Skin deep

Tips on heading off dry skin

Even though winter is relatively mild here in South Florida, our “cold” snaps can have an effect on our skin. Just a few days of dry, cool air can translate to itchy, scaly skin, but you can keep these symptoms to a minimum by taking control of your skin’s hydration levels.

One cause of dry skin is natural moisturizing factor (NMF), a blend of amino acids found naturally inside our skin cells that works to hold in moisture. Dry skin has less NMF and environmental factors such as sun exposure and low-humidity air decrease levels of NMF in our skin. (If you’ve ever wondered why skin gets dry and peels after a sunburn, it’s because UV exposure lowers NMF levels.)

Our skin compensates for arid air by producing more NMF, but it can take time (at least three days) for cells to ramp up and produce more. This is why skin often flakes and cracks after exposure to the winter elements. To give your skin a helping hand and get it back on track fast, consider these tips…

Up the ante

Any type of skin can get dehydrated come winter. Oily skins that can get away with just a daily sunscreen during the summer months may need something heavier for the winter, and year-round dry types usually need a more intense hydrator in cooler weather.

Prep for outdoors

If your travels take you to a cold climate, you’ll need to take some precautions.

Whether you plan on skiing, building a snowman or simply enjoying the scenery, it’s important to shield your skin from the elements.

In addition to the moisturizer you use, it’s a good idea to slather on a product that delivers hydration and protection. First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream does just this—but remember to apply sunscreen as well since UV rays reflect off snow.

And don’t neglect your lips either. Lip balm with SPF is essential as well.

Rethink bedding

Even the highest thread count cotton sheets can cause friction on dry skin — especially when it becomes chapped or even raw. Consider switching to silk pillowcases. They not only add a little luxury, they’ll help keep your skin comfy as you catch up on your beauty sleep.


If extra protection and hydration don’t improve your dry skin, see your dermatologist. When dryness progresses to cracked or raw skin, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter or prescription products that can soothe, heal and help your skin look beautiful until spring rolls around.

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

  • Ask Nancy

    How to choose an assisted living facility

    Q. I live in California and have a formerly independent, elderly father in Tamarac, who is deteriorating following a mild stroke and is becoming an increasing burden for his partner, who lives with him. He has an extensive support network of friends in South Florida and doesn't wish to relocate to California, where my brother and I could more easily support him. I need to find an assisted living facility (ALF) for him in the Tamarac area. I certainly intend to travel to Tamarac and inspect the facilities personally, but it would help me a great deal to have a starting point.

  • Legislature 2014

    Florida House votes to regulate e-cigarette sales

    State lawmakers took significant steps to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

  • Sleep

    To sleep well, adjust what you eat — and when

    Sleep. Oh, to sleep. A good night’s sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults. And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category