Dry Skin - we can't avoid it during our Mantioba winters

Dec 24, 2019

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

PB & J is marketing tyranny. PB & J is holding down the obviously superior peanut butter and honey due only to its snappy moniker. We all love a good acronym, but PB & J is deceptively ambiguous. Is the "J" for jam or jelly. Jelly is obviously worse than jam. Jelly spreads poorly across the luscious surface of the peanut butter. It ends up in uneven chunks. Jelly shouldn't even be called a spread, because it doesn't. Jam is marginally better than jelly because it spreads and at least contains some fruit remnants. But what is with everyone's obsession with making jams out of berries with little seeds! I shouldn't need a toothpick after breakfast. Toothpicks are for a perfectly seared steak at supper. And marmalade. I don't care how much you love Paddington Bear, marmalade tastes bad and should be immediately incinerated. Nothing should go on my open-faced peanut butter sandwich than 100% bee puke. And yes, you people with two slices of bread on your morning sandwich are wrong.

A good rant can make an itch inside my brain feel better. But what if your itch is on the outside? Winter in Dauphin means dry skin. Baby it's cold outside. Cold air can't hold very much moisture. When the cold air comes into our houses and places of business, it is warmed up. Warm air can hold lots of water, but there isn't much in it as it came from outside. We say it has low relative humidity. And this warmed up cold air sucks the moisture out of your skin.

What can you do about dry skin in the winter? Skip long baths and showers. Ideally, have brief 3- to 5-minute baths or showers 2-3 times per week. Sponge baths using warm water are better than soaking in a tub. Use luke warm water rather than hot water while bathing or showering. Avoid harsh or perfumed soaps. In fact, the less soap the better. Consider a mild non-soap cleanser. Pat the skin dry rather than rubbing vigorously after bathing or showering. Apply a moisturizer after within 3 minutes of bathing while the skin is still damp. Then keep applying the moisturizer 3-4 times a day. Cool mist humidifiers can increase the humidity indoors and will minimize water evaporation from the skin. Humidity in your house should be between 40% and 50% in winter. Finally, drink lots of water.

Which moisturizes should you apply after your bath or shower? There are different types. The thicker, greasier ones work the best. Vaseline and lanolin are sometimes called occlusive moisturizes. They hold moisture in the skin really well, but they aren't cosmetically appealing because they are so greasy. Creams with oils like castor oil, cocoa butter, and coconut oil are less greasy than Vaseline, but still hold in moisture fairly well. Thin lotions are the most cosmetically appealing, but don't hold water in as well and will have to be reapplied several times per day.

When should you see your doctor about your dry itchy skin? See your doctor if the itching is very severe and the skin is red and inflamed. If the itchy skin is in the folds on the front of the elbows or behind the knees or on the neck or feet - see the doctor. If the patient is under 2 years old see the doctor. If there are signs of infection like a fever, blisters, very red area or pus, see the doctor. Finally, if regular dry skin doesn't get better after treating with moisturizers for about 10 days, see the doctor.

Do you have a dry itchy spot in the bottom of your tummy when you get up? First a skill tesing question. What are two foods that don't spoil? Too slow. Peanut butter and honey. Now go get your breakfast. You know how the professional woman who has to come home from the big city to solve some crisis in her small hometown falls for the handsome brown haired slightly mysterious local guy with the heart of gold in every Hallmark Christmas movie? That ridiculously long sentence describes peanut butter and honey perfectly. They were meant for each other. Now come back next time when I can tell all you people who prefer smooth peanut butter over crunchy why you're wrong too.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.


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