How to get rid of dry skin

Dry skin can be downright annoying anywhere on your body but if it’s on your face it’s a different story – it goes from being annoying to a super frustrating problem that needs to be solved ASAP. Before getting into how to fix this in the fastest way possible it’s important to identify if your skin cells really are dry or if you are inadvertently causing your dry skin through the products you use or your skin care routine and how you wash your face.

dry skin face

Normal or combination skin that’s masquerading as dry skin

If you find that your skin is dry after washing your face but gets oily later on, it’s more likely it’s that the products you are using are too harsh for your skin or you are washing your face too often.

If this is the case for you then choosing natural skin care products wherever possible and avoiding products like foaming cleansers, which contain surfactants that strip skin of its natural oil, are the way to go. This is because your skin naturally produces an oil-like substance called sebum which makes up your acid mantle. Your acid mantle is a thin oil layer that protects your skin from environmental damage. Once this is removed (by harsh cleansing products) your skin is going to produce more oil to replace it –  for those of us with oily skin this is a scary thought as more oil is never a good thing (no thank you breakouts!)

Likewise, if you are washing your face more than twice a day, using hot water to wash your face or having really long showers (where does the time go!) this can also be stripping away your skin’s natural oil layer.

How to get rid of dry skin that’s not really dry skin:

  • Limit washing your face to twice a day and when you do use lukewarm water
  • Use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin’s acid mantle – it’s natural protection!
  • After cleansing apply a nourishing moisturiser to your skin

dry skin wash face

Now that we’ve got that out of the way if this isn’t you and your skin’s dry 24/7 you’re in luck too as there are ways to manage it!

What is dry skin?

Dry skin is typically characterised by its flaky appearance, which feels rough to the touch where the skin’s surface has cracked. That’s what it looks like on the outside but on the inside, the skin cells are unable to maintain their normal 10-30% of water content which leads them to shrivel and the “glue” that once connected them no longer does.

Dry skin is caused by a number of factors from the genes you inherited from your parents to the damage caused to your skin from the environment and the climate in which you live. These factors affect the integrity of your skin causing its once smooth and supple texture to become dry and flaky.

dry skin flaky

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How to get rid of dry skin and prevent it from coming back

To keep the water content of your skin at its optimum levels try out the tips below to lock moisture in:

When showering

  • Try to limit your showers to 5 to 10 minutes (If possible!)
  • Shower using warm as opposed to hot water
  • If you have dry skin on your legs, reduce the frequency of shaving your legs (if possible!)
  • Pat yourself dry with a towel as opposed to rubbing
  • Reduce water loss through the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) by applying moisturiser immediately after drying.

In your environment

  • If it’s practical for you, invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
  • Avoid places where air conditioning is used excessively (unless this is your work as you can’t really avoid that! But if you can move desks to somewhere where this is less of a problem it’s ideal)
  • Avoid wearing clothes that can irritate your skin – for example, wool
  • If you get dry skin on your hands, wear gloves outside in winter and when washing dishes (or use your dry skin as an excuse to get out of this!)

Choosing skincare products

  • Use gentle skin care products that allow your skin to retain its acid mantle (natural oil layer) without stripping it away
  • Avoid skincare products which have fragrance or parfum listed as an ingredient as they can cause dry skin
  • Use a moisturising ointment or cream that contains natural oils which absorb into the skin – for example, jojoba or olive oil
  • Avoid washing with soap and use a moisturising body wash instead
  • Keep a tube of moisturiser with you so you can reapply during the day if needed

dry skin moisturise

The best skincare products for dry skin

Using gentle and nourishing products that are formulated for dry skin or sensitive skin are your best bet.

Use a cream cleanser as opposed to a gel cleanser, which can often contain ingredients that are surfactants. You can tell if yours does as these are ones that usually foam and can strip your skin’s natural oil in the cleansing process. Using harsh cleansing products that strip away your skin’s natural acid mantle aren’t good for oily skin let alone dry skin where the more oil our skin cells produce the better. Whereas cleansing with a natural oil and water based cleanser removes dirt and excess oil without drying skin.

Choose a moisturiser that locks in your skin’s moisture and provides vitamins and minerals that nourish skin cells. Watch out for the moisturisers that are formulated for dry skin but contain petroleum products, often labelled as mineral oil on ingredient lists. These are by-products of petrol and shouldn’t be anywhere near your skin (yes this does mean ditch your bottle of Vaseline!) so choose your moisturiser carefully.

To check out our range of skincare products formulated for dry skin check out our online store – if you have dry skin the Rosehip & Chia Moisturiser is a perfect match. Or to learn how changing your diet can help dry skin then read Go from flaky to smooth skin by adding these 5 foods to your diet.

If you loved this article and want a more in-depth look at the research surrounding dry skin head to the sources of this article: The American Academy of dermatology, Harvard Medical School Health Publications and the New Zealand Dermatological Society.

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