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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Soothe Dry Skin When You Have a Cold

Protect From the Outdoors

When you have a cold, you should stay home while you're getting better. But if you have to go out, protect your skin.

The sun, wind, and cold all can be enemies when your skin is dry and sore. Though the sun's rays are less intense in cold weather, they can still burn -- leading to even more peeling, flaking, and itchiness. That's why it's important to wear sunscreen all year long. Look for one that's SPF 30 and says "broad-spectrum" on the label.

For extra protection from the sun, wear a scarf, hat, and gloves. They can also help save you from the drying effects of cold weather and wind.

Hydrate Your House and Body

Dry indoor air can irritate your skin and your sinuses, so keep it moist. Install a whole-house humidifier on your furnace or use separate ones in different rooms.

Keep humidity set between 30% and 50%. If you use a room humidifier, clean it often so mold or mildew don't build up.

Keep your skin hydrated from the inside out by getting enough healthy fats and vitamins. Fatty acids like omega-3s help make up your skin's natural, moisture-retaining oil barrier.

Too few of these healthy fats can give you dry, itchy skin. You can get omega-3s from seafood, especially salmon and tuna, as well as flaxseed, walnuts, and canola oil.

Foods rich in vitamins also help keep your skin moist and healthy. Eat plenty of poultry, fish, whole grains, and beans.

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Reviewed on October 22, 2013

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