Health Watch — Weathering Winter: Shorter Showers

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about weathering the rest of winter. You may have noticed that your skin gets drier and itchier in winter. That’s because cold air draws moisture from the skin.

On a cold winter day, a long, hot shower may sound like a treat, but Dr. Erin Welch, a dermatologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that will only make dry skin worse. She suggests taking warm, not hot, showers, and limiting your time in the shower to five minutes. As soon as you get out of the shower, apply body oil or lotion while your skin is still damp. That will help seal moisture into your skin. Keeping skin moisturized will also help ease symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, which tend to get worse in winter. Skin also gets drier with age, so older people need to be more careful about hot showers to prevent dry, flaking winter skin.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.


February 2008

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