Believe it or not, using less soap on your body in the wintertime can help prevent dry, itchy skin. Let me explain. The function of oil on your skin is to protect it and to lubricate it, but it also helps to hold in whatever natural moisture that you have. While we have lots of oil glands on our face, we have many fewer on our body, and the ones that we do have decrease in number and make less oil as we get older. So, as we get older, we want to strip less of that oil off so that we don’t allow more of our moisture to evaporate and our skin to dry out. So that’s why, during the wintertime, we want to use less soap on our body.
The first thing we can do is to use a milder soap or a less oil-stripping soap, and those soaps are marked either as soaps for dry skin or for sensitive skin. In addition to that, you want to use less soap and use it less often. Let me explain that. The reason we use soap is to clean our skin but, to clean it not only of dirt but really to get rid of bacteria because it’s the bacteria that cause the odors that are unpleasant, and those bacteria tend to live in closed places or moist places, so they live in areas like our personal areas where there is less evaporation and more moisture. We don’t have many bacteria living on open areas of our skin like on your back or chest or on the larger areas of your arms or legs. Certainly, everyday you want to use soap in your personal areas, on your hands and on your face, but during the wintertime, if you’re using soap once a week on the other areas like your back and chest and your arms and legs, that’s more than enough because, in those areas, all you’re making is sweat, and that sweat is just water and salt, and that water and salt washes away with the water from your bath and shower or whatever soap you’re using in the other areas. But there are no bacteria accumulating to make odors in those open areas. So, during the wintertime, if you want to have less dry, itchy skin, use less soap and use it less often.