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.