Valerie Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: In winter I get itchy, dry patches everywhere, and moisturizers don't seem to help.

A: Did you know that 50 percent of women take long, hot showers, even though most of them know that it dries out the skin? (That would be me.) Instead, we should be taking short, lukewarm showers, patting ourselves nearly dry, and applying a rich moisturizer to damp skin, says Marsha Gordon, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Gordon recommends moisturizing twice a day: after that sadly short, tepid shower, and again before bed. If you follow this advice and you still get dry patches, or if they don't go away in the warmer months, you may be allergic to an ingreident in your moisturizer. Then applying it is like rubbing salt in a wound: ouch. Or rather: itch. A dermatologist can do a patch test to determine if you have any allergies.

Bottom Line: Cut short the showers and increase the moisturizers.