Top 10 Tips for Moisturizing Sensitive Skin

Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Sensitive skin is an unfortunate condition that cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies know well. See more pictures of ways to get beautiful skin.
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Fall and winter can be tough on people with dry, sensitive skin. As the air gets cooler and drier, sensitive skin can easily turn red, crackly and itchy -- if not downright ugly.

Dermatologists haven't settled on an official definition of sensitive skin, since it encompasses a tremendous array of symptoms and underlying causes. In general, sensitive skin is characterized by a tendency to become inflamed or irritated.

According to a 2001 survey of adults in the United Kingdom, 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men identified themselves as having sensitive skin. A full 10 percent of women and 5.8 percent of men said they had "very sensitive skin" [source: Berardesca et al].

Cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies know these numbers well. They've responded by flooding the beauty aisle with products targeted at the lucrative sensitive skin market.

But for people with sensitive skin, topical creams and lotions can sometimes make things worse. That's because sensitive skin is prone to outbreaks of contact dermatitis caused by allergens and irritants -- ingredients that even show up in products designed for sensitive skin [source: AAD].

However, HowStuffWorks has looked beyond the beauty magazine blurbs and questionable home remedies to assemble the following 10 tips for keeping sensitive skin healthy and moisturized -- even in the worst weather.