Your Secret Dry Spots Uncovered!
Winter skin trouble zones
Cold weather can be a big problem for your littlest spots (the rims of your nose, the corners of your mouth, under your eyebrows). Show them a little love with our derm-approved advice.
Underneath your eyebrows
When was the last time you considered lubing up your brows? Exactly. Few of us think to do so, which is why the skin under them tends to get red, itchy, and flaky this time of year. Moisturizing twice a day with a very gentle cream—one that’s free of irritating fragrance and antiaging ingredients like retinol, acids, and vitamin C—should solve the problem, says Kenneth Howe, MD, of Wexler Dermatology of Manhattan and consult for Lubriderm. We like Aveeno’s Advanced Care Moisturizing Cream ($9.99). But if a week or two passes with no improvement, see a dermatologist for something stronger. You may have seborrheic dermatitis, which is born of the same yeast that is thought to cause scalp dandruff.
The webs of your fingers
“The webs of the fingers are especially prone to dryness and cracks, since soaps and other irritants can easily get trapped in their folds,” Dr. Howe says. Rings also can hold irritants against the skin. So what’s the solution? Be sure to clean your rings regularly (with plain water and a tiny brush) to get rid of buildup, and wear rubber gloves when cleaning up around the house. To heal raw hands, apply a thick balm to damp skin at least twice a day, really working it in between your fingers. “Thicker formulas contain more oil than water, so they hold moisture better and last longer,” explains Jessica Wu, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
The rims of your nostrils
Not surprisingly, colds are the most common culprits behind sore noses. “All that blowing and wiping can chafe the delicate skin of the nostrils,” Dr. Howe says. Coat the edges of your nostrils with petroleum jelly before bed to prevent the skin from splitting; if there’s still no relief, switch to a hydrocortisone cream for two weeks. During the day, mix your foundation with a soothing moisturizer to nourish raw skin and conceal ruddiness.
The corners of your mouth
A certain amount of yeast is always present in our bodies, Dr. Howe explains, but it can grow rapidly when the corners of the mouth are chronically moist (mostly from lip-licking and drooling in your sleep), causing inflammation. Healing can be tricky, since saliva quickly washes away medications, but “products made to remedy the condition (known as angular cheilitis, like mild antifungal and steroid creams, penetrate quickly, and work even if they’re only on the skin a short time,” Dr. Howe adds. Try Lotrimin AF For Her ($11.99). See a dermatologist if the irritation persists.
The cuticles on your toenails
When you pull off your shoes and your feet go from a warm, damp environment to a cold one, moisture is quickly wicked away, dehydrating the skin around toenails and causing it to fray, Dr. Howe says. Don’t even think about cutting these cuticles, as they protect nails and skin from infection. Instead, condition cuticles daily with a hydrating oil. Because oils are more fluid than creams, they can seep in and moisturize the entire cuticle—its underside as well as its visible top surface.