As winter arrives, many of us will suffer from dry skin caused by cold temperatures and low humidity. Avoiding long, hot baths or showers and using moisturizers can help. But sometimes, winter is not the real problem.
Some people with dry skin actually have a condition called keratosis pilaris, which may need more attention.
Especially common in kids and teens, keratosis pilaris gives the skin a rough "sandpaper" feel and most often affects the thighs, upper arms and face. Small bumps on the skin range in color from flesh tone to slightly red.
The condition is caused by the buildup of a protective protein called keratin, which forms raised "plugs" on the skin. In wintertime, keratosis pilaris causes itching that can worsen redness.
A combination of prescription moisturizers and drugs can help, as can a gentle chemical peel, a treatment prescribed and supervised by a dermatologist. It's usually effective but temporary; repeat therapy is needed.
The good news is that the condition gets better over time and often is less troublesome in adults.
If you have dry, bumpy skin, see a dermatologist. For the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell, and this is the President's Prescription.
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