Colder temperatures bring dry itching skin to most of us, along with that annoying runny nose. Whether you live in Rhode Island or Texas, cold temperatures can bring dry, cracked skin that can make you just about crazy. These itchy, sometimes bumpy, patches are your body’s way of trying to scream for help. It is the outer layer of skin, made up of dead skin cells, natural oils and fats, which is sending the cry for help.

Cold weather and low humidity as a result of indoor heating can strip away the natural protective layer of the skin and wreak havoc with the skin’s ability to stay moisturized. In extreme cases, if you ignore the early itching (which I don’t know how you can – it drives me nuts), these patches can deteriorate to bleeding, cracking and painful skin predisposed to get an infection especially in the area of the feet and ankles.

A quick trip to the local drug store reveals a plethora of products for this dry, itchy problem; but which one is right for your skin? If you have dry skin in the early stages, almost any product will do (avoid heavily perfumed). If your skin has deteriorated to severe cracks and fissures on your feet or nothing seems to help, there are many excellent specialty products available in our office.

My personal favorite is DPM Cream by Doak pharmaceuticals. A 20% ureic acid preparation with a tingly mint feel and scent. This is great for thickened and dry skin on feet and heels, but don’t put it on your face! Works great coupled with a Happy Feet Buffing Bar for dry, cracked heels!

Another office favorite is Hydrostat by Tripod labs. This is a little less exfoliating, but penetrates well for those with sensitive skin. And what a wonderful herbal scent! This calms down the itching and decreases dryness in as little as a week used daily.

A third recommendation that is loved by all is Miracle Foot Cream. This again, penetrates well but has almost no scent for those sensitive to perfume.

And for those with vascular disease and red, blotching skin from venous stasis, Amerigel Blue Lotion from Amerex is the only lotion I have found that decreases the redness and discoloration of the lower legs and feet from chronic swelling at the same time it helps with chronic dryness.

Bottom line, ask your podiatrist which product is best for you and treat your dryness before it becomes a much bigger problem than chronic itching.