Tips for keeping skin moist |

Tips for keeping skin moist

Dr. Drew Werner

EAGLE COUNTY – A billion dollars per year. That would feed a lot of hungry people, or shelter a lot of homeless people. It would provide medical care to thousands of uninsured or under-insured. It would buy over 20 million lift tickets or let that same number play a round of golf, with a cart. Incredibly, it is also the same amount of money spent on over-the-counter skin products each year. A significant portion of that is spent on skin moisturizers.Dear Doc: You may have dealt with this question before, but I missed it. Besides lotions what else can be done or taken for the dry skin so many experience here in the high country. – Drying up in Eagle CountyDear Drying Up: Dry skin is a big problem for many people here in Colorado. Our sun is intense and our air dry. Both are hard on our skin. To keep our skin moist, there are just two things to do. The first is to find a way to put more water in our skin, and the second is to decrease the amount of moisture lost. Fortunately, there are many ways to do both.First and foremost is drinking lots of water. All the lotions and moisturizers in the world won’t help if you are dehydrated. The easiest formula to use is drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. It really helps to actually measure how much you are drinking. Although water is best, other fluids count as long as they do not have alcohol or caffeine in them. Moisturizers can help a lot if you choose the right one and apply it correctly. Generally, it is best to use something hypoallergenic. That means it does not contain perfumes and dyes that can irritate the skin. Moisturizers work in three ways. They help carry moisture to our skin, and more importantly help trap moisture from evaporating away. Lastly, moisturizers contain oils, which help our skin feel smoother.One of the most important and overlooked ways of getting moisture into our skin is to exfoliate, according to Cindy Ramunno, one of the skin-care experts at Alpine Laser Clinic. Whether in discrete patches or all-over dryness, the thick, dead outer layers of epidermis act as a barrier to moisture absorption. Alpha hydroxy acids are topical agents used to exfoliate dry, dead outer layers of skin. Used in higher concentrations as glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels by experts like Cindy and the excellent dermatologists in our valley, this chemical treatment can rejuvenate your skin. Other options include dermabrasion. Rather than using chemicals, this is a physical method of exfoliating the skin and offers its own advantages. There are also excellent quality alpha hydroxyl acid containing products to use at home daily. Some are available over the counter while others are available through the same skin care specialists.To keep the moisture in our skin, moisturizers help, too. Apply them more than once daily, especially focusing on after showering and at bedtime. With respect to showering, keep the water lukewarm or cool and pat rather than rub dry. Anything that raises our skin temperature will cause moisture loss – even warm water. Rinse well after using a mild soap, as soaps can irritate our skin, too. Cotton and cotton based clothing are excellent choices too, as they are easy on our skin. Equally important is the use of sun block. A 30 SPF block, reapplied as needed, not only protects the skin from being damaged by UV rays, it helps minimize moisture losses. For patches of eczema or other problem areas, topical steroids can accelerate healing and provide relief. Available over the counter as hydrocortisone or in stronger prescription formulas through your doctor they are generally for short-term use. Care must also be taken, as generally they are not for use in babies, small children or on the face without a doctor’s direction.I had the fortune of talking with Sallyann Bluhm and have some dates coming up for helmet give-aways. I will try to keep you posted as they get nearer, but for now here is a list: 911 Camp-Eagle, June 10, at Eagle Valley Middle School; 911 Camp-Avon, June 17, at Avon Elementary School; Eagle Flight Days, June 18, in Eagle, helmet giveaway; Back to School Health and Safety Fair, Sept. 10, Edwards, with car seat checks and helmet giveaway.Finally I want to extend big congratulations to all our graduates. We are proud of you and your accomplishments. As my son will speak in his graduation address, carry your light forward and let it shine brightly. Finally, a welcome to all our visitors and especially to my mother, June Werner, who is helping us celebrate our graduates.Remember your health is your responsibility. Health is our greatest asset and it doesn’t happen by accident. If something doesn’t seem right, or questions are left unanswered don’t wait, call your doctor.Dr. Drew Werner of the Eagle Valley Medical Center writes a weekly column for the Daily. He encourages health questions. Write him by e-mail to or c/o Editor, Vail Daily, P.O. Box 81, Vail, 81658.Vail, Colorado

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