This is the time of year when my skin feels like it's going to crack open because it's so dry. That's common for many of us in winter when we are indoors much of the time and the air outdoors is cold and raw.
But you don't have to just endure. There is help available and it doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Your skin becomes thinner and drier as you get older, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Most people over 40 need to use a moisturizer every day, the AAD says.
Dry skin is worse if you live in a dry climate or have a job that requires you to have your hands in water a lot of the time (such as being a nurse or a hairdresser).
If you're looking for a good moisturizer, dermatologists say it's fine to stick to drugstore brands rather than high-end brands that you get in a department store. The basic ingredients are the same; with the more expensive brands, you're just paying extra for packaging and marketing.
If your skin is very dry, use a cream rather than a lotion with can contain alcohol and aggravate the dry skin. In severe cases, see a dermatologist who can give you products available only by prescription.
Here are some other tips from the AAD:
Use warm water rather than hot water in a shower or bath. Hot water is tough on natural skin oils.
Use a gentle cleanser and avoid deodorant bars, antibacterial soaps, perfumed soaps and skin products containing alcohol.
Don't stay in the bath or shower for more than 10 minutes.
Moisturize right after you bathe while your skin is still damp to retain natural moisture.
Use a humidifier at home.
Wear a scarf and gloves outdoors to fight chapped hands and lips.