Frustrated with your dry skin? Do you want to improve it? You’re not alone.
Many people suffer from cracked or flaky skin and find that it’s easily irritated by normal skincare products. If you’re worried that your dry skin may be prone to flakiness after cleansing, you’re not alone.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with the discomfort of dry skin. The key to managing it is to treat it gently while moisturizing and taking care of it consistently. Maintaining a solid dry skincare routine with products designed for your specific skin type will help you achieve the dewy look you want.
Causes and Symptoms of Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, you know it — mostly because you probably experience symptoms such as flaking or cracking skin. After you wash your face, it may feel tight and dull.
So why does your skin react this way? Well, there are several different causes for dry skin, some of which you can take care of by yourself. Other causes, like genetics, mean that you’ll be susceptible to dry skin no matter what you do — but you can manage it with a consistent daily routine.
Unfortunately, dry skin runs in families. If your parents have dry skin, chances are you do too. Genetics is a major cause of dry skin in a lot of people.
There’s no cure for the genetic causes of dry skin. Instead, there are specific products created to help sensitive dry skin get more moisture.
2. Lifestyle or Bad Habits
Sometimes lifestyle habits impact your skin conditions. Some bad habits to change that may be drying out your skin include:
Hot water: When you wash with water that’s too hot, it makes your skin even drier than it already is.
Sun exposure: UV rays from the sun damage your skin — no matter what type of skin you have. However, UV rays are also drying, which can make naturally dry skin worse.
Dehydration: Your skin is an organ just like your heart or lungs. And just like the rest of your body, it’s mostly made of water. Not drinking enough H20 means there’s less water in your system, which also dries out your skin.
Incorrect formulas: Skincare products are formulated with different ingredients according to skin type. If you’re washing your face with a cleanser made for normal or oily skin, it will likely be too drying for yours.
Dry air: If you live in the desert, or have central heating in the winter, chances are the air you breathe is lacking humidity which makes it too dry for your skin.
3. Medical Conditions
There are a number of medical conditions that can lead to dry skin as well. Diabetes is one common dry-skin promoter, as are certain vitamin deficiencies and skin conditions. Treating the illness is important when trying to curb side effects for dry skin. However, you may need products to treat the side effects as well.
Dry Skin Dos and Don’ts
These tips for treating dry skin will help you add moisture to your skin, both inside and out. Make sure that each step (as appropriate) is added to your morning and evening routines for the best skin care results.
Do: Drink Water
Hydrate from the inside! With enough water in your body, your skin will be able to plump up a bit. All of your bodily systems need plenty of water, so don’t skimp here.
The way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is if your urine is a pale yellow or almost clear color. If it’s darker than that, you probably need to drink more.
Do: Humidify (if necessary)
Hydrate from the outside too. Check your home’s humidity levels. If your air is too dry (and you don’t have a whole-house humidifier), buy cool-air humidifiers that are sized for the rooms you spend time in.
If you live in a humid climate, this step might not be necessary, or it may only be needed in the winter when the heat comes on.
Do: Moisturize the Right Way
Drying your skin thoroughly and then putting on moisturizer is the wrong way to go!
Instead, leave your skin a little bit damp and then apply moisturizer to your face as well as lotion or body cream to the rest of your skin. This helps to seal the water into your skin for ultimate moisture.
Do: Treat and Exfoliate Gently
Deep treatments (with products made for sensitive skin care) will help all the layers of your skin heal. Gentle exfoliants get rid of the dry, top layers of skin, which often reveal glowing skin underneath.
It’s important to use a gentle exfoliator for dry skin that won’t tug or scratch it. That means no apricot pits or walnut shells or anything else with irregular edges.
Chemical exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids can be very effective, but with your dry skin you ‘ll need to limit your use (instead of using every night).
Do: Slather on the Sunscreen
Don’t skimp on the sun protection either. Apply plenty and be patient while you rub it in. And don’t forget to protect your dry scalp from the sun with a hat. You can also look into clothing that’s SPF-rated for more protection when out in the sun.
Do: Use the Right Formulas in Your Skincare Routine
Your skin needs products designed specifically for dry or sensitive skin care. These may be thicker than those for other skin types.
You also need compounds that are gentle. Anti-acne formulas, for example, are often too harsh for skin that needs a milder touch.
Don’t: Take Long Showers with Hot Water
Spending too long in the shower, ironically, dries your skin out instead of hydrating it. Hot water is also drying, so try to keep your water temperature at lukewarm or lower.
Don’t: Rub Your Face with a Towel
When drying off, pat your face with a towel instead of rubbing it. Rubbing it can create harsh exfoliation which dries out and irritates sensitive skin.
Patting dry will also help you leave your skin damp enough to apply moisturizer and seal it in.
Don’t: Use Products with Alcohol
Since alcohol is naturally drying, using these formulas won’t do you any favors. There are many skincare products made with it, like those acne formulas mentioned above, so make sure you read the ingredients list and stick to the sensitive skin care side of the aisle.
A Daily Dry Skin Face Care Routine
When you use products specifically formulated for dry skin face care, you’ll find you get better results than if you don’t pay attention to your skin type.
Here’s an example of a simple daily skincare routine for dry skin that you can do consistently to improve the appearance and health of your face.
1. Gently Cleanse
You don’t need to overwash or lather your cleanser up too much to clean dry skin. Instead, just use just a small amount of cleanser that is formulated for dry or sensitive skin each morning and night.
2. Spot Treat with Toner
Since toner can sometimes be drying (especially for skin that is already dry), applying a small amount where you tend to have blemishes or breakouts is best for dry skin.
It’s important to also make sure you’re using a toner designed for dry skin face care.
While your skin is still damp, put on your dry skin moisturizer.
You can also layer serums and creams for additional hydration (which will help to lock in moisture as well). Hyaluronic acid is an excellent dewiness booster too.
4. Apply Sunscreen
Consider the weather and how much exposure you’ll have to the sun when choosing which SPF sunscreen to apply. Bear in mind that the sun's rays can still be damaging even on cloudy days, so don’t skip just because it looks overcast outside.
5. Exfoliate and Hydrate
A gentle exfoliating product and a deep hydrating face mask can be included as part of a weekly routine (or more often if your skin can handle it). As always with dry skin face care — don’t overdo the exfoliation.
The Top Dry Face Skin Care Products
Once you’ve got the dos and don’ts of your dry face skincare routine down, make sure that you’re using the best products designed for your skin type to get the most out of your routine.
Dry Skin Cleanser
The first step in your daily routine is to make sure your face is free of dirt and grime.
To do this, use a cleanser that isn’t too harsh on your skin but is designed to restore moisture while gently removing dirt and makeup from your face. Coconut water can create an effective yet gentle cleansing formula.
Powerful Moisturizer for Dry Skin
Pick a moisturizer that is thicker than most. Apply it every day (morning and night).
Gentle is the word you’re looking for when it comes to exfoliation (in addition to hydration). Try an exfoliant with coconut water which can help manage breakouts too.
Now that you’ve got the right products and the right routine for your dry skin type, you’re ready for your skin glow-up! Taking care of your skin now will ensure that it keeps its moisture and elasticity as it ages.