"Dry Skin: The Winter Plague"

Winter.  Gotta love it! In addition to the bitter temps outside, we get the joy of snow and ice and always feeling like we can never truly warm up until June. Then, we’re too warm. Not that we let the weather control our lives or anything!

Here we are in the dead of winter:  Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror and spring is but a distant dream. Face it, there is a lot of winter left. But on the bright side, the days are getting longer and the spring flower catalogs are starting to arrive in the mail. The thought of balmy weather at once gives us hope and frustration. Hope that this frozen arctic tundra will thaw, and frustration that we have several weeks left of said tundra. Yuck!

Because of the lower temps outside the indoor humidity levels drop. If your apartment home is comfortable and you are not suffering from dry skin, chapped hands, cracked lips or nose bleeds, let me say this: lucky you! And where are you living? Florida?

If, on the other hand, you do have dry skin issues, or lots of static electricity, there is a solution to help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. You can buy a humidifier or you can make your own with a couple of easy, cheap DIY solutions.  

Here are some tips if you go the DIY route: If you have a crock pot, put it on the counter, fill the crock with water and turn it on. Make sure the crock pot is in an area that is well ventilated, so the steam that rises from it can flow into the room. Be sure to keep the water filled so it doesn’t run dry. The other way to make your own humidifier is to fill a pan with water and place it on the stove at a low temperature and let the steam blend in to the dry air. Only utilize this option when you are at home and awake. Don’t leave your stove on while you are not at home or you are sleeping, for obvious reasons. We don’t need to hear about you on the news: that would not be cool. 

Using a humidifier (store bought or DIY) will take a while for the moisture to get into the air, possibly several days, depending on how dry your home is when you start the humidifying process.

To monitor the humidity levels in your apartment, you can purchase an inexpensive temperature and humidity gauge at a local hardware store or even a big box store. This will help you to see if you are making any progress in increasing the humidity. The lower the outside the temperatures, the more difficult it is to raise the humidity; however, to be comfortable, Center Pointe Energy  recommends the indoor humidity level should be at least 20%, but the human body is most comfortable with relative humidity between 30-50%.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the humidity levels to rise, there are several steps you can take to get some relief: apply lotion liberally (and be sure to reapply each time after you wash your hands). The hands tend to take it the worst this time of year. And who wants to have alligator skin hands? Ewww.  Also, if it’s a day you don’t have to get all gussied up for work, try skipping that shower or bath and give your skin a break. Your body will thank you.  If you are having nose bleeds or just feel like your nose is super dry, you can buy nasal lubricants at your neighborhood drugstore. These lubricants are cheap and work like a charm. Oh, and be sure to use a lot of lip balm to get the fire under control on your chapped lips.

Pretty soon, the humidity levels in your apartment will rise and your skin will heal. Hopefully, not long after, spring will be here: the cold will recede, the tulips and daffodils will bloom, songbirds will reappear and the humidity levels will rise naturally. But until then, soldier on, my friend, and get your humidity levels up and your dry skin calmed down. 



Photo Credit: Comstock / Stockbyte / ThinkStock

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