We’re in the worst of the winter dry season here — not only are the lack of rain and snow and the increase in pollution constant concerns, but it’s hell on one’s hair and skin, especially for those of us in the vicinity of cincuenta años o más. It’s murder. No matter how itchy you are, scratching in public is just not the done thing.

The best solution I’ve found is one that I’d never have considered twenty-something years ago. Oil. Lots of it. Inside and out. You’d think it would leave a person as greasy as a sprat, but instead the effect is dewy and glowing.

Of course, we’re blessed to have oceans of good olive oil to cook with here, though a drop or three will do. And I take daily fish-oil supplements at the recommendation of both my dermatologist and opthamologist — helps with rosacea and associated dry-eye. Most of you are probably not recoiling in horror from either of these options, are you?

It’s the externally-applied oil that can take some getting used to. But it’s worth the effort. Here are my favorites:

Argan oil (the real deal, usually available at health food stores) which is chock-full of tocopherol, is applied daily to my scalp and the really dry and itchy patches, even on my face. No more scaly spot where the tag of my trousers rubs!

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (I raved about it last winter for good reason, and it’s still living up to its name), mixed half and half with a good shea butter body lotion, and slathered everywhere. Also works to calm down hat hair if you rub a drop between your palms and pass it lightly over your hair.

L’Occitane’s Sweet Almond Shower oil — this is a new one for me and I adore it! It’s a cross between liquid soap and oil, so you apply a little bit on wet skin, lather it up (it’s not bubbly), and rinse. It’s also excellent for shaving. If your skin isn’t as dry as mine is, or you live in a more forgiving climate, this may be enough moisture to mean you can skip the lotion. If you’ve got a L’Occitane shop near you, see if they’ll give you a little sample bottle to try out. You’ll be back for more!

My latest can't-live-without-it!