Wintertime’s low humidity outside coupled with dry heat inside buildings can cause skin to dry out and itch. The season’s blustery winds confound the problem. “Dryness is even more noticeable on brown skin because the scaling appears light against darker complexions,” says Amy McMichael, MD, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.

To help your skin rebound from dryness, nourish it with moisturizer. Best bets? Opt for mild cleansers, and use thick moisturizers made with petrolatum or silicone and built-in sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. (Apply well and often to exposed skin.) If you’re older or more prone to dry skin, consider using moisturizers formulated to treat eczema—a chronic condition that makes skin dry, red and itchy. And again, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Why such emphasis? McMichael sums up: “These products are the best defense against aging and skin cancer.”