By Dr. Peter Jenkin, MD
I get asked about the use of moisturizers on a daily basis. For many people, moisturizing is a vital part of their daily skin care. Dry skin is a normal consequence of aging and after a certain age gets worse on an annual basis. In addition, there are some people with a tendency to have eczema that also tend to have very dry skin. Dry skin is always worse during the cool winter months than during summer because cold air can’t hold as much humidity and therefore your skin dries out more.
What’s the issue?
Dry skin is the most common cause of itching. If left untreated, dry skin can actually cause someone to break out with a rash which has sometimes been called “winter itch”. It is basically a form of eczema that is caused purely by having dry skin and is therefore 100% preventable.
Many people are worried about chemicals and allergens in moisturizers. There is no question that some moisturizers have more things in them which could eventually cause an allergic reaction. These allergens are not always synthetic chemicals as many “natural” ingredients such as Lanolin have a propensity to cause allergies as well. The only safe way to make sure you are not exposed to any potential allergens is to use straight petrolatum(vaseline petroleum jelly). If you are concerned you may have an allergy to these or other cosmetic products, Dr. Marshall Welch, who has just joined our practice has had a lifelong interest in contact allergy and a special interest in sorting out these problems.