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Dry Skin: Soothing the Itch in Winter

Does your dry skin make you want to hibernate?

2nd Step for Dry Skin Care: Clean the Right Way continued...

And when you bathe, use soap only on the spots that really need it, such as your face, underarms, groin, and feet. Since the rest of your body doesn't tend to get very dirty, a simple warm-water wash everywhere else is fine say the pros -- and it helps you retain those vital natural oils.

  • Use a Gentle Cleanser

Scented, deodorant, and anti-bacterial soaps can be harsh, stripping skin of essential oils. That's why many skin care experts suggest using non-scented, mild cleansers or soap-free products like Aveeno, Cetaphil, Dove, Dreft, or Neutrogena.

Body washes with petrolatum (another name for petroleum jelly) are also a great option for soothing very dry skin, says Kaufman, helping to trap in water as you clean.

3rd Step for Dry Skin Care: Be Aware of the Sun

  • Keep Using Sunscreen

Though the sun's rays are less intense in winter, those rays can still burn and damage your skin, says Taylor.

As a matter of fact, snow is an even better reflector than water, bouncing 80% of the sun's rays back to us, compared to less than 20% for sand and surf. That's why you can get a nasty sunburn even in winter -- and why it's important to put on sunscreen all year long.

For daily protection, Taylor suggests using a moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15, and when heading outdoors for winter fun, use a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of 15 or higher. And give your UV protection an even bigger boost by donning sunglasses, a hat, and scarf.

4th Step for Dry Skin Care: Get Your Diet Into the Act

  • Eat Up for Better Skin

A diet rich in healthy fats can be another crucial element in your fight against dry, itchy skin. That's because essential fatty acids like omega-3s help make up your skin's natural, moisture-retaining oil barrier. Too few of these healthy fats can not only encourage irritated, dry skin, but leave you more prone to acne, too.

Give your diet an essential fatty acid boost with omega-3-rich foods like flax, walnuts, and safflower oil, as well as cold-water fish such as tuna, herring, halibut, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.

  • Hydrate Yourself -- And Your House

Brush Up on Beauty

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