Cause: When the air is less humid—indoors or out—moisture is wicked away from the skin, leaving it drier, says Jessica Weiser, MD, clinical instructor of dermatology at Columbia University. Irritants such as detergent and fragrance, as well as frequent washing, can exacerbate the problem, says Emmy Graber, MD, president of the Dermatology Institute of Boston. And certain medications—water pills, for example—can cause or worsen dryness, as can some medical conditions, like thyroid disease, says Brooke Jackson, MD, medical director of Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates in Durham, North Carolina.

Solution: Take only short, warm showers or baths of ten minutes or less; cleanse with a hydrating body wash; then moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, says Jackson. To avoid looking ashy, women of color should try layering: Start with an oil to form a hydrating film on the skin, and top that with a thick lotion or cream to penetrate. Jackson likes coconut oil, but you can also use lotions with argan or almond oil, petrolatum, glycerin, hyaluronic acid or ceramides. Finally, it helps to drink enough water that your urine is a light yellow and to humidify your home, she says.

Cause: That washed-out look can be the result of dehydration, says Weiser. Because you're likely to feel thirstier in the summer, you usually remember to drink enough water, but in the colder months, it's easy to forget. And if there's a buildup of dead cells on the skin surface, light won't reflect off it, making skin look sallow, ashy and dull.

Solution: A moisturizer containing alpha hydroxy acids or an antioxidant-rich lotion helps refresh skin by encouraging cell turnover, so look for glycolic or lactic acid, retinol and vitamins C and E—both antioxidants—on the ingredients list. Gentle exfoliation with a soft washcloth or a salt or sugar scrub can also brighten skin's appearance. Choose a moisturizer with light-reflecting pigments, says Jackson—you'll get an immediate glow.

Rough Patches
Cause: Severely dry skin that looks rough and irritated is likely eczema or keratosis pilaris (the chicken skin that can appear on the backs of arms), says Weiser. Detergent, fabric softener and fragrance can exacerbate the condition, as can friction or pressure on the area (like leaning your elbows on your desk), says Graber.

Solution: Your first line of defense is a super-hydrator, like an ointment containing petrolatum, says Graber. To smooth the skin, try a gentle exfoliant containing urea and glycolic or lactic acid, which can help break the bonds between dead skin cells so they slough off, says Weiser. Rough skin in women of color can lead to hyperpigmentation, which may be hard to eliminate. So in addition to moisturizing at the first sign of roughness, avoid scrubbing the area—scrubbing may Cause microtears, worsening hyperpigmentation, says Jeanine B. Downie, MD, director of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey. If a rough patch doesn't improve with home treatment, if it's itchy, or if you see silvery white scales, it's time for a doctor visit, says Weiser.