PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- With a cold snap headed towards Western Pa., we pay for it in a lot of ways, not the least of which is our skin cracking and often bleeding.
KDKA's John Shumway went looking for some help for our skin.
Some people are more susceptible, but if you're a sufferer, it can be painful.
With the oh so cold air coming back, it can add to the misery.
"Relative humidity in our air drops in the winter months," said Dr. Charles Mount, Dermatologist with Pittsburgh Skin Dermatology.
The gas burning in our furnaces may wrap us in warmth, but it doesn't come without a price.
"That heating of the air is sucking all that what was left of the humidity in the natural areas to sucking right out. It's even drier inside our homes which were mostly indoors right all winter long," Dr. Mount said.
Dry air isn't the only culprit, though.
"Extra hand washing, cough cold and flu season, perhaps the wrong kinds of soaps -- all that is leading to general dry skin and overall the hands usually take the brunt of it," Dr. Mount said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put antibacterial soap at everyone's fingertips, but it can be very irritating towards skin, so you want to use something to correct the dryness.
"Any open rash is going to be uncomfortable with soap. Exposure, even creams can feel incongruence a lot of open nerve endings when you have extensive rash, severe dry skin, eczema type of things. It's a lot of products can be uncomfortable until it heals," Dr. Mount said.
Dr. Mount has suggestions for what you should use and says the best thing is Vaseline, which most folks shy away from before it makes your hands feel greasy.
There are other lotions and creams out there, but Dr. Mount says many of them should be avoided, especially if they smell nice.
"We as humans like things that look nice and smell nice. Unfortunately, that's good for our nose and our human brain or frontal lobe. Our skin doesn't like all that fragrance and dye and things," Dr. Mount said.
Dr. Mount says go for the fragrance-free soaps and avoid lotions that pump.
"The better product is going to be something that you scoop out of a dish or a jar rather than something you squeeze out of a tube to pump out of a bottle. It means it's probably going to be a thicker cream or some petrolatum based emollient-type product," Dr. Mount said.
After you wash, have your cream ready. Dr. Mount says to pat your hands dry and as soon as they're dry, put that cream on.
While many may not like the greasy feeling of things like Vaseline, Dr. Mount says those type of products help to create a protective barrier to keep your skin healthier.
Dr. Mount says if you're having ongoing, permanent, or long-term issues that won't heal, you should see a dermatologist.
Lastly, Dr. Mount says you shouldn't forget your lips, but says to avoid flavored or fragranced balms.
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