We can’t say we’re huge fans of of sweaty brows and greasy hair, but we will say that there are lots of places on our body (hello, armpits!) that are way better off dry. In other areas, however, dry skin can be irritating, uncomfortable, and downright embarrassing (hello, flaky skin!). As winter approaches—yes, it’s happening—it’s more crucial than ever to treat our driest areas before the cold fronts come in.
Elbows tend to get extra dry in the winter. The skin in that area is predisposed to feeling rough and thick, especially since it’s often subject to the friction caused by rubbing against sweater sleeves, your work desk, and more. Exfoliation will help to soften rough, parched elbows, says Wendy Lewis of beautyinthebag.com. Try using a sloughing body scrub, or a glycolic acid or lactic acid body lotion like Amlactin Alpha-Hydroxy Therapy Moisturizing Body Lotion ($12.15, target.com). After the shower, when skin is still damp, apply a body oil like the cult classic Neutrogena Body Oil ($16, drugstore.com) and let it sink in for extra quenching.
We often think of our undereyes as an area prone to dryness, but rarely have we consider our actual eyelids. “I see this often on clients who use makeup remover with alcohol or other harsh chemicals,” says Lina Hanson, celebrity makeup artist and Essentia Water Hydration Specialist. These ingredients can zap the moisture out of skin—yes, even and perhaps especially the delicate skin of your eyelids. For instant rejuvenation, place cucumber slices on your eyelids for five to ten minutes, then follow up by dabbing a natural eye serum or oil all over the eye area.
The air tends to be much drier in fall and winter, which means our skin can lose a lot of moisture, even in areas we might not always be thinking about, says dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur. Combine the change in weather with many of the winter fabrics we wear, and your underarms can actually become dry and irritated, especially after shaving. Look for a multitasking deodorant like Dove Advanced Care with NutriumMoisture ($4.88, walmart.com), which is formulated to moisturize the skin while providing odor and wetness protection for softer, smoother underarms.
It’s all too easy for lips to become dry and chapped, especially in the cooler seasons. The weather is sometimes to blame, and certainly contributes to all over dryness, but Hanson says that dry lips are also a sign of dehydration. Always be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and should your lips feel chapped beyond repair, give them a gentle scrub with a DIY recipe of sugar, olive oil, and honey, then apply a natural soothing lip balm. Your lips should be back in fighting (read: lipstick-wearing) shape in no time at all.
The skin on your knees has a similar texture to that of your elbows, so it should come as no surprise that they’re prone to dryness as well. Applying a body oil to your knees all the way down to your feet will soften and hydrate the skin while imparting a glowing effect. “I always use a body oil like Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($63, linahanson-shop.com) on my clients before they attend any red carpet event so their legs look beautiful, even in short dresses and strappy pumps. Not only will their legs look smooth and glowing, but it will nourish their skin in the long run, too!,” Hanson says.
It’s a given your hands will feel dry once the temperature drops, but the dryness is especially prominent on the knuckles and webbing of the fingers, because your skin’s natural protective oils are stripped away when exposed to the cold, says Marmur. Repetition is the key to fixing this issue: Be sure to reapply moisturizer throughout the day, especially after washing your hands with soap. Thick creams will provide better protection against cold climates—we love Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Hand Cream ($24.95, drhauschka.com), which packs serious moisturizing power into a lightweight formula.
Aside from treating the problem directly, the best way to avoid dry skin in the first place is with preventative measures: Apply emollient and humectant oils and creams, and avoid hot baths and showers, sun exposure, cold air and wind exposure, and indoor heating. Emollients keep skin softer, more supple and less prone to cracks and roughness. For severely dry skin, apply a rich cream or ointment in the AM and PM, or after bathing, washing dishes, or any other activity where skin gets exposed to water, says Lewis.