Happy Halloween, everyone! We hope you all had a great time enjoying the festivities of the evening!

Since we are solidly in the middle of fall, why are we talking about winter skincare over here on our blog? Well, as the weather changes and the temperatures drop, dermatologists all over the country start to see a rash (no pun intended!) of patients coming to the office for itchy, dry skin. By making a few adjustments to your skincare, you can avoid a trip to the doctor and keep your skin symptom-free all season long.

What are the most common causes of dry, itchy skin this time of year? Typically, the causes can be reduce to one or more of the following: dry air, hot water, and harsh soaps.

The air outside during the cold weather months is very dry, causing your skin's natural moisture to evaporate more quickly. In addition, when we turn on our heaters in our homes, the air becomes even drier still. To combat this, you need to regularly apply a good, simple moisturizer. Our office favorites are Eucerin, Vanicream (great for sensitive skin!), and sometimes even just plain petrolatum!

Because we are cold this time of year, many patients take long, hot showers and baths. Nothing could be worse for your already dry skin. The heat of the water strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving it without protection when you face the dry cool air both inside and outside of your home. To minimize the drying effects of a hot shower, turn the temperature down and reduce the length of your shower. And though we hate to say it, keep the long soaking baths to a minimum. If you just HAVE to take a long soak, moisturize immediately after getting out of the tub!

Harsh soaps are another common problem. Ivory soap, though a favorite of many, is actually one of the worst soaps to use during the winter months. A true soap, it removes all of your skins natural oils. Harsh antibacterial soaps are another common offender, as are strongly scented soaps. Stick to something mild and gentle -- the Dove moisturizing bar is a great place to start, or consider Vanicream's bar soap or gentle liquid cleanser.

If you are following all of these tips, and still can't get your skin under control, it may be time to see a board-certified dermatologist to make sure something else isn't going on. If you need us, we are always happy to help! And otherwise, stay warm and enjoy the festivities of the season!