions. You can rely on Teladoc Dermatology for quick, convenient, and confidential help with your skin care needs.


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