How to Develop a Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Dry skin? We can help. Here's how to develop a dry skin routine that works

Here's what needs to be a part of your skincare routine if you have dry skin

Having regularly dry skin is no fun—often, it can be itchy, flaky, and even painful! Dealing with dry skin requires special care and caution, particularly when buying new products to treat your dry skin. There are many cleansers, creams, and lotions that are specially marketed toward people with dry skin, and trying to choose the best ones for your skin’s needs can feel a little daunting. However, with a little research and preparation, you can select the best moisturizer and other products and create an effective skincare routine that benefits your dry skin.

What Steps Should I Have in A Skincare Routine for Dry Skin?

The two main focuses of a skincare routine for dry skin should be cleansing and moisturizing.

When selecting a cleanser, it is best to look for one that aims to cleanse and moisturize at the same time. A gentle, non-foaming cleanser will be strong enough to remove excess dirt and grime without disrupting your skin’s sensitive top layer and creating more dryness. Extra moisturizing properties will ensure your skin is getting plenty of hydration during your whole skincare routine.

After cleansing, it is important to apply a moisturizer. A good moisturizer for dry skin should be lightweight. It should also contain ingredients that aim to not only moisturize, but also create an added layer of protection over the skin to lock in that added moisture all day.

The final step of your daytime skincare routine is to apply a sunscreen. Dry skin is already flaky and irritated, and excessive exposure to harsh UV rays can worsen the appearance and feeling of dry skin. Taking a moment to apply a layer of a lightweight sunscreen can protect your skin and prevent even bigger skin issues from forming in the future.

How Do I Implement My Dry Skin Skincare Routine?

When applying moisturizers, it is best to wait until your skin is moist before applying. A good time to do this is within three minutes of exiting a warm bath or shower. This ensures that your pores have been opened up by the heat, allowing the moisturizers to sink into the skin. The moisturizers also lock in their own moisturizing properties as well as those provided from your shower if applied in a timely fashion. However, you must approach hot showers with caution—extended exposure to hot water can cause the skin to dry out even more. Limiting your time in a hot shower or bath is the most beneficial way to complement your skincare routine for dry skin.

What Skincare Products Should I Avoid If I Have Dry Skin?

There are certain products and ingredients you should avoid if you suffer from dry skin. Firstly, people trying to care for dry skin should avoid products containing alcohol. This may seem silly, but it’s true—even though alcohol is a notorious dehydrator, it is a common ingredient found in many creams, lotions, and balms. It is best to scan the ingredients list in any product and skip over the ones that claim to soothe dry skin but also contain alcohol. In the end, these ingredients will cause skin to dry out more rather than feel any moisturization.

It is also best to avoid products that claim to be oil-free. The ultimate goal of a skincare routine for people with dry skin is to not only cleanse the skin, but also to seal in moisture to help prevent more dry, flaky patches from occurring. Oil-free products such as lightweight moisturizers don’t provide that final step of sealing in all the hydrating goodness of your skincare products.

Products that have exfoliating properties should also be avoided. Exfoliants serve to remove excess debris from the skin, but when your skin is already overly dry and flaky, this can create excess irritation. It may seem like a good idea to use an exfoliant to slough away excess flaky, dead skin, but it is a counterproductive move. When the skin becomes overly irritated, it can dry out more and produce more flaky, scaly patches.

What Else Can I Do to Boost the Effectiveness of My Skincare Routine?

People with dry skin can add other things to their routines to benefit their skin’s health.

People with dry skin should make sure they are hydrating themselves properly. Rather than reaching for a juice or soda when you feel thirsty, opt for water instead. Getting your recommended eight glasses of water per day is an excellent way to help your dry skin feel less irritated and flaky.

During the colder, dryer months, updating your routine for winter and using a humidifier in your home can help your skin retain some of the moisture it would have normally lost due to the drier environment. While this wouldn’t be possible to use everywhere, running it to your home can add lots of moisture back into the air and back into your dry skin.

Choosing to eat foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help moisturize skin. Foods containing high levels of Omega-3s include cold water fish such as salmon, nuts such as walnuts, and flax seeds.

Using cold compresses to fight the urge to scratch can also make a big difference in the skin’s appearance. Dry skin and flakiness typically leads to the temptation to scratch at the uncomfortable sensation, but scratching only makes things worse—not only does the skin look red and irritated, but it can also be scratched to the point of becoming raw and open. Using a cold compress on particularly itchy spots can stop the urge to scratch before it turns into a more serious issue.

Resources — ShareCare, Byrdie, MedicineNet

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