When it comes to dry skin, you’ve probably been overwhelmed with options. There are moisturizers to nourish and hydrate, serums to penetrate deep into the skin and soothe irritation, masks loaded with natural ingredients (or not), and everything in between. We’re here to help you sort through all these options by telling you exactly what makes some products better than others—and why there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dry skin when it comes to finding a moisturizer that actually works for your specific needs.
You’re Still in the Shower.
Let’s be real for a second: Moisturizing in the shower is a myth. Just because it feels good to have lather surround your skin and then rinse off doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is actually beneficial to your skin. The steam from the hot water will promote more sweat, which can cause irritation and inflammation on your face. If you’re interested in maintaining proper moisture levels, you should moisturize after getting out of the shower rather than during it.
Before doing any type of facial routine—including exfoliating or toning—it’s important to make sure nothing else has been applied beforehand that could cause irritation or discomfort. A lot of people don’t realize this, but moisturizing while still wet after a shower can also lead to breakouts due to excess oil production caused by exposure to harsh chemicals found within many body washes or soaps (which often contain sodium laureth sulfate).
You’re Taking Hot Showers.
Taking hot showers, especially if you have dry skin, can be a big mistake. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils and makes them unable to protect your body from harmful UV rays. Hot water also dries out the surface layer of your skin so that it becomes red and irritated. Try taking warm showers instead—if you can’t stand the cold water, use a shower cap or put on an extra layer of clothes while you’re getting ready in the morning (this will help keep in some heat). If that doesn’t work for you, take baths instead! best mascara
You’re Not Using Cleanser Correctly.
You’re not using your cleanser correctly.
Yes, it’s true—the way you use your cleanser can have a significant impact on how well it works for you. When you’re cleaning your face, consider what kind of product you’re using and how much dirt and oil are in the products themselves. If there is makeup or sunscreen on your skin, then yes! Your cleanser can remove that for the most part (though some waterproof formulas will take more effort). But if it’s a skin care product like an exfoliant or toner? Well… sorry to burst your bubble but no: those should be washed off by water alone.
So how do I wash my face?
You’re Overdoing It with Exfoliation.
If you’re regularly using a scrub or exfoliating product, it’s possible that you may have over-exfoliated. By introducing more dead skin cells into your body, these products can cause more damage than they’re worth.
If your skin is feeling tight or flaky after moisturizing, it’s probably a good idea to cut back on the exfoliation for a bit. After all, dry skin isn’t something that needs to be treated immediately—it’s better to take things slow until the root cause of this problem becomes clear.
You’re Not Giving the Moisturizer Enough Time to Sink In.
One of the most important things to consider for your skincare routine is how long it takes for your moisturizer to absorb into your skin. This is because if you use one that doesn’t soak in well, then it’ll just sit on top of your skin and not actually do anything!
The time it takes depends on what type of formula the moisturizer has. Water-based formulas are absorbed fast, while oil-based ones need a little bit more time as they are heavier. Emollient formulas also take longer as they have a thicker consistency that helps trap water in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin).
You’re Using a Moisturizer With Silicones.
Silicones, also known as silicone oils, are a common ingredient in moisturizers. They’re basically slippery ingredients that make your skin feel smooth and soft because they reduce friction between your skin and the outside world—but they can cause breakouts and clog pores, among other problems. “Silicones have a tendency to build up over time on the surface of the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD. “This buildup can lead to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles as well.”
The effect is similar to what happens when you use too much hairspray or body lotion—you’ll notice that the product has left behind a white residue on your face or wherever else it was applied (not cute!). While this doesn’t mean that all skin care products with silicones are bad for you (just like not all hairsprays give you dandruff), if yours does go bad after just one application, consider switching out for another brand before things get worse!
Your Moisturizer Doesn’t Have Hyaluronic Acid (or Other Hydrating Ingredients).
If you’ve been doing everything right and still have dry skin, it’s probably time to look at your moisturizer.
The first thing to look for is hyaluronic acid (HA). This powerful humectant can draw moisture from the air, helping keep your skin hydrated. It’s a natural component of skin and it’s found in foods like cucumbers, mushrooms, and tomatoes—you just aren’t eating enough of them!
HA has some other benefits too: it helps repair collagen fibers that are damaged by sun exposure or aging; protects against UV damage; reduces inflammation; helps improve healing speed after injury; treats scars caused by burns or acne; improves rosacea by reducing redness and flushing episodes; increases barrier function so that less water evaporates through the epidermis into the atmosphere (this happens when you’re dehydrated).
Your Skin Is Actually Sensitive (Not Just Dry).
Unfortunately, if your skin is sensitive, it doesn’t have to be just dry. You can have both dry and sensitive skin at the same time. In fact, you may have been experiencing this already: You might be able to moisturize and get relief from flaky or scaly patches on one hand but then notice that your other hand is red, irritated and dry after moisturizing it—even though you used the same product in both cases.
You’re Wearing Heavy Foundation Every Day.
“Wearing heavy foundation every day can make your skin feel dry and flaky,” says New York-based dermatologist Arielle Kauvar. “The ingredients in foundation are often oil-free, so they don’t help the natural moisturizing process that keeps skin hydrated.”
But a quick note: If you’re going to wear makeup at all, it’s important to choose products that won’t damage your face. “Foundation and other makeup products may clog pores, cause irritation or breakouts,” says Kauvar. “If possible, consider using water-based or mineral-based foundations instead of oils or silicones.” An easy swap would be tinted moisturizer instead of full coverage foundation—this way you’ll get some color without all the chemicals!
Your Humidifier Could Be Making It Worse.
On the flip side of the coin, there are some people whose skin gets dry even after moisturizing. If you have eczema or psoriasis, a humidifier can make your skin even drier. And if you have asthma, using a humidifier might trigger an attack. If your symptoms are worsening while using a humidifier, stop using it and talk to your doctor about how to manage your symptoms without it.
Moisturizing correctly and correctly diagnosing your skin’s needs is key to solving dry skin problems
Moisturizing is a good first step, but it’s not enough to solve your dry skin problems. If you are experiencing dry skin on your face and/or body, make sure that you’re moisturizing properly. You should also consider other factors that might be causing your dryness, like how often you wash your face or whether or not you’re eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (like salmon). Moisturizing alone won’t help if there’s another issue at play! Some examples of things you can do:
- Use the right products for your skin type—not all lotions are created equal! For example, some people with oily skin may need an oil-free moisturizer while others with dryer complexions might benefit from something heavier.
- Combination types should try using both an oil-based product during the winter months when their complexion tends toward being extra parched—this will help balance out any excess oils without drying out sensitive areas too much. Then switch over to lighter formulas when springtime rolls around again and things get hot outside; this will keep them protected without clogging pores or making their faces feel greasy.”
Hopefully, this article has helped you identify what the real problem is with your dry skin. For me, it was the hot water in my shower and the fact that I didn’t use cleanser before moisturizing! I now know how to take care of my skin, but if you’re still struggling with dryness after moisturizing or have questions about what’s causing your issue, be sure to consult a dermatologist who can help pinpoint the cause.