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      Protecting your skin during the winter months

      During the cold winter months your skin can become dry and irritated.

      During the cold winter months your skin can become dry and irritated. Dermatologists say the low humidity forces moisture out of your skin pores, and they say you should moisturize your skin at least twice a day.

      They recommend after washing and drying your hands-- immediately apply a moisturizing cream to ensure soft, smooth skin.

      "We all have an oil barrier that we have on our skin," Dermatologist Jonathan Cleaver said. "That barrier becomes depleted during the winter time, so our skin is much easier to dry out."

      Cleaver says people with skin of color and with darker skin types are more prone to high incidents of A-topic dermatitis, forcing their skin to become more flared during colder temperatures.

      One of the most common complaints Dr. Cleaver gets from his patients: dry, chapped hands. He says there are two reasons for that.

      "That's one, due to the weather. Two, the cold and flu season is around the corner so everybody's washing their hands diligently," Cleaver said.

      People think that when the winter time comes, the sun is no longer out there, but Dr. Cleaver says that's a myth!

      "People forget that when it snows we actually get reflection off the snow, so you get an extra 70 percent dose of UV radiation that come off the snow or ice." Cleaver goes on to say, "It's still important to protect your skin while you're in the elements for the winter time."

      Cleaver encourages you to take a warm to cool shower and cut them to 5-10 minutes, using only mild soaps and cleansers like Dove White and Leever 2000.

      "You pat yourself dry, and leave even beads of water still on your skin. Within 2-3 minutes of getting out of the shower its really important to coat yourself head to toe in the moisturizer. that prevents the water from being eliminated out of our skin."

      Cleaver tells KTVO taking a hot shower is not good.

      "When you take a hot shower basically what happens is you increase the vascular flow to the skin and that causes more itching to occur with that," Cleaver said. "So you're causing theses inflammatory type mediators to increase itchiness."

      Cleaver recommends using fragrance-free products with alpha hydroxy acid. He says these products can be found at your local pharmacy and grocery store.

      Cleaver said now that its getting cooler many people are turning on heaters, and that drys the air.

      He said, "Many heaters have setting on them where you can increase the humidity of the heat that's coming out, so it's not so dry."

      He recommends that if you use wood heat to warm your home, you purchase a humidifier to increase the moisture back into your skin.