Fortify yourself with these helpful tips to fight off dry skin
What can you do for dry, scaly skin especially on your legs when lotions don't seem to work? Here is some advice for frugal solutions.
First off, a lotion won't penetrate dead, dry skin, explains New York City dermatologist Jennifer McGregor. "Start by getting rid of that scaly layer in a lukewarm shower with an exfoliator. Glycolic acid is the gentlest choice for sensitive skin." Try NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash, available at neotrata.com for $35. Rub it on your body with your hands, let it sit for a minute or two, and then rinse.
If you have normal skin, you can use a microbead wash instead, such as Dove Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash, available in drugstores for $7. Next, within three minutes post-shower, use a fragrance-free moisturizer; scents can lead to irritation. We like the non-greasy Eucerin Professional Repair Extremely Dry Skin Lotion, available for $8 in most drugstores and a Good Housekeeping Seal holder. Exfoliate two or three times per week and moisturize daily, and you'll defeat dryness.
The only safe tan
When it comes to using a tanning bed, don't. Just one session increases your risk of developing melanoma by 20 percent, a multi-university European study has shown. The overview of 11,000-plus patients also revealed that heavy tanning bed use ups your odds of melanoma by 42 percent. For a safe glow, apply a self-tanner or bronzer.
Ways to fight flakes
Soothe your scalp • Itchiness and flaking could be symptoms of dandruff, or of dryness, said Paradi Mirmirani, a dermatologist in Vallejo, Calif. "Use an anti-dandruff shampoo for two weeks to quell inflammation." Try Head & Shoulders Green Apple Dandruff Shampoo available in drugstores for $5. No improvement? See a dermatologist.
Address the cause • Got dandruff again? Blame it on yeast. It lives on our scalps, feeding off sebum and releasing oleic acid, which in some people leads to a reaction. But don't give up. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo every time you wash, said Jim Schwartz, a lead scientist for Procter & Gamble. Ingredients such as pyrithione zinc work to keep yeast in check.
Resist the urge to scratch • Although a common reaction for both dry-scalp and dandruff sufferers, it isn't the solution. "It releases enzymes that activate nerve receptors that make you feel itchy, creating a vicious cycle," said Gil Yosipovitch, a dermatologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. "So the more you scratch, the itchier you'll feel."
Some additional help
• Bath & Body Works Flawless Gold 24K Silk Lotion in Paris Amor available for $19.50 at bathandbodyworks.com, gives legs and collarbone a subtle sheen.
• Sonia Kashuk Gilded Cage Six-Piece Holiday Brush set, available for $25 at Target, comes with a clutch that's sure to be a go-to throughout the season.