The winter season brings cold weather and that means it’s time to bundle up to keep warm. But don’t forget about that beautiful skin underneath! Itchy or dry skin is common and can worsen during the long, cold winter months; and with money being tight around this time of the year, it’s often not such a great idea to bust your bucks on the latest skin treatment. With some spare time at home and a little researching, you can find some home remedies that can wipe away the ash and dry patches and keep them away.

Why is it so important to protect your skin? Many people are the lotioners-for-convenience types, as in, they only spread some crème on the body parts that show and don’t worry about the others because, well, “I’m covered!” But those parts of your skin that don’t see lotion daily can suffer and eventually lead to your developing eczema. Treat your skin with care. Not only does it cover your bones, but it shields your body from disease-causing bacteria, carries your blood vessels, and is the home for those lovely little nerve endings.

Dry skin, though, is a frustrating skin problem which results from the body having issues with retaining water and oil to keep the skin moist. There are several reasons for why you may have dry skin outside of genetics or aging factors. Low humidity in the air makes the skin scaly, and too much heat or air conditioning can dry out the skin as well. Also, too much water, especially after a hot bath or shower, can create some ash. The more you dry your body off, the less likely your skin is able to retain water. Just as with the strands on your head, the more hot showers you take a day, the more vital oils you remove from your skin—oils that help to keep it moist. Lastly, being clean is great, but beware of harsh detergents and soaps and household cleaners that can cause you to have rough, alligator hands.

Have no fear! There are items right in your own home and kitchen that can help relieve you from the discomfort of dry skin.

Oatmeal: Adding instant oatmeal to a hot bath will soothe and heal your skin. Oats consist of vitamin E, which is a vital nutrient for healthy skin. It’s also used for dry hands; you can try rubbing your hands together with wet oatmeal instead of soap, or rub your hands with a dry towel and then rub them with dry oatmeal.

Baking Soda: Instead of using harsh limes to wash your dishes, try sprinkling skin-friendly baking soda into your dishwater. It’s also an alternative to jumping in a hot shower that can dry your skin out. Try taking a sponge bath with 4 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart of water. Baking soda is an age-old remedy used for relieving itching. Add 1 cup of baking soda to your hot bath and soak for 30 minutes before air drying.

Cornstarch: This can also help to relieve dry, itchy skin. Sprinkle a handful in your bathtub and soak for 30 minutes before allowing the body to naturally air-dry while wearing a robe or towel.

Vinegar: This works miracles on chapped hands. Wash and dry your hands, then apply a small bit of vinegar. Put on a pair of soft gloves and leave them on overnight. When you remove them in the morning, feel the difference before gently rinsing it off.

Salt: These tiny rocks act like an exfoliant and help to remove dry skin and make skin smooth. Massage a handful of salt onto wet skin after a shower or hot bath. Make sure to towel it off.

Oil: Body gels and even vegetable oil, experts claim, are some of the best ways to keep your skin loving you and relieve it from dryness. Douse your body with it after you come out of the shower while you’re still a bit wet. The opposition between water and oil will help the body to absorb the oil better and repel the water, and will keep you moisturized all day long.

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