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The dry winter we’ve had has turned me into beef jerky.

Itchy, flaky, irritated skin makes me dream of moisture. The blankets catch on my rough, peeling elbows, knees, and heels, which doesn’t make for restful sleep. My face feels so dry that I imagine the people I talk to see something akin to an Egyptian mummy. It doesn’t make me a confident conversationalist.

“Stop the desiccation of Eve Kelly!” I posted to Facebook. “Emergency moisturization information needed.”

“Goat’s milk soap,” Cherie responded. “I washed with Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soap and then applied aloe vera to heal my very bad eczema. I love the oatmeal-lavender essence. The goats’ soap is so gentle and genuinely cleansing that I would use it every day for my face and shower and scalp. But it’s a bit expensive, so I use it as a treatment every three days.” The soap has olive, coconut, palm, and castor oils with oatmeal and goats’ milk ($5.75 for a 3-ounce bar at indigowild.com).

From Indigo Wild’s website: “The good fats in goat’s milk result in a pH level so close to the pH level of your own skin, it helps to moisturize and keep your skin’s oils in balance.”

“Coconut oil,” offered Nicole. “It is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.”

Nancy was another coconut-oil fan. “It feels delicious. I use it on my face, on my chapped lips, for body massages. I also make sugar scrub out of it with a little essential lavender oil mixed with sugar. It goes into my hair for conditioning. What amazes me is how it doesn’t stain clothes. My toddler is prone to rashes and I slather it on him and his clothes never stain. And it smells so delicious.” Organic Barlean’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil costs $19.99 for 32 ounces at Costco.

“Olive oil,” answered Sophia. “We Italians use it for everything. I slather it on itchy, cracked skin. During the winter, my skin gets very dry, so after my shower I use it. I add it to my son’s bath for his dry skin. I also use it on my cuticles. And it’s great for removing makeup. Our favorite olive oil is locally made John Piconi Olive Oil [$15 for 12.5 ounces at johnpiconioliveoil.com].”

“Gold Bond Ultimate Aloe Healing Skin Therapy Lotion,” replied Margaret. “I use it daily for super-dry skin.” The nongreasy lotion contains vitamins A, C, and E, along with aloe ($8.47 for 14 ounces at Walmart).

“I have found Eucerin Original Healing Creme to be thick and creamy enough to keep the moisture on longer and create a barrier,” said Roisin. “It is a little sticky to work with but definitely soothes the skin, which makes it worth it. Our routine is bath in the evening with a full body application of Eucerin. Along with this, I use a steroid for spot-treating any breakouts.” Eucerin costs $12.49 for 16 ounces at Target.

“Aveeno Bath Treatment Packets with oatmeal and a little bit of cortisone in your lotion,” offered Sheryl. “I use it for flare-ups and usually one soak is enough. But if I am really dry or allergic, twice usually does the trick.” Aveeno Active Naturals Soothing Bath Treatment Packets at CVS Pharmacy cost $8.79 for an eight-pack.

“I’ve read that lavender is the best essential oil for skin,” stated Laurie. Other essential oils for itchy skin: “agrimony, basil, bay-leaf oil, calendula, chamomile, chickweed, clove, geranium, peppermint, rosemary oil, and thyme oil,” she added. “It depends on where the itch is and the age of the person. But usually you can use the oils straight from the bottle. Or you can mix them with a carrier such as coconut oil or almond oil. I just started using doTerra essential oils [lavender essential oil, $28 for 15 ml at doTerra.com].”

“When my scalp gets really itchy,” explained Bernice, “I massage apple-cider vinegar into my hair and let it sit for five minutes. Then I wash my hair.”

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monaghan March 19, 2014 @ 1 p.m.

See suggestions in a comment after Eve's column on Detergents for Sensitive Skin from 5/15/2012. Also, scratching itchy skin is a no-no: it just fuels the fire.


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