Tammy Child, Esthetician Program Coordinator at St. Clair's Thames Campus, says dry skin is a common concern during the winter due to the extreme cold weather outside and the dry heated atmosphere indoors.
"This leaves the skin parched and stresses the protective barrier," says Child. "And it then causes dry, rough and itchy skin."
Child suggests keeping showers and baths short – no more than 10 minutes long and not more than once per day – to avoid drying your skin out even more.
"Keep the water temperature warm, but not hot," warns Child, adding hot water strips the skin's moisture. "Then at the end of your shower or bath, give your skin a shot of cold water, which closes the pores and locks in moisture."
Debra Rymal, Esthetician Program Coordinator at St. Clair's South Campus, says hot baths or showers can cause increased itching, flaking and dry skin, which is why they should be avoided.
"Hot showers will dehydrate the skin and break down the lipid barrier and will cause additional problems during winter months," says Rymal. "Luke warm water baths and showers are more beneficial keep the skin hydrated."
Child says after a shower or bath, towel dry a bit but keep the skin damp a bit and apply moisturizer right away, which helps seal in the moisture.
"Shea butter, Vitamin E and coconut oil are all excellent ingredients to look for in a moisturizer," explains Child.
With a lot of dry, rough skin, Child suggests gently exfoliating with a loofa or exfoliating scrub a couple of times per week to remove dead skin cells, which will allow the moisturizers to better penetrate.
Of course with cold and flu season, people are washing their hands a lot more often as a precaution – which is another factor leading to dry skin.
"A lot of hand-washing can lead to chapped hands, so I suggest using a moisturizing hand soap, alcohol-free hand sanitizers and a good fragrance free moisture right after hand washing," says Child. "If your hands are extremely dry and cracked, try applying a good moisturizer and wear gloves for one hour. This will trap in moisture."
For dry, calloused feet, Child suggests using a pumice stone on them daily in the shower, then apply a thick, rich butter cream to them before bed, and wear socks to trap in the moisture.
Both Child and Rymal say a simple solution to hydration is to start on the inside and be sure to drink lots of water to help with dry skin!
Rymal says increased water consumption will help the skin to glow and hydrate the skin.
Moisturizing more is definitely a necessity in the winter, says Rymal.
"Unlike the summer months when our skin does not require as much moisture, or we apply lighter moisturizers, winter skin requires heavier creams and ointments," says Rymal. "Night creams are generally heavier creams and are great to apply during winter months. Also layer creams with serums to help increase hydration in the skin."
Using a humidifier can also help, Rymal suggests.
"Heaters and furnaces create dry heat stripping the skin of moisture," says Rymal. "Humidifiers add moisture into the air which helps to alleviate dryness. The use of humidifiers in a home or office will help preserve moisture in the skin."
When it comes to facials, opt for deep moisturizing treatments. Rymal says the winter is definitely not a good time for chemical peels as many are dehydrating or harsh for the skin.
To protect your hands from the harsh elements, be sure to wear gloves outside, then at night you can wear cotton gloves overtop a heavy lotion to help retain moisture.
Rymal says with winter weather wreaking havoc on our skin, using these helpful hints will maintain moisture and keep skin hydrated.