General Question

ETpro's avatar

How can you treat dry, red cheeks brought on by winter cold?

Asked by ETpro (34552points) December 19th, 2011

For the first time in her life, my wife is having trouble this winter with bright red, irritated and dry cheeks every time she goes out and the temperature is below 40° F. Ordinary hand creams or facial moisturizers seem to be making it worse. She’s trying baby oil every few hours, but it doesn’t help much. She’s never reacted to winter cold like this before. There is absolutely no possibility of frostbite, as we haven’t had a single day anywhere near cold enough for that.

She has a regularly scheduled appointment early next month with her doctor, and she’ll ask her about it, but till then is there something she can do to be more comfortable as winter tightens its grip on Boston? It was 22° F last night.

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16 Answers

SmashTheState's avatar

Try hydrocortisone cream. It will stop the histamine response which causes the redness. Most hydrocortisone creams also contain aloe, which will soothe and moisturize the skin. Just be aware that it should be used in very small doses, as it can thin the skin if used on too regular a basis.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Do you know how she reacts to olive oil? Because it’s far more moisturizing than baby oil, and would be what I’d slather on.
If she’s using hand creams and facial moisturizers with mineral oil and/or petroleum in them, that could be part of the problem; those things aren’t really that moisturizing.

gailcalled's avatar

Try a product with mostly shea butter.


Stinley's avatar

It sounds a bit like rosacea, esp if her skin is sensitive to creams etc. Try looking into that and meantime, use stuff for sensitive skin. Keep covered up as much as possible too

Facade's avatar

Baby oil isn’t good for the skin despite what those cute commercials tell you. Real shea butter, coconut oil, or another vegetable oil would most likely help.

JLeslie's avatar

I think maybe rosacea also, or some other infection.

Blueroses's avatar

A rancher friend swears by bag balm for this problem.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I 2nd @Blueroses. Vermont’s Original Bag Balm has been a staple in my medicine cabinet for more than a decade now, never lets me down for soothing roughed up skin, scrapes, rashes and even softening scraggly feet so calluses and dead skin can be easily sloughed off.

cazzie's avatar

I second @gailcalled comment. I make a balm of sheabutter and rice bran oil and it does the trick here at below 10C. Do NOT use anything with water in it. It freezes on your face and makes the problem worse. Something with high viscosity that is also good for the skin like castor oil would be miles better than baby oil. We deal with children here that are out on the cold for hours, bundled up in minus 5C. The parents or caretakers need to smear their little cheeks with balms that contain no water and there are a few commercially available, but I like my own best. (when I say here, I mean Norway and when I talk about these things, I talk about them as a cosmetics formulator.)

ETpro's avatar

@SmashTheState Thanks. I have some on hand. We can give it a try. THat should rule in or out histamines.

@Aethelflaed We cook with oilve oil all the time, and she handles it. She’s never shown any signs of allergy to it.

@gailcalled Shea butter. I’ll have to look for that.

@Facade Funny. I just saw something today on Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil being implicated in skin cancer.

@JLeslie If is’s rosacea her doc should be able to tell that with a look at the dialation of the surface blood vessels, and refer her to a dermatologist for treatment.

@Blueroses Hehe! Knowing my wife, selling her on a product developed in the 1850s for cow udders is going to be an uphill slough. :-)

@Neizvestnaya Really. Well, I can’t just discount it with wto cotes in. Thanks.

@cazzie Great points. The water issue is so obvious, but I’d never looked at the ingredients list to see which do and don’t have it. It’s a cheap filler.

Bugalu's avatar

I would exfoliate and buy a top of the line moisturizer. Ingesting Vitamin E may help from the inside.

ETpro's avatar

@Bugalu Thanks. It seems to be resolving itself. So my strategy now is to “First do no harm.”

andrew05's avatar

Try aloe vera moisture gel it’s a lite green gel.It soothes anyskin irrataions.

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