Jennifer Burger, MD, Dermatology Affiliates, Atlanta. Rutledge Forney, MD, Dermatology Affiliates, Atlanta. American Academy of Dermatology pamphlet: “Dry Skin & Keritosis Pilaris.”American Academy of Dermatology pamphlet: “Cosmeceutical Facts and your Skin. "Cleveland Clinic: “Dry Skin/Itchy Skin. ”Mayo Clinic: “Moisturizers: Options for softer skin.”
Narrator: From a trip to the ski slopes… to a move from a humid to dry climate…to the yearly change of seasons – all can lead to a dry skin emergency
: Come back here we're going to room 10
Narrator: It happened to Joanne Wheatley:
Joanne Wheatley: I am noticing that my skin is getting tighter and redder and also the dryness is causing like itching to the point of burning
Narrator: When temperatures dropped with the change in seasons and heaters were turned on…her dry skin emergency set in.
Joanne Wheatley: I mean, I wake up in the morning and then I look down and I look like the Mojave Desert, it is so dry.And I always think that, well I'll just jump in the shower and use the moisturizing soap.
Narrator: Then she lathers on moisturizing lotion…and heads to the office – a notoriously dry environment.
Joanne Wheatley: During the day repeatedly I have to apply lotion to my hands, and sometimes my neck, sometimes my face
Narrator: It's still not enough…
Joanne Wheatley: Oh my Lord! I hydrate regularly thinking that might be the answer.
Dr. Jennifer Burger: Anyone can have dry skin emergencies at any age,but we often will see it in older people because as you get older the natural components of your skin are not always as good at maintaining the natural barrier
Narrator: When skin becomes dry and damaged it can actually be dangerous – why?
Dr. Jennifer Burger: It's the first part of the immune system where your skin says, should this come in or should it not? And so one of its main goals is to keep out bacteria and viruses and fungi
Joanne Wheatley: The first thing I would recommend is since you are having so much trouble at work with the heat and all, is to get a humidifier and put it in your office.That extra moisture in the air will allow the moisturizers and the creams that we're going to recommend to you to work a little bit better.
Narrator: More suggestions: trade in perfumed cleansers and lotions – since they can be irritants -- for fragrance free products and keep showers lukewarm and under 5 minutes.
Joanne Wheatley: Then immediately when you get out of the shower, don't towel off really hard, pat your skin dry, that will leave more of the water on your skin
Narrator: Then seal in the moisture by putting on a lotion or cream right away.
Dr. Jennifer Burger: I also have some prescription things I want you to try
Narrator: In the short-term, Dr. Burger suggests a prescription moisturizer for Joanne with either urea or lactic acid.
Dr. Jennifer Burger: Both of those are natural components of your skin, and they help to not only hold moisture, but draw moisture into the skin. And so those can be very helpful for rehydrating the skin
Narrator: Once her dry skin is under control, Joanne can switch back to an over-the-counter moisturizer. For WebMD, I'm Rhonda Rowland.