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Winter Skin Care: South

The Southern states may be the kindest on the skin during winter. "Southern winters are kind of benign," University of Alabama dermatologic surgeon Conway C. Huang, MD, says.

The air in the south doesn't get as dry as in other regions, he says, and humidity remains relatively high.

For winter skin care, Huang suggests using a cream moisturizer -- not a watery lotion -- and keeping showers and baths at a warm temperature, not hot. "Use a gentle soap, or no soap," he says.

Winter Skin Care: Midwest

Chicago dermatologist Mary Massa, MD, says Midwest winters can be cold, snowy, and windy, especially in Chicago, which has earned its "Windy City" nickname.

The heat gets turned up inside when temperatures drop, stripping indoor air of humidity. Plus, windy days can present special problems, she says. "It increases the dryness and adds irritation."

Moisturizing every day can help. Massa tells patients to pick a product based on their skin’s dryness. Consider a heavier, cream-based moisturizer for extremely dry skin. If it’s mildly dry, a lotion moisturizer is probably OK.

For patients who don’t like heavy creams, Massa suggests using a lighter lotion in the morning because it absorbs faster and won't stain clothes as much. Reserve the heavier moisturizer for bedtime use.

Winter Skin Care: Southwest

States in the Southwest, including Arizona, have low humidity year round, Scottsdale dermatologist Bill Halmi, MD, says. "It's exacerbated in the winter," he says. "People do turn on the heat once in a while." Halmi says, "In the Southwest desert area, it's a constant battle against dry skin. In the winter, we need to double our efforts."

Besides the low humidity, there are a lot of hard water issues, Halmi says. "If water is hard, and you use bar soap, it won't come off easily," he says. His advice is to either use liquid soap, such as a moisturizing body wash, for face and body or treat the water with a water softener.

He also reminds Southwest residents to continue using sunscreen even when the temperatures decline in the winter months.