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Are you following skin-soft directions?

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When the weather outside is frightful, your skin doesn’t have to be. Harsh winter weather and dry indoor heat can strip away skin’s moisture and deplete your body’s natural barrier. If you’ve tried every moisturizer and are still battling dry, itchy skin, it may be your process that needs reworking.

“Dry skin is a very common problem that tends to get worse as we age,” says Germaine Camishion, MD, Virtua dermatologist. “Over-the-counter moisturizers are very effective, but the key is using them correctly.”

If proper moisturizing doesn’t solve your dry skin problem, it’s time to see your doctor, says Dr. Camishion. “Your dry skin could be caused by hormonal changes, illness or certain medication. Irritated, flaky or scaly patches that won’t go away may be an allergic reaction or a more significant condition such as psoriasis or eczema.”

A dermatologist can help you identify the cause and recommend the best treatment for your skin type and condition.

Try these simple techniques to hydrate your skin and banish winter itch:

Trap moisture
The best time to apply moisturizer is while your skin is still damp. After a shower, pat skin partially dry with a towel and immediately
apply moisturizer.

Skip the suds
Less is more when it comes to soap. Choose a moisturizing, unscented soap and use it sparingly or try a moisturizing body wash.

Thicker is better
Use a cream or ointment type moisturizer rather than a lotion, especially in the winter.

Ten-minutes
A long hot shower can strip your skin’s natural oils. Use warm, rather than hot water and limit showers to 10 minutes or less.

Too much hand sanitizer
If hand sanitizers are taking a toll on your skin, learn a handy defense for over-sanitized skin.