Photo: Robert Trachtenberg
Q: Why is my skin so itchy after a shower or bath?
A: Don't you love to end a cold day with a delicious hot soak in the tub? Maybe you're reading this magazine in the tub right now. In that case, I'm sorry to have to tell you to get out. Itchiness is often the sign of excessive dryness precipitated by cold or dry air, soap, and bathing in hot water, says Jennifer Linder, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UC San Francisco. When the skin is very dry, it loses the protection of natural oils, which makes the nerves more sensitive (that's your itch). So grab a towel, pat yourself till you're only damp, and then slather your body with a rich lotion that contains lactic acid, glycerin, or panthenol. Why only damp? Because as water evaporates off your skin, it leaves it drier than before your bath or shower. Applying lotion to damp skin locks in the moisture.
Keep in mind:There's a world of terrific cleansers with added moisturizers, so you should consider switching from soap to one of them. (I especially like Caress Whipped Souffle Body Wash, $6.50, and Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash, $15, drugstores.)
Have a question about makeup, skincare, or haircare? Ask Val!
More Beauty Advice from Val
From the December 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine