While winters in Arizona are typically not that cold, they can be challenging when it comes to taking care of your skin. The colder weather combined with lack of moisturizing, over exfoliating, and using too hot of water can lead to very dry skin.

Megan Routt, registered nurse with Derma Health Skin and Laser, spoke with AZ Big Media about tips and tricks to heal the dry skin on your face or body.

AZ Big Media: What are your recommendations for people who have dry skin?

Megan Routt: We typically get dry skin in the winter months because we have less humidity in our air and living in Arizona, we have a drier climate naturally, but there’s many different reasons why people can have dry skin, whether it’s skin conditions like eczema, and eczema can be flared in the winter or medications.

There’s lot of different ways you can treat dry skin, what a lot of people don’t realize is in the winter months when it’s colder, when we hop in the shower and the water’s really warm, you’re losing deep dermal water, which is in your skin layer, and that leads to drier skin; then you get out of the shower and you lose that deep dermal water, then you towel off and you lose more water, so then your skin is left very dry.

The best time to apply a moisturizer is fresh out of the shower while your skin is still damp, that is going to create an occlusive barrier to keep the moisture into your skin. Also we tend to use very harsh soaps or exfoliants while we’re in the shower like brushes or loofahs, you really don’t need to use anything like that in the winter months, the water will remove a lot of the debris and dead skin and dirt on the surface layer of our skin, and we typically don’t sweat as much in the winter, so in the folds, so underneath your arms, you would use more a creamy soap rather than just a dry soap that will lessen the stripping of your skin.

ABM: What are your recommendations for combination skin, such as dry and sensitive?

MR: In the winter months specifically if you have acneic skin, you can still have dry skin, having acne doesn’t necessarily mean you have oily skin, so using a moisturizer is very important. A lot of people think the drier the better when it comes to acne and that’s not true, even if your skin is peeling and very flaky, even using an occlusive, something like an Aquaphor on the very dry patches, will not cause more breakouts, sometimes it can cause irritation if you use too much,  but just making sure your skin is staying moist and applying moisturizer throughout the day.

You can apply moisturizer to your face about 3 to 4 times a day if you’re very dry in certain areas, a lot of times with acneic skin it can get very dry on the forehead so making sure that they’re applying enough moisturizer to that area to keep it hydrated so the skin isn’t having to produce more oil to make up for it.

ABM: What are your recommendations for how people can keep their skin healthy if they’re wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time?

MR: When it comes to mask wearing, I’m a big fan of the disposable masks. When it comes to washing masks, you’re going to want to hand wash them using a light antibacterial soap. A lot of people wash them with their clothes thinking that’s going to get them clean, but you want to wash them separately in the sink and clean with an antibacterial soap because masks can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

I’m a fan of disposable masks or just hand-washing your mask and washing them after each use, that will help prevent any sort of breakouts on the lower face and not applying makeup. There’s no need to apply makeup to your lower face, just make sure you have Chapstick on because again it’s winter, so our lips tend to chap easily and skipping makeup on the lower face and just putting makeup on the eyes and eyebrows is all you need.

Maskne is a thing and I think it has to do with how clean the mask is. I know for myself, I was using a homemade mask for a long time and I noticed I was breaking out and I realized the mask is holding in that bacteria; so as someone like me who suffers from cystic acne, I work better with using a disposable mask daily so I don’t have all that breakout and bacteria. When you breathe out that Co2, it has moisture in it and the moisture sits on the face and that moisture can cause breakouts because it’s just sitting there, it has nowhere to go.

ABM: What are some product recommendations, at home or store bought, ingredients that can help people treat some of these skin concerns, acne or dryness?

MR: When it comes to the body, when you get out of the shower, apply a generous amount of body moisturizer to your skin, the thicker the better, so something with shea butter in it and something that’s not going to irritate your skin.

For the face, again, a thicker moisturizer would be really important, one of my favorites is the Hydrating Moisturizer by Skin Script, it comes in a tub too and I use it on my body as well and SkinScripts has another moisturizer called Cacteen Balancing Moisturizer, that’s the moisturizer I recommend for clients on their face if they have combo skin. The product can adjust to how much water is in the skin and release as much moisturizer as it needs, the product is a very smart product, so the product will balance out your skin according to what your skin is like when you apply the product.

ABM: Why do you think it’s important for people to take pride in self-care and take care of themselves and their skin?

MR: There’s a reason when you’re on an airplane that they tell you to put your mask first because you can only help people if you’re healthy and you’re safe and you’re taking care of you. Your skin is the biggest organ in your body and if you have very dry skin it can be a symptom of other things so if these tips and tricks are not working you need to go see a medical professional, because sometimes it can be an underlying health condition.

So taking care of your skin is very important, and dry skin hurts, it’s painful, it can cause cracking, it can cause infection, so it’s important to keep your skin hydrated in order to retain the water that’s within your body. In Arizona, it’s helpful to have a cool mist humidifier, humidity is very good for your skin, your hair, your body in general to have that extra little bit of moisture so keeping a cool mist humidifier in your home will really help your skin on a day-to-day basis.