We use the gentlest products we can find, and apply lotion several times a day and that seems to keep things under control. The other week I was looking for a bottle of bubble bath at the grocery store and noticed an oatmeal bath product for calming dry, itchy skin. I vaguely remember taking an oatmeal bath when I had chicken pox as a kid, so I figured I could give Bert an oatmeal bath without buying what seemed like a pricey product.
I did a quick search online and confirmed that it is pretty simple to make an oatmeal bath. You can use either regular or quick oats, and simply grind them to a powder using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor. I filled the bowl of our coffee grinder and ground regular oats for about 25 seconds.
The sites I looked at recommended stirring about a tablespoon of the oat powder in a glass of warm water. If the water became milky looking, the oats were ground enough to release their colloid properties. (Check out this site for more about why it works.)
When I got Bert's bath ready that night, I used about a half cup of the oatmeal powder, mixing it the warm water and breaking up any clumps. Then it was just bath time as usual. Bert's legs and lower back always seem the driest, so he was able to get a good soak on those areas just sitting in the tub like he normally does. The sites also recommended skipping the soap when you do an oatmeal bath, so we just wiped him down and rinsed when he was done (and washed his hair like normal).
He seemed perfectly content to sit in his milky, cloudy bath and his skin did seem better so I think we will make this a regular thing through these dry winter months.
He is also a fan of oatmeal for breakfast, which may explain why he suddenly started sticking his face in the water during his oatmeal bath, when normally he has a conniption when water touches his head or face.