Dry skin is a very common condition which happens most often during the winter months. This is when the dry cold outside air and use of indoor heat robs your skin of its natural protective moisture faster than your body can replace it.

Symptoms of dry skin may include roughness, redness, scaling, chapping, cracks in the skin and itching. Sensitive skin may be more susceptible to itchy irritations that may blister and peel.

The following natural remedies and supplements may prove useful and prevent bouts of dry skin and winter itch. Moisture may be all you need.

Helpful Natural Remedies

The rule of thumb for dry skin is: Bathe less and use cooler water. Use warm water, not hot for bathing and cleansing your skin. Hot water flushes protective oils from your skin; just as it flushes grease from your dirty dishes.

The best treatment for dry skin is to replace the lost moisture and then protect the skin from losing more water by: taking a shower or bath, step out and apply lotion, cream or oil while your skin is still wet, sealing in the water. Then, pat dry.

If using bath oil, do not add to your bath water. Most of it goes down the drain anyway. And the residue will encourage a fall.

Avoid frequent bathing. Over washing washes away the layer of oil that normally acts like a sealant, sealing in moisture. Do not take saunas, steam baths or soak in hot tubs.

Do not use strong soaps and do not add bubble bath to the water. Soaps rob your skin of moisture by stripping off natural oils. Super-fatted soaps are less irritating. Super-fatted soaps have extra amounts of fatty substances, such as, cold cream, cocoa butter, coconut oil or lanolin.

Room humidifiers, vaporizers and houseplants can help counterbalance the drying effect of dry indoor heating or refrigeration by adding moisture to the air.

Protect your skin from extreme temperatures and strong winds. Wrap up well in cold weather.

Virtually any vegetable oil or hydrogenated oil can be used to combat dry skin and winter itch. They are safe, effective, inexpensive and pure skin lubricants. Although, they do tend to be greasy and may stain your clothes.

Using sunscreen in winter as well as summer slows evaporation and guards against the drying effect of ultraviolet rays.

An inexpensive good moisturizer is Crisco (solid). And it is great for that winter itch too. Rub on gently with your fingertips.

Avoid scratching. Scratching creates a vicious cycle resulting in more scratching and more irritation as well as possible infection.

Oatmeal baths can help sooth itchy skin. Use a commercial product following package directions.

Witch hazel is well known to have an excellent toning effect on the skin. Studies have shown its potential to support the skin while soothing common itchiness and irritation.

Helpful Supplements

Vitamin A is vital for healthy skin. Take 10,000 IU as beta carotene daily.

Vitamin B complex is an anti-stress vitamin which also helps maintain skin health. Take 50 milligrams three times a day.

Omega-3 fatty acids nourish the skin. Take one tablespoon oil daily.

Aloe vera gel is an age-old remedy for irritated skin. It relieves both itching and pain and is believed to speed healing.

Evening primrose oil promotes healing and helps prevent dryness. It can also be applied topically once a day to reduce redness.

Vitamin E oil supports skin health and helps maintain elasticity.

Zinc cream forms a protective layer when applied to the skin.

Helpful Herbal Essential Oils

Ginger provides a toning and tightening effect on the skin supporting healthy pores.

Lemon grass is known for its health promoting properties on the skin and its support of a clear complexion.

Mandarin is a soothing oil that helps retain moisture and nutrients, enhancing elasticity.

Rose geranium helps to maintain hormonal and fluid balance in the body.

Rosewood supports new cell growth which promotes skin rejuvenation.

Sandalwood is excellent for moisturizing and nourishing dry skin.

Herbal supplements that may have supportive and toning effects on the skin include aloe vera, basil, burdock, chamomile, chaparral, comfrey, gotu kola and horsetail.

Any symptoms that do not respond to home treatment in a week or two should be diagnosed by a dermatologist. It could mean a more serious skin problem.

Author's Bio: 

Edith Lingenfelter-webmaster of Age-old Herbs shows how "self defense" is natures oldest law and how to prevent your health concerns with natural healing herbs and herbal nutrition supplements. For better health and well being visit www.age-oldherbs.com