female soft skin handsWhen it comes to winter, what’s not to love? There’s the magic of the holidays, staying indoors with loved ones as you enjoy a roaring fire, and oh yes, the itchy, uncomfortable skin that always plagues you this time of year!

Some people are more prone to dry skin than others, but if you wake up in the middle of the night because your dry skin is driving you crazy, you’re not alone. You’re also not alone if the newest, toughest (and most expensive) moisturizer you just purchased can’t beat it to submission.

The truth is, it takes more than winter weather to send your dry skin into another uncomfortable spell. Here’s what not to do (that you may be doing right now) so that you can reduce and minimize the discomfort for the rest of the winter season—as well as year round!

Watch Those Hot Bubble Baths

When the temperature has dropped outside and the weather channel has issued a winter storm warning, there’s no better feeling than relaxing in a hot bubble bath. That is, there’s no better feeling than that until you’ve dried off and your skin becomes dryer than ever.

As a general rule of thumb, soak in a warm (not hot) bath or shower for ten minutes, max. While it may be tempting to enjoy a hot one during the winter months, the payoff of a cooler temperature is worth it. Here’s why: when you enjoy a steamy soak, the hot water strips the natural oils off of your body. And, when that happens, your body can’t hold in moisture, causing you to double up on your lotion, post-bath time.

Shaving Will Irritate Your Skin

You may shave less in the wintertime (why not?) but when you do shave, it may be done entirely wrong. When you shave, make sure that you’re always using a shower gel or shaving cream—that way, you won’t unnecessarily strip away your body’s natural oils that are responsible for keeping moisture in.

Only shave when you absolutely have to. Overly using your razor during the wintertime (such as shaving your legs every other day when you could get away with shaving once a week) can irritate your skin, leading it to become dryer than usual. A bonus tip: shave right after getting out of a warm shower or bath, and always be sure to use a sharp razor (a dull one can aggravate your skin.)

Think Outside-the-Box When Moisturizing

If you struggle with itchy, dry skin, you know the drill: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! But if lathering on the lotion morning, noon and night still doesn’t seem to be enough to sooth your skin, you may need to try a different moisturizer altogether.

Use a different moisturizer than the one you’ve been using, and make note of any changes in dryness. For example, coconut oil or petroleum jelly are great alternatives to the trendy, fragrant and costly lotions you may be used to. Be on the lookout for words such as shea butter or glycerin which can sooth the discomfort and pain that itchy skin causes.

When you use warm water (instead of piping hot water) for your baths, shave only when necessary and seek out new moisturizers that can better protect your skin, you’ll discover that you can be more in control than you ever thought possible. Enjoy the skin you’re in—even during the winter months!