How to Keep Skin Dewy and Hydrated This Winter
Dry skin is uncomfortable. And it’s a fairly common condition, especially in the winter months.
Fortunately, though, whether your skin needs a hydrating boost from the drying winter weather, or you suffer from dry skin all year, there are several highly effective treatments available.
But first, let’s take a look at the types and causes of dry skin.
What Are the Types of Dry Skin?
Dry skin is itchy, scaly, and cracked, and can affect any area on your body, with the hands, arms, and legs being the most commonly affected areas.
The medical term for dry skin is xerosis, and the medical term for extremely dry skin is dermatitis. There are several types of dermatitis, including:
Contact dermatitis occurs when your skin reacts to something it touches and becomes inflamed.
Allergic contact dermatitis develops when your skin touches something you are allergic to. And irritant contact dermatitis occurs when your skin is exposed to an irritating chemical.
When the skin produces too much oil, it can create a red and scaly rash. Seborrheic dermatitis usually occurs on the scalp and is common in infants.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic skin condition resulting in dry, scaly patches on the skin. This type of dermatitis is common in young children.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Though dry skin can affect anyone, there are risk factors that increase your risk of developing dry skin. These risk factors include:
As you age, you are more likely to develop dry skin because your pores will naturally produce less oil. Also, hormonal changes can cause the skin to become dryer. Therefore, older adults are more likely to develop dry skin than younger adults.
Compared to the summer, the humidity levels are quite low in the fall and winter. So with less moisture in the air, your skin is more likely to dry out in these cold seasons.
If you have a family history of eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, or other allergic diseases, you are more likely to experience these types of dry skin.
Psoriasis, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and certain medications can also cause skin to dry out.
Bathing and showering too frequently can raise your risk of having dry skin, especially if you use very hot water.
Diet affects the health and hydration of your skin. Malnutrition, smoking, alcohol, and not drinking enough water will all leave you and your skin feeling dehydrated and increase your risk of developing dry skin.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry skin is caused by dehydration in the epidermis—the superficial layer of skin. When the sebaceous glands don’t produce enough sebum to keep the skin hydrated, it becomes dry.
Frequent washing and using harsh soaps can dry out skin faster, since this strips the skin of its natural oils.
Your skin may also become dry in the winter because cold, dry air heated by a furnace will evaporate moisture in the skin, as will over-washing with harsh soaps and hot water.
What Are the Main Symptoms Of Dry Skin?
The main symptoms of dry skin include:
- Small, fine flakes of skin
- Dry patches of skin
- Rough patches
- Cracks and fissures in the skin
Best Treatments for Skin Hydration
If you’re wondering how to treat very dry skin effectively, look no further. Skin resurfacing is the best dry skin treatment because it removes dead skin cells to reveal healthier skin while allowing moisturizing products to penetrate the skin more effectively.
AquaGold is a non-surgical treatment that stamps the skin with fine, hollow 24-karate gold needles that deliver a custom combination of serums and skincare products directly into the skin depending on your skin’s needs. To treat dry skin, your treatment would include hyaluronic acid, which has the ability to hold water in the skin up to 1,000 times its weight.
Before treatment, a numbing gel will be applied to your skin. Next, your clinician will cleanse your face or other treatment areas and apply a non-chemical peel to ensure the micro-needles penetrate the skin effectively. After 10 minutes, your clinician will gently stamp the AquaGold device in an overlapping pattern.
This zero-downtime treatment takes 30 to 45 minutes, and you will start to notice results instantly. Results will continue to improve in the days following the treatment and will last three to four months. You can then repeat the treatment every three to four months for accumulative improvements.
Microneedling is a minimally-invasive treatment that uses a pen-like instrument with a tip of tiny, evenly-spaced stainless steel needles to penetrate the skin. These micro-needles stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin. And the resulting skin cell turnover will replace old, dry, and damaged skin, with smoother, healthier skin.
Before treatment, a topical anesthetic will be applied to numb the treatment area and minimize any discomfort.
The treatment takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the treatment area. Following the treatment, a hydrating serum will be placed on your skin, such as hyaluronic acid, to significantly improve your skin’s hydration.
Your skin will feel warm and tight after treatment and may look red or pink. But this should disappear after a few hours. For some, the redness may last a few days to a week.
Due to the nature of the treatment, you will have to follow specific aftercare instructions.
Modified Jessner Peels
Modified Jessner Peels use mild acids—usually a combination of resorcinol, salicylic, and lactic acids—to remove dry and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. This results in smoother, more supple skin, and a reduced appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, blemishes, and clogged pores.
The peel is applied for just three to five minutes, but after the procedure you may notice a tingling sensation for up to 20 minutes or more. Your skin may be temporarily red, swollen, or tight for the first 24 hours post-treatment, but this can be remedied with a quality moisturizer. After this time, your skin will begin peeling and the swelling will go down.
Generally, it can take up to 7-14 days for your skin to heal completely – this is when full results of the peel are noticed and new, smooth skin is revealed.
Fraxel Dual Laser Treatment
The Fraxel Dual laser treatment is a non-ablative and non-invasive skin resurfacing treatment that improves skin hydration, texture, tone, and appearance.
The treatment uses two lasers to deliver energy to different depths—superficial and deeper layers of the skin. This helps to stimulate collagen production while removing unwanted material from the surface of your skin and deep within your pores—such as dry, dead skin cells.
The treatment typically lasts around 30 minutes and feels like rubber bands snapping against the skin.
Results are usually noticeable after a week and will last for weeks. With repeat treatments (3 to 6 are recommended), you will notice a decrease in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pore size as well.
Downtime is usually three to five days, depending on the depth of the treatment. You will notice some redness and swelling in the treatment area for a few days following treatment, along with the peeling of old, dead skin. Once the dead skin sloughs off, healthy, hydrated, and radiant skin will appear.
Microdermabrasion uses crystals or a diamond-tipped applicator to gently exfoliate the top layer of skin, removing a buildup of dead skin cells. By removing the dry, rough skin on top, this treatment reveals the soft, smooth, and radiant skin underneath. And moisturizers will be better able to penetrate the skin and work more effectively.
Microdermabrasion stimulates the skin’s production of collagen and increases blood flow to the skin cells, providing oxygen and nutrients to the skin, and resulting in improved texture and elasticity.
The treatment takes about 30 minutes, depending on the areas being treated, and there is no discomfort.
This non-invasive treatment also requires no downtime, but you should avoid the sun and wear high SPF sunscreen for several days after treatment.
Though you will notice improved texture and appearance after one treatment, three to six treatments are typically recommended for optimal results. And you may wish to continue treatments to maintain healthy-looking skin.
Hydrating Facial (Tosoni MD’s Double Diamond Facial)
A hydrating facial like Tosoni MD’s Double Diamond Facial is the ultimate clinical facial treatment using potent anti-aging skin care products to treat, correct, nourish, moisturize, and re-energize dry, aging and sun-damaged skin.
- Includes: A gentle chemical peel + microdermabrasion.
- Duration: 1hr 30min
If you suffer from irritating dry skin, there are many effective treatments available to provide relief. For more information about the best treatments to help with skin dryness, contact Dr. Tosoni.
Dr. Caroline Tosoni pursued her Medical Degree at McMaster University and completed her post-graduate medical residency in Family Medicine through the University of Ottawa in 1998. Fluently bilingual in French and English, she opened her medical practice in Ottawa in July of 1998. Since 2000, Dr. Tosoni has focused her medical practice on Cosmetic Dermatology and has received extensive training and obtained multiple certifications in various medical cosmetic enhancement procedures such as Phlebology, Botox® Cosmetic, Dermal Fillers, SoftLift,™ BeautiPhication,™ Belkyra injections, CoolSculpting,™ Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Laser Medicine. Dr. Caroline Tosoni is also proficient in the treatment of Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and Migraine Headaches with Botox® Therapeutic. In 2015, Dr. Tosoni’s practice officially received a Focused Practice in Dermatology designation by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ontario Medical Association.