9 Essential Treatments That Will Keep You from Clawing at Your Skin ...

If you want to keep your skin soft, smooth, and supple this winter, you need essential treatments that will keep you from clawing at your dry, itchy skin. My skin has been ridiculously dry this fall and winter, and my poor Heather is about to scratch her legs raw. I know we can't be the only ones, so I wanted to help some of you before you even get to that point. These are things you can do right at home, usually with items you likely have already. Ready for some soothing, super essential treatments for your skin?

1. Go with a Gentler Soap

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While some essential treatments require a few ingredients or special application tips, this one simply requires a trip to the store. If only for the winter, switch out your usual body wash or soap. Do the same with any face washes or cleansers. Choose something gentle, with no harsh chemicals or added scents, because those are typically the ingredients that will dry out your skin. You can switch back come spring, and feel free to look for a new product from your preferred brand.

2. Bathe in Baking Soda

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In the winter, most skin care experts advise you to stay away from the bathtub, but if you're anything like me, that's all but impossible. Fortunately, there are some winter skin treatments that give you a great excuse to hop in the tub. If your skin is particularly itchy and you can't stand the irritation, draw a warm – not hot – bath and add a cup of baking soda. You can soak for as long as you want, but you've got another great excuse to stay in at least half an hour. When you get out, dry yourself very gently – and pat, don't rub.

3. Make an Oatmeal Paste

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Actually, there are several ways you can use oatmeal, which is ideal for soothing irritated skin and making it softer. You can either add a few cups of oatmeal to your bath water and soak in it, or you can make a skin care paste. Make as much or as little as you want, depending on the areas that most need soothing. The paste option is a little messy, but if you have dry skin on your face, it's a wonderful facial mask.

4. Oil up with the Essentials

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There are lots of essential oils that both soothe itchy skin and leave it silky, supple, and moisturized. You can put a few drops into your bath or simply oil up your skin, using a carrier oil when necessary. The best essential oils you can use include basil, chamomile, clove, lavender, rosemary, agrimony, and geranium.

5. Oil up before a Shower

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This is an entirely different kind of oil, by the way. Before you climb into the shower – warm, not hot! – rub yourself down with almond oil or olive oil. You could use coconut oil too, but we're going to explore the mighty coconut a little later. By oiling up, you'll create a barrier between your skin and the water, and you'll have an easier time shaving. You'll also come out with much softer skin.

6. Soothe the Itch with Citrus

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So, I never realized that citrus, specifically lemon juice, can soothe itchy skin. To me that seems a little like gargling with salt water when your throat's on fire, but that somehow works, and this does too! Pick your itchiest patches and rub them down with a little lemon juice. Just bear in mind that this treatment only works BEFORE you've nearly scratched off your skin. If you have any open scratches, avoid this at all costs – it burns!

7. Lean on Coconut

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Now, back to the not-so-humble coconut! Again, you can use coconut oil on your skin in place of olive or almond oil, and you can even use it as a moisturizer after your shower. Try it on your face, too; it combats severely dry skin beautifully. To that end, it will also work miracles on dry, cracked heels, elbows, and knees. You can also use coconut milk as a body and face wash. Splash your skin with it before you go to sleep, and let it absorb overnight. This can actually clear up zits, blemishes, and uneven skin as well.

8. In the Land of Milk and Honey

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Milk and honey are wonderful for dry, itchy skin. Honey has so many wonderful properties, especially when it comes to healing damaged skin. Milk moisturizes and soothes, plus it cools any irritations. You can either take a milk bath or apply a few teaspoons of warm honey on your skin, especially where you itch the most.

9. Apply Some Aloe Vera

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Since aloe vera is so essential for soothing sunburn, you know it must work for dry, itchy skin too, right? It's better to use fresh aloe, but you can use the refrigerated gels or lotions too. All you have to do is rub it over your skin where it's most irritated. Let it set, and then follow up with a good moisturizer.

Winter is a bad time for skin. The cold temperatures, the dry air, and the biting, stinging winds wreak havoc on your skin. Try to resist too many hot baths or showers, even if you have to indulge once in a while, and remember that nighttime is one of the best times to take care of your skin. Does your skin get dry and itchy in the winter, or does it stay pretty moderate?

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