Avera Medical Minute: The best time to moisturize dry skin

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If you're noticing dry skin during these cold winter months, you're not alone. Winter can be brutal for our skin.

lotion on hands

Megan Pickner knows all about dry skin. She's an Avera charge nurse. She frequently uses hand sanitizer and washes her hands at work every day, hundreds of times each day and it takes a toll on her skin.

"You can tell when the cold weather comes, especially up here with the hand sanitizer, and the frequent use of that, we're dealing with more cracked skin than general," said Pickner.

The cold dry weather affects all ages. "I have young girls that are seen at the dermatologist for dry skin so, we know that in the cold weather, it really ramps up around our house," said Pickner.

Avera Dermatologist Dr. Wesley Fletcher says we could be drying out our skin further, and not even know it. "We also like to be warm and so we do things like take hot showers and hot baths and those things strip the skin of the natural moisture that we have," said Dr. Fletcher.

Doctor Fletcher says it doesn't have to be expensive when it comes to moisturizing your skin. A simple as a tube of petroleum jelly, for just a few dollars, can do a great job.

"Try to replace the moisture by using a topical product within two minutes of getting out of the shower or bath. That's the time when your skin is most likely to absorb the product," said Dr. Fletcher.

And even though it's winter, don't forget the sunscreen. "So I've seen some awesome sunburns from patients coming in with blistering sunburns from shoveling snow for a while because you're getting the reflection off the snow and the sun as well so it's kind of like being on the water," said Dr. Fletcher.

Take moisturizers with you wherever you go. "Keep the product with you that you're using, the vaseline or whatever you're using during the day, that helps too," said Dr. Fletcher.

Staying hydrated will help your skin retain moisture.