Kansans battle winter, dry skin

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Itchy, dry skin is bothering many of us right now, in the heart of winter.  What causes it and how can we make it go away?

Dermatologist Dr. Grant Ghahramani said, “Dry weather is a huge trigger for most people. And as we get older, the skin changes, so if people have not had dry skin in the past, you might get it in the future.”

The doctor says main areas that are most susceptible for dry skin are your arms and legs.

But when is it bad enough to go see a doctor?

“If it becomes really severe, you’re going to be very itchy,” Dr. Ghahramani said. “You’ve used the moisturizers, you’ve done everything, but it’s just not going away. Sometimes there’s a secondary infection like a staph.”

Dr. Ghahramani suggests if you feel there is an infection mixed in with a rash, or you’re waking up at night, to get checked out.

“If you have a rash or eczema, you can prescribe a topical ointment that is prescription strength,” Dr. Ghahramani said. “That can clear it up in just a few days time. If there is really severe cases, we can do oral medications, (and) we can even do light treatments. But in general, I would say 90% of the time, you can clear it up with dry skin care.”

Some recommendations for at home or over the counter treatment includes: moisturizers and lotions, a humidifier, gentle/fragrance-free soaps or body wash, and trimming your fingernails.

As for the best moisturizer, Dr. Ghahramani recommends, “plain old Vaseline. It’s really easy and probably the cheapest moisturizer you can get.”

In addition to trimming your fingernails, another easy way to treat unconscious scratching, is to put a band-aid over the main itchy spots.

For more information, contact Cotton O’Neil Dermatology at (785) 272-1250.

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