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Dry Skin Remedies That Work Every Time

Because caring for dry skin requires so much more than moisturizer alone…

From knowing what kind of showers can damage dry skin to understanding the rules when it comes to barrier-bothering skincare ingredients, here are 10 tried-and-trusted ways to win the dry skin war.

1. Use Hydrating AND Moisturizing Skincare

Moisturizing dry skin is a given, but did you know the type of moisturizer you choose can make a huge difference? And we’re not simply talking about going for rich creams over lightweight gels (again, a given) because it's more than this – it's what’s inside that counts.

The best moisturizers for dry skin should include a combination of hydrating ingredients (aka humectants), as well as moisturizing ingredients (aka emollients and occlusives) which help lock water into the skin. Our favorite humectants are glycerin, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera, which draw water to the skin’s surface. Meanwhile, some of the best moisturizing ingredients include jojoba oil, shea butter and squalane. The good news is our Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer contains the best of both worlds, making it an awesome choice for dry skin.

2. Protect Your Skin From The Wind

Windy conditions are terribly drying on your skin, so if you’re outside on a blustery day, make sure you cover up any and all areas of exposed skin. Wear gloves in winter and wrap a large scarf around your face to protect your cheeks.

3. Rethink Your Laundry Routine

Dry skin on your body is often caused by irritating laundry detergents, so if this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to reassess the products you use to wash your clothes and bed linen. First up, choose fragrance-free formulations and avoid common preservatives like methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and benzisothiazolinone. Mouthfuls much?

Also steer clear of fabric softeners and dryer sheets, and stick with liquid rather than powder formulations. Why so? Because liquids leave less soap residue on your clothing. To be doubly sure, rinse your laundry twice after washing.

4. Don’t Over-Dry Your Skin

After cleansing, never scrub away with a towel in an attempt to dry your skin to within an inch of its life. Not only can vigorous towel-drying potentially damage your skin’s super important barrier function, but it will also remove every last drop of water your skin actually wants to keep. Instead, gently pat your skin dry with a clean, soft towel, then immediately apply your moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp. Even better, apply Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum first for an extra boost of hydration, then lock it all in with your face cream.

5. Avoid Open Fires

This may sound like parental advice given to a small child, but sitting too close to a fire or, in fact, any kind of heat source will suck all the moisture from your skin, making it feel even more dry and dehydrated than normal.

If you’re feeling the cold, stay warm by wrapping up with extra clothing, but try to sit a few extra feet away from direct heat.

6. Turn Down Your Heating

Speaking of warmth, make sure your house isn’t too hot. Forced air heat reduces the levels of moisture in the air, which adds an extra level of stress to your skin, decreasing moisture and essential lipids, and potentially leading to sensitivities and peeling.

Keep your thermostat at a comfortable 67 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and turn it off, or at least down to 57, at night. This is especially important if you suffer with eczema, which is susceptible to temperature changes and a reduction in humidity. 

7. Exfoliate, For Real

Dry skin types often avoid exfoliation, thinking it will cause further dryness and redness. But it’s actually an important step in any skincare routine. Dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, whatever your skin type, and if you already have dryness, this can make flaking and dullness even worse.

The answer isn't to scrub your skin daily, but to gently encourage exfoliation with a treatment serum or toner that contains exfoliating acids like lactic or glycolic acid. These acids work by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells so they’re able to shed more easily.

After cleansing, try our Ocean Minerals Super Toner, which contains glycolic acid to encourage cell turnover, plus hydrating aloe vera and botanical oils for extra moisturization.

8. Take Shorter, Cooler Showers

Hot showers and long soaks in the bath might feel fabulous, but they’re bad news for dry skin. Hot water melts away your skin’s essential lipids, impairing your barrier function and resulting in dry, dehydrated skin. And when you add bubble bath or highly fragranced cleansers into the mix? Disaster.

Stick with lukewarm showers and baths, and keep them short so you minimize your exposure to water. Oh, and you know that hot tub you love? One word: chlorine. Don’t even go there.

9. Check Your Skincare Ingredients

For all the good ingredients to look out for in your skincare products, there are also plenty to avoid. Synthetic fragrances and dyes, for a start, are major no-nos, as are sulfates, parabens, soy and gluten, which are all common allergens that can cause dryness and sensitivities.

Alcohol is also extremely drying on your skin. But, and it’s a big but, not all alcohols are created equal. Cetyl and stearyl alcohols, for example, are very skin-friendly and unlike the big bad alcohol denat (which you should DEFINITELY avoid), cetyl and stearyl alcohols help keep your skin moisturized by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

Our Retinol Moisturizer avoids all the bad stuff but is packed with humectants and emollients, as well as a touch of cetyl alcohol, making it a great choice for anyone with dry skin who wants to dip their toes into the awesome powers of retinol

10. Invest In A Humidifier

Forced air heat and air conditioning both create a serious lack of moisture in the air, which actively sucks water out of your skin. But this is easily rectified by buying a plug-in humidifier for your home. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a humidifier is one of the best ways to level-up your skincare routine and create extra moisture for skin to lap up.

Of course, buying one for every room in your house is a little excessive, but do get one for your bedroom, as this is the room you spend most of your time in. Set it to somewhere between 40 and 60 percent for the perfect humidity sweet spot. Trust us, your skin will love this extra moisture in the air while it repairs and rejuvenates itself overnight.

Of course, if your skin is in seriously dry shape, seek help from a skincare professional. But in the meantime, hopefully some or all of these tips will help you create a little bit of harmony for your skin.

 

 

 

 

 

About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.