Simple Cures for Winter-Warped Dry Hands

Now that winter is in full swing, cold weather is wreaking havoc on your skin, leaving it dry and chapped. At least a quarter of Americans will suffer from itchy skin during the winter months, but with tips from dermatologist Jeanine Downie, you can moisturize the cracks and redness away.

Shower Smart

The way you shower can affect your skin. To avoid the drying power of hot water, shower with lukewarm water instead of hot water. Also, try to shower quickly -- five minutes max. Ten to 15 minutes in a hot shower can really dry out your skin.

Use mild, nonirritating moisturizing body wash in the shower. Avoid soaps with heavy fragrances or detergents. A good rule of thumb is if the soap smells fresh and pretty, it's probably going to dry you out.

You can try products like Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash, Dove Soap and Cetaphil cleanser.

Use Moisturizer

When using a moisturizer, find one with SPF, even in the winter, and try to use one with a high SPF.

Invoke the Three-Minute Rule

Once you get out of the shower, you have to moisturize right way. Follow the three-minute rule: Apply body oil or emollient within three minutes of your shower. This will help to seal in the moisture and provide relief.

Try Oil of Olay Moisturinse, Johnson's Baby Oil or Trixera Emollient Bath Solution. You can even use Crisco.

Turn Down the Heat

Keep indoor heat at a reasonable temperature. Even if your home heating system has a humidifier, get another one for your bedroom. Just a basic humidifier will help add moisture into the air.

What to Wear

Resist the urge to scratch your itchy skin with what you wear. Avoid wool and stick to cotton. Breathable fabrics in general will help you endure itchy skin instead of provoking it.

If itching is really disrupting you, or keeping you from sleeping at night, then you can take a Benadryl. It curbs the urge to scratch and is a great antihistamine.

Also, clip your nails. Scratching increases the irritation of dry skin. If you keep your nails clipped short at all times, you do a lot less damage.