While we say goodbye to winter, you may also be saying buh-bye to your dry skin woes. But don't get too excited yet..

Dry skin care facts you didn't know

Winter is when skin dryness becomes most acute because of the cold and dry weather outside and the dry air from heating systems indoors. But while you may think we're finally getting over the dry winter air hump, in reality, skin dehydration is a concern year-round that spans all ages for both women and men. It’s easy to ignore itchy skin—and for those of us who have it worse, flaking red skin—for just an irritation that doesn’t have any real implications, but we enlisted two experts to help you understand why you need to take your dry skin a bit more seriously.

So, without further delay, here are four facts you didn't know about dry skin.

1. Dry Skin Acts Like Aging Skin

“In addition to being a cosmetic concern,” says Dr. Katie Rodan, MD, a Stanford University trained dermatologist and co-founder of Rodan + Fields, who also has a practice in the San Francisco Bay area, “dry skin behaves like old skin. When skin is dry, cell turnover slows down, causing a buildup of dead cells in the stratum corneum [the outermost layer of our skin]. This negatively impacts the skin’s barrier function. Moisture leaks out of the skin and irritants have an easier time gaining access, causing inflammation, and the vicious cycle perpetuates. Dryness by itself sets up this cycle. Changes in specific protein markers in dry skin are similar to those found in aged skin.”

"When the barrier function is compromised, it’s more susceptible to damage,"adds Cristina Ramirez, an RVB Skinlab Canadian Master Trainer and director of Gina’s College of Advanced Aesthetics. "In other words, the skin is more prone to wrinkles and aging when it is dry—dry skin causes premature aging.”

2. Moisturizer Doesn't Work as Well on Dry Skin

"The drier skin is, ironically, the less able it is to take in hydration,” explains Dr. Rodan. This is because the buildup of dead skin cells in the stratum corneum makes it thicker and less able to absorb topical ingredients. “Think of dry skin like a dry sponge. Add a little water to the surface and it just sits there. Add a little water to a wet sponge and it goes right in.”

“Dry skin has dead, flaky cells at the surface that will prevent product absorption,” says Ramirez. “Exfoliate with a sugar scrub to remove the dead cells at the surface so that moisturizing products can penetrate and rehydrate the skin.” Try RVB Skinlab Jelly Scrub, an effective exfoliant with sugar crystals to slough off skin cells and organic dandelion nectar and orange blossom that are rich in iron, Vitamin C and antioxidants. These added ingredients nourish and revitalize the skin, unlike older-generation cosmetic exfoliants that stripped the skin of moisture, explains Ramirez.

Finally, Dr. Rodan adds, “Your moisturizer will also work better if you apply it immediately after the shower."

3. Drinking Water Doesn't Moisturize the Skin

Contrary to popular belief, “It’s a myth that drinking eight glasses of water a day will enhance your skin’s moisture levels,” says Dr. Rodan. “Instead ambient humidity in your environment plays a huge role. In dry climates, using a humidifier in your house will make a significant difference.” Dr. Rodan also recommends switching to a heavier moisturizer and eye cream when the weather is crisper and drier.

Dry skin lacks the natural hydrolipidic film (a.k.a. good oils) and natural barrier on the surface that prevents transepidermal water loss (basically water loss through the epidermis). “To rehydrate, we need to limit transepidermal water loss using ingredients that form a protective layer on the surface and reinforce the lipid barrier,” says Ramirez.

Ramirez recommends looking for ceramides in your products. These natural lipids attract water and bind it to the skin for hydration. This stimulates the skin to produce more moisture-retaining substances with ingredients like the hydra-gene complex found in RVB Skinlab’s moisturizing treatment protocol. “This produces lipids, sugars and components essential to binding water to skin, so your skin can hold onto more moisture.”

Ingredients that Dr. Rodan touts as ultimate hydrators are peptides, glycerine and hyaluronic acid. “High concentration of glycerin in a product provides the most effective hydration," she says. This is aso the hero ingredient in the new serum for Rodan + Fields.

4. Your Dryness Could Be Symptomatic of a Deeper Issue

Although dryness is common, it’s important to decipher regular dermatitis from other medical skin conditions. “Dry skin can also be associated with an underlying medical condition called atopic dermatitis,” says Dr. Rodan, “also known as eczema, for which there is a genetic component.”

Skin diseases such as eczema, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis are not curable by cosmetics and require medical treatment,” says Ramirez. But some precautions to take if this is the case include using dermatologically tested products to prevent allergy and irritation and use only pure products.

What do we mean by “pure”? This means products free of parabens, paraffin, mineral oil, ethylene glycol, phthalates, triclosan, heavy metals, solvents, fillers and other ingredients that could be skin irritants.

Finally, Ramirez says “maintaining the skin’s hydration levels is important to preventing further flare-ups.” By nurturing the skin with skin-safe ingredients that are normally found in healthy skin, you can manage these diseases and live a healthy life.

Have eczema scars you're looking to treat? See our Ask the Expert column on how to minimize the appearance of eczema scars.