5. Follow the Rules of Moisturizing.
The simplest moisturizing products can soothe dry skin. "Petroleum jelly makes a great moisturizer," dermatologist Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, says. Or you can use mineral oil, a favorite cream, or lotion.
If you like a very rich moisturizer, look for one with shea butter, ceramides, stearic acid, or glycerin, Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute at the University of Miami, says. "All are rich moisturizers that will help you replenish your skin barrier," Baumann writes in her online article Winter Skin, where she also says she particularly loves glycerin.
Jacobs says that whichever product you choose, a consistent, smart moisturizing routine helps.
- Wash with a non-soap liquid cleanser, preferably one with ceramides to replenish the skin's outer layer.
- Pat skin dry for less than 20 seconds.
- Apply a thick moisturizer to slightly damp skin within minutes of bathing to trap in moisture.
- Moisturize your hands every time you wash them so that evaporating water doesn't draw even more moisture from your dry skin.
Finally, look for a cream with sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to get the added benefit of sun protection. You can find moisturizing sunscreens as ointments, creams, gels, even sprays. The AAD suggests creams as your best bet for helping to combat dry skin.
6. Humidify in Winter.
Cold, dry air is a common cause of dry, irritated skin. Heating your house keeps you warm, but it also removes moisture from the air, which can make dry skin even more parched.
To replenish that missing moisture quickly and easily, use a humidifier in your bedroom, Cambio says. You can track humidity easily with an inexpensive humidity meter, called a hygrometer. Aim for indoor humidity of about 50%.