The best way to address dry skin is to start with the cause.
Right now, it’s probably dryness-inducing winter weather that’s getting to your soft skin. Wear warm clothes and don’t expose skin to the elements if it’s possible to avoid.
When it is cold out, it’s hard to resist having an extra hot shower. However, if the mirror is steamed up in your bathroom, you aren’t doing your skin any favours. Water that’s too hot going directly on your skin will irritate it and make it harder to retain moisture. Consider turning the heat down a bit in the shower–you’ll get used to it–and you will see improvements in your skin.
Rubbing irritates your skin and damages a protective layer that is always working to trap in moisture for your skin. Pat dry with a clean towel, from your face to your toes.
When it comes to soap there are a lot of options, but not all will be good for your skin. Look for soap that is scent-free and hypoallergenic. Added scents in a soap will really only serve to irritate your skin. The same is true for laundry soap. Use of a scent-free and sensitive skin laundry detergent is important. Reducing the amount of irritants in your environment is a great way to improve skin.
If skin seems particularly enflamed or aggravated, it may be eczema. Eczema often shows itself as itchy, raised skin, and can be triggered by stress. Taking natural supplements such as fish oil can help, as do many of the aforementioned lifestyle changes: non-irritating soap and warm showers can help reduce flare-ups.
Sunscreen. All the time. The sun not only damages our skin’s ability to retain moisture, but harms our ability to produce collagen. By protecting skin from the drying effects of the sun, we also help to slow the process of aging.
As we age, our skin is less capable of holding moisture. To help combat this, supplement your diet with essential fatty acids, which combat water loss in the epidermis. Flaxseed oil, walnuts, and canola oil are valuable sources.