There’s nothing worse than dry, itchy skin. Dry skin can happen any time during the year, but is most prevalent in winter (hence the term, “winter itch”). Find out why your skin tends to be dry in winter and how to solve dry hands, feet, body, face and lips year-round.
Keep Water Lukewarm, Not Hot
Hot water robs skin of moisture causing dry skin, so it’s best to shower in lukewarm water. If you can’t bear this rule — I can’t — try to keep your showers short and try showering only once per day. This also means skipping hot tubs (another rule I simply cannot bear). The hot, hot temperature, combined with drying chemicals, is torture on dry skin.
The same rule applies to hand-washing: Wash hands in lukewarm, never hot, water (this is a rule I firmly abide by). If your skin turns red, the water is simply too hot.
Moisturize After Showers or Hand Washing
Your skin will tell you when it’s dry. If your skin feels tight and taut, it’s time to add moisture. There are so many tips to moisturizing skin that I created an article on it.
Skip the Drying Soaps
Soaps can be drying. Stick with a creamy moisturizing cleanser that contains glycerin or petrolatum.
Extra tip: Simply can’t skip the bath? Skip the bubbles, which can contain harsh foaming ingredients and opt for bath oils or oatmeal scrubs, which are great for soothing itchy skin.
Baby Your Hands
Hands and feet can suffer terribly from dry, itchy skin. Put on moisturizer and gloves BEFORE you head outdoors in the winter, and consider lathering up your feet in thick moisturizer and sleeping in cotton socks at night.
Soften Dry, Cracked Heels
Dry, cracked feet are never sexy. To keep feet soft, cover feet in a thick moisturizer, wrap feet in Saran Wrap, then pull on a pair of socks for a couple hours. Try to sit or lie down while the moisturizer soaks in or risk sliding into a full split and pulling your groin muscles. The same treatment can be done on hands, except try plastic bags and keep hands in a pair of socks. A half-hour should do you.
To get rid of dry heel syndrome, try this 5-step process How To Soften Dry, Cracked Heels.
Don’t Forget Your Lips
Licking your lips will not moisturize them and instead will help dry them out. Lips retain less moisture than other parts of the body, so they tend to dry out more quickly. A simple lip balm helps but if you have the bucks, try some lip treatment.
Protect Your Face, Too
If you have super, duper sensitive skin, consider avoiding rinsing your face with tap water, which can contain harsh minerals that are especially drying to the skin (Dr. Dennis Gross once told me New York water contains a lot of harsh minerals, while Seattle water, for example, does not. Go figure). Instead use a cold cream like Pond’s to cleanse your face or use bottled spring water.