Even though there are effective moisturizing ingredients on the market to protect dry skin in winter, the best protection comes from your skin's acid mantle. It keeps dirt and bacteria under control and acts as its own naturally pH balanced emollient. Remember, a slightly more acidic pH kills bacteria before it has a chance to cause problems. Although this natural barrier is powerful, it's also delicate. Harsh soaps can strip it away, leaving your skin more vulnerable to dry winter conditions. For clean, clear, moist and healthy winter skin, choose gentle soaps and other cleaning products that leave your skin's natural defense system intact.
Avoid soaps that contain strong perfumes, detergents, antibacterial ingredients and deodorants. They strip the skin's acid mantle and can be drying in their own right. Instead of relying on soap for deodorant protection or fragrance, invest in a separate deodorant and cologne you can apply to specific, small areas on the body instead of large areas of skin.
If you want to relieve dryness on your hands, feet or other specific locations, moisturize and then apply a heavy-duty emollient like petroleum jelly or lanolin. Cover the area with a wrap, glove or sock, and let the extra moisture work its way into the skin for a few hours or overnight. Repeat the process as needed to reduce flaking, peeling and cracking.