2018-01-02 / OnCall

Crack Your Winter Skin Problem

Don’t let frigid temps and dry heat drag your skin down.
Dr. Lorraine Rosamilia

“Instead of suffering through the winter with itchy, dry and even painful cracked skin, you can do some simple things to keep your skin feeling smooth and moisturized,” says Geisinger dermatologist Dr. Lorraine Rosamilia.

Avoid hot showers and harsh cleansers
“Turn down the dial in your shower so the water is lukewarm, not hot, and use a gentle soap with moisturizer built in,” says Rosamilia. “Avoid cleansers that contain alcohol and fragrances, and moisturize right after you get out of the shower or bath.”

Moisturize early and often
Speaking of moisturizing, ointments and creams can help keep your skin feeling soft longer than lighter moisturizing lotions. Ointments are typically oil-based rather than water-based, and will create a protective layer on top of the skin to hold moisture in.

Bundle up
When you step outside in the blustery winter weather, make sure your skin is covered —especially your hands. Your hands often become dry and irritated before other parts of your body and can even crack from the dry air, in part because of frequent hand washing.

Don’t wear wet socks and gloves
If you’re building a snowman in your backyard, sledding down a hill in the neighborhood, or skiing and tubing on the slopes, your gloves and socks might end up wet. Cold, wet wool gloves and socks can make your skin red and itchy, so be sure to take them off as soon as possible.

Use a humidifier
“Your central heating system and even your fireplace will make you feel nice and warm, but they’re not doing anything good for your skin,” says Rosamilia. “A humidifier can help to add moisture back into the air, which will help keep skin itchiness and irritation to a minimum.”


Heed Dr. Rosamilia’s advice before heading out into the wild on Jan. 13 for National Winter Trails Day. Millbrook Marsh Nature Center will host a free hike at 1:30 p.m. where nature lovers of all ages can look for signs of life in the winter wonderland.

Geisinger dermatologist Dr. Lorraine Rosamilia was recently named one of “Pennsylvania’s Top Physicians Under 40” by the Pennsylvania Medical Society. The award is an honor to healthcare practitioners who have demonstrated clinical excellence while delivering the highest standards of patient care. Rosamilia has been practicing with Geisinger since 2009.

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