The main rule of thumb when treating extremely dry skin is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, according to Dr. Audrey Kunin. In the face of the many external elements waging constant war on dry skin -- seasons, weather, sun exposure -- you mustn't lose heart. Take that tool of an effective moisturizer in your hands and come to the rescue of your precious skin.
The best moisturizers include ingredients that retain water or are oil-based for optimum water-loss prevention. Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, lanolin and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) as key ingredients are known to keep water in or bind it to the skin. Moisturizers with oil-based ingredients also help keep water in the skin and prevent evaporation.
Moisturizing products often employ natural ingredients with ultra-hydrating properties. Botanical-based jojoba oil, for example, reduces water-loss in the skin and lends it a soft and supple feel. Coconut oil is often used in moisturizing creams and salves as it effectively conditions and heals ultra-dry or chapped complexions. Shea butter is also a well-known moisturizing ingredient as it protects the skin from dehydration and restores suppleness.
Dr. Kunin encourages moisturizing multiple times a day, as this can help accelerate hydration and skin restoration. She also discourages using moisturizers that contain vitamin A during the winter season as these products can exaggerate dryness, irritation and flaking during cold weather.