Dry, itchy skin affects more than 80 percent of women and can be most prevalent during the cold winter months - when humidity and temperature drop - making skin particularly vulnerable to dryness and cracking.
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It can happen to the best of us but with a few basic "know-hows" dry flaky winter skin can easily be prevented. If you have a problem with dry skin, consider the following:
* What personal care products do you use? Sensitivity to fragrances and dyes commonly found in soaps, lotions and even deodorants can be a frequent cause of skin irritation. Look for personal care products specially formulated for sensitive skin that are hypoallergenic and free of dyes and perfumes.
* Make the switch. As the temperature dips, your skin craves more moisture. Remember to replace lightweight summer lotion with lotions that have a higher concentration of emollients (lipids), which help skin seal in and retain moisture.
A good daily facial moisturizer to use is Olay CC Cream - Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15. To moisturize the rest of your body, I recommend using Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion.
* Get vapor relief. Cranking up the thermostat in winter creates more dry heat, which can leave skin parched and lead to itchiness. Use a vaporizer, which produces hot steam, or humidifier, which produces cool mist, to add moisture to the air.
I recommend using a smaller sized vaporizer that can easily be placed next to the bed during the night, such as this one from Sunbeam - Sunbeam 1388-800-001 Sunbeam 1388-800 Warm Steam Vaporizer.
An important detail to keep in mind when using any type of vaporizer or humidifier, is to thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire unit regularly to prevent harmful particles from building up. This is especially important for people with mold allergies.
* Keep it cool. Chilly winters may make a long hot shower or bath sound enticing, but hot water can actually wash away skin's natural oils, leaving it extra dry and itchy. Instead, take warm showers and pat skin dry. To lock in moisture, apply body lotions containing ingredients like petrolatum and glycerin which work to keep skin hydrated.
Now it's YOUR turn: How do you like to take care of your skin during the winter months? Do you have any favorite lotions you like using? Let us know in the comments!