Taking Care of Dry Skin (Xerosis)
The medical term for dry skin is xerosis (zeeROsis). Aside from the cosmetic issues, dry skin is sensitive skin, prone to allergy, itching, cracking, and infection. Who needs that? Dry skin tends to be more of a problem in winter and for those of us who are older. Luckily, some simple measures can do a lot of good.
1. Turn down the heat and frequency of your shower or bath. Hot water is very drying. Lukewarm water preserves some of the skin's natural, healthy oils. Don't bathe more than once per day.
2. Use a mild soap with a moisturizer in it like Dove, Olay, or Basis. Deodorant soaps like Dial and Irish Spring are harsh. Also drying is Ivory.
3. Use care while drying: Pat dry. Don't rub. Rubbing further aggravates sensitive skin.
4. Use moisturizer immediately after your shower to seal in the moisture you gained during the shower. You may want to moisturize again halfway between showers for a total of twice per day. My personal favorite moisturizer is Aveeno because it is non-greasy. Lubriderm and Vaseline Intensive Care are economical. If you don't mind the mess and are careful not to slip in the slick tub, baby oil added to the bath water can be a help.
It's not a bad idea to carry a sample-sized tube of moisturizer with you so you can re-apply after you wash your hands.
If these simple measures aren't enough, you might want to consider a humidifier set to 60% during the dry winter months.