The bitter winter cold can be so hard on your skin that it may trigger a condition called hand eczema, which skin experts report affects an estimated 10% of the U.S. population.
Simple ways to prevent dry skin
Many people will simply dismiss it as dry skin, but the American Academy of Dermatology says hand eczema can be a painful condition that requires treatment.
Here are some of the signs to look out for:
- Dry, chapped skin
- Patches of redness
- Inflamed, itchy skin
- Burning sensation
- Deep, painful cracks
Eczema may be caused by skin irritants, allergens, infections and even stress. However, flare-ups are common during the winter months because the air is so dry.
A representative from the National Eczema Association told Clark.com that the most important thing to do is moisturize your skin with one of the products that have earned the NEA Seal of Acceptance.
Some of these moisturizers cost between $5 to $10 at your local drug store:
- AVEENO Eczema Therapy Hand Cream
- AVEENO Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream
- Cetaphil RESTORADERM Eczema Calming Moisturizer
- Curél Itch Defense Skin Balancing Moisture Lotion
- Gold Bond Medicated Eczema Relief Skin Protectant Cream
- Neosporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream
- Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream Fragrance Free
- Vaseline Jelly Original
Follow this link to read more about these products and others on the list.
More ways to protect your skin
Skin experts say that you should wash your hands with lukewarm water and a fragrance-free cleanser, and avoid waterless antibacterial cleansers, which may contain chemicals that are hard on your skin.
Remember to reapply moisturizer frequently, and see a dermatologist if your condition worsens.