It’s generally the mission of anyone with a complexion to avoid dry skin at all costs. Dull dullness, embarrassing flaking, and makeup that refuses to settle on your skin in this polished way – where can we retreat? Despite your best efforts, however, dryness can occur, whether due to environment, genetics, or stress, which is why it’s a common concern. On the plus side, you can avoid it with the right diet — and Bustle reached out to a handful of dermatologists for information on the best skincare routine for dry skin.
Fighting dryness is key not only because hydrated skin looks and behaves better, but New York-based dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD says it’s also a matter of your skin’s overall health. . “Hydrated skin not only looks supple and plumped, but proper hydration allows your skin to function as a barrier and direct its energy towards repairing collagen and elastic fibers,” she explains. . “When your skin is chronically dry, it leads to something called ‘subclinical inflammation,'” she adds. This can cause the skin to age faster and make it more susceptible to allergens and irritants.
In addition to caring for your skin topically, Bowe notes that it’s also important to hydrate from the inside out. For work, she recommends drinking plenty of water or low-sugar, antioxidant-infused beverages, and eating plenty of fiber-rich vegetables — which, in addition to being full of water, help keep your gut healthy. “A healthy gut equals healthy skin,” she tells Bustle.
For your topical regimen, scroll down to see what Bowe and other derms are saying about the ideal skincare routine for dry skin.
At Bustle, we only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
1. Gently cleanse
No surprise here: any legitimate skincare routine will start with a deep cleansing of the skin. For dry skin, the ideal cleanser is one that’s gentle yet effective enough to remove dirt, oil, and makeup without drawing moisture from the skin barrier. Minneapolis-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jenny Liu, MD, likes non-foaming cream cleansers because foaming formulas tend to contain harsher surfactants like sulfates — substances added to liquids that allow them to foam and spread. more easily – which can be more drying.
According to Pittsburgh board-certified dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, you should keep your morning cleanse lighter and simpler than your afternoon wash, because nighttime is the time when you remove everything you need. what your skin has been exposed to during the day. If you want to be in addition sweet, she says you might even consider skipping cleanser in the morning and opting to splash your face with cool water instead.
2. Use chemical exfoliants (sparingly)
All of the derms Bustle has spoken to suggest caution when it comes to exfoliating acids. Still, Liu and Kansas City, Kansas-based dermatologist Dr. Chris Tomassian, MD, say dry skin can benefit from gentle chemical exfoliants, like glycolic and lactic acid, which help slough off dead skin cells. and improve dullness. If you are going to exfoliate, you can use a gentle scrub, mask, or toner after cleansing. Use them sparingly, as they can lead to dryness with excessive use (over-exfoliation is one thing). Most labels will tell you to use it once a week (or even daily), but dry skin should stick to the “less is more” philosophy.
3. Apply a serum
The next step in your daytime routine is to apply your favorite hydrating serum. Avoid harsh actives and instead look for formulas that contain hyaluronic acid, which is a popular humectant (humectants are ingredients that draw moisture from the air or deep within your skin). “Even though hyaluronic acid has the word ‘acid’ in it, it’s not an exfoliating acid — HA is a moisturizer,” Bowe told Bustle. And it’s a must-have ingredient for a dry skin care routine, not least because it works so well with so many other ingredients like ceramides. You can also opt for a vitamin C serum since the antioxidants help protect your skin from external aggressors and therefore additional dryness.
For nighttime, you can turn to retinol, another powerful ingredient you’ll find in many serums, but be sure to find one that suits your skin tone. “Retinol is known to be irritating when you have dry skin, but there are plenty of over-the-counter options that are well-tolerated and gentle,” says Tomassian. Formulas that contain moisturizing ingredients to offset irritation are ideal. Another option if you don’t want to take the risk? New York-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elyse Love, MD, suggests keeping an eye out for serums with milder retinol alternatives like bakuchiol.
Now that you’ve applied your serum, you want to follow it up with a good moisturizer. This is especially important after applying anything with hyaluronic acid. As Bowe explains, “The biggest mistake people make with HA serums is that they apply it and then forget to seal it in with moisturizer, and it can actually have the opposite effect on the skin. HA serum can pull moisture out of your skin and it can evaporate, drying out the skin Bowe prefers to add a few drops of face oil (perhaps one with squalane, a natural antioxidant that mimics oils body’s natural ingredients) to your moisturizer for extra hydration.
Liu adds to look for thick, creamy formulations with higher concentrations of occlusives, which are ingredients that create a barrier on top of the skin to lock in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss (when water of your skin passively evaporates into the external environment) . Examples include petroleum jelly, shea butter, lipids, and jojoba oil.
5. Protect with SPF throughout the day
Don’t undo all your hard work by forgetting the sunscreen. As Liu says, “Sun [exposure] is one of the main external factors that can lead to dehydrated and damaged skin. Tomassian adds that physical (mineral) or chemical sunscreens are fine, but they must have an SPF of at least 30 and be broad-spectrum. Opting for a moisturizer is even better.
5. Slug at night
If you’re really looking to pack a moisturizing punch, Zubritsky says you might want to consider knocking at night (or whenever your skin feels extra parched) — a practice that involves brushing on a layer of petroleum jelly. (such as petroleum jelly) or other petrolatum-based moisturizer. The method gets its name from the slime slug effect it creates, but more importantly it works like an occlusive and thus creates a barrier between your skin and the outside environment to really lock in moisture. “Slugging also helps the skin barrier to repair itself. [itself] by acting as a protector,” Zubritsky previously told Bustle. Be careful with this technique if you also have acne-prone skin, because although the Vaseline molecules aren’t small enough to clog your pores, they can trap dirt, dead skin cells and debris that cause problems.
Del Rosso, J. (2016). Understanding the epidermal barrier in healthy and fragile skin: clinically relevant information for the dermatology practitioner. J Clin Esthet Dermatol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608132/
Ganceviciene, R. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/
Honari, G. (2014). Structure and function of the skin. Applied dermatotoxicology. Skin Aging Handbook, 2009
Purohit, P. (2014). Effect of mixed surfactants on the stratum corneum: study of drying stress and Raman spectroscopy. Int J Cosmetic Sci. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24828034/
Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD, New York-based board-certified dermatologist
Dr. Elyse Love, MD, New York Board Certified Dermatologist
Dr. Jenny Liu, MD, board-certified dermatologist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dr. Chris Tomassian, MD, Kansas City, Kansas-based dermatologist
Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, Board-certified Dermatologist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania