• How to deal with itchy, irritated and rough skin

    How to deal with itchy, irritated and rough skin

    During this time of year, skin tends to dry out, but when it becomes red, raw, and painful, it's a different story. This happens when the skin gets extra dry, whether it is due to low humidity in the air or excessive hand washing. Melanie Palm, a dermatologist in Solana Beach, California, says it starts with small tears in the skin and leads to larger rips and cracks. Here's how to get some relief (and prevent further problems)

    1. For immediate relief

    Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream like Aveeno 1% Hydrocortisone Antipruritic Cream , twice a day, for one to two weeks, to rough areas. This anti-inflammatory removes redness and relieves mild irritation and itching, Palm says. Consult a dermatologist if the area is open, crusted, or in severe pain. Emily Wise, a dermatologist in Wellesley, Massachusetts, says cracked skin is prone to infection and may require antibiotics.

    2. To prevent cracks

    Do not expose yourself to hot water for long periods of time when taking a shower or washing dishes. When cleaning the affected area, use an unscented, non-soap cleanser such as Avene XeraCalmA.D. Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil . D. Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil . Then apply a fragrance-free and dye-free ointment twice a day (try Aquaphor) - it seals in moisture better than lotions or creams. (If using hydrocortisone or steroid cream, apply it first, then the ointment. During healing, take a break from products and tools that may strip the skin barrier or cause irritation, such as glycolic or salicylic acid, electric cleansing brushes, retinol and scrubs.