Seven Overlooked Reasons For Dry Skin - And What To Do About It

Last updated on : May 13 2023

reasons for dry skin

Article Summary

Dry skin is a common skin issue that many people face, especially during the colder months or in dry climates. It can be uncomfortable, itchy, and sometimes even painful. While most people know the basics of dry skin - flakiness, tightness, and redness - not everyone understands the underlying causes of it or how best to avoid or remedy it.

This article explores the reasons for dry skin, how your skin type can affect it and what you can do to remedy, combat and avoid it.

Click on the links below to learn more.

A. What Is Dry Skin

B. How Does My Skin Type Affect Skin Dryness

C. Seven Overlooked Reasons For Dry Skin

D. Steps To Alleviate And Treat Dry Skin

E. Conclusion

F. Bonus Section - Understanding Over The Counter Remedies For Dry Skin

G. Frequently Asked Questions

A. What Is Dry Skin

Appreciating the factors that lead to dry skin is crucial in preventing your skin from looking chapped and dry at any time of the year.  

Layers of sebaceous glands bless our skin with natural moisturizing oils. The absence of these oils makes the skin vulnerable to itching, peeling, scaling, and cracking - this is dry skin. 

So you must know how to retain the lubricating effect of our skin's natural moisturizers to maintain your youthful glow at all times. 

In this article, we've focused on seven often overlooked yet essential contributors to dry skin and what you can do to avoid them.

And to finish, we've highlighted some extra steps you can take to alleviate and treat dry skin. 

B. How Does My Skin Type Affect Skin Dryness?

Your skin type can have a significant impact on how prone you are to experiencing dryness.

Dry skin is characterized by a lack of natural oils, which can result in tightness, flakiness, and a dull appearance. People with dry skin are more likely to experience dryness due to their skin's inability to retain moisture.

In contrast, oily skin produces an excess of natural oils, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. However, even those with oily skin can experience dryness in certain areas of their face, particularly during colder months or if they use harsh skincare products that strip the skin of its natural oils.

Combination skin is characterized by oily skin in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and dryness in other areas. People with combination skin may experience dryness in their cheeks or around their eyes while their T-zone remains oily.

Finally, people with normal skin, which is neither too dry nor too oily, may still experience occasional dryness due to environmental factors or harsh skincare products. However, they are generally less prone to experiencing dryness than those with dry or combination skin.

In summary, your skin type can affect how prone you are to experiencing dryness. Still, regardless of your skin type, it's crucial to maintain a daily skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

C. Seven Overlooked Reasons For Dry Skin

Many factors are causing your dry skin, including dehydration, certain medical conditions, and even diet.

Sun exposure, hot water, and the chemicals we use in our soaps and makeup are others.

However, the following seven are often overlooked and are quite severe contributors to the dryness we all want to avoid. 

Are you guilty of any, and can you change your ways?

1. Your Beauty Therapy Doesn't Match Your Skin Type.

Many people subscribe to any skin therapy they find without first knowing their type of skin. 

Knowing your skin type helps you define what suits your skin and allows it to adapt correctly to your environment. 

Products that are too harsh may result in your skin, producing more oil than it needs. Conversely, lubricating up with too much moisturizer might lead to dry skin as your body adapts.

The easiest way to determine your skin type is to gently pat a sheet of blotting paper on the different areas of your face.

Little to no oil on the sheet likely means you have dry skin. Some oil on the nose and forehead areas is typical of combination skin. However, if greasiness saturates the paper, then you have oily skin. 

Once you understand your skin type, select a skin therapy that matches and compliments it.

2. You're Taking Long Hot Showers

Make an excellent start to each day with a cold but brief shower, not a long hot one. 

A cold shower envelopes you in a refreshing aura and tightens the cuticles and pores. This tightening prevents the skin from getting clogged and helps retain its moisture. 

On the other hand, a steamy bath or shower strips away the natural oils from your skin, particularly with soap. Hot water and soap deplete the skin's oil barrier causing dry and chapped skin.

The good news is that you don't need to shower long in the cold to see the benefits. Also, a significant advantage comes from just removing long hot showers from your daily routine.

So replace your hot shower or bath with a daily cold shower to reap benefits for your skin.

3. You're Using The Wrong Soaps

For all the cleansing benefits of soap, certain types take a toll on the skin's natural oils. 

If your skin is needlessly tight, red, and dry after using your favorite soap, it is time for a change. These symptoms are a reliable indicator that your soap is doing more damage than good.

Using the right soap prevents the rapid depletion of the skin oils and the drying out of your skin. Choose soaps with natural ingredients like shea butter or almond oils and avoid those with harsh chemicals or anti-bacterial properties.

Although you might be surprised, you don't need to give your entire body a heavy scrubbing every time you wash. Your armpits and your groin are two areas that need washing with soap; the rest of your body can do fine with water only rinse. 

If you're a dry skin sufferer, use the right soap yes, but also use it sparingly, and don't scrub away at your skin.

4. You're Too Rough With Your Towel

Following a refreshing (cold) bath or shower, be wary of your towels and how you choose to dry yourself. 

A rough, dry off will irritate your skin and contribute to the loss of essential oils and moisturizers. Additionally, towels carry bacteria and germs if not washed often, and these exacerbate your skin problems.

Your choices are to gently pat yourself dry with your towel or air dry instead, avoiding a dry off entirely.

Under both scenarios applying a nourishing body moisturizer to seal your skin is advised. A moisturizer will help keep and restore any moisture lost after your wash.

5. You're Making Dry Skin Makeup Mistakes

Many of the chemicals in makeup can and do cause dry skin. So it would be best if you use makeup that suits your skin type and apply it correctly. 

Choose a cleanser with ceramides and natural lipids that help skin retain moisture and its natural protective barrier. And use a hydrating primer for additional protection. Try a water-based foundation instead of silicone or matte. Water-based is more moisturizing and creates a dewy effect.

When applying your foundation, use a slightly wet beauty blender instead of a brush because brushes can cause dry skin flakiness.

Don't brush powder over your entire face as this will accentuate dry patches. Instead, just lightly tap it onto areas necessary or stay away from it altogether. Try a cream-based blush in place of powder for a similar and more moisturizing effect. 

Makeup need not cause or highlight your dry skin if you take care applying it.

dry skin and makeup

6. You're Over-Exfoliating

Your skin is continuously regenerating, with new skin cells replacing old dead ones. Exfoliation assists this process by removing the older cells and giving the new ones a healthier start in life. 

While exfoliation is a recommended beauty therapy, do it sparingly if you suffer from dry skin. The urge to rub away dry and flaky skin is hard to avoid. However, it will make your condition worse, irritating your skin further.

We recommend exfoliating only a couple of times a week with your dry skin.

Keep the process gentle by avoiding products with beads or grains that are rough on your skin. A warm wet washcloth, gently applied, should, in most cases, be all that you need. 

Alternatively, try a spoon of sugar added to two scoops of olive or vitamin E oil for a perfect mix. Dab over your face and use your fingertips to massage the mixture into your skin gently. After a few minutes, wash off the solution.

7. You're Not Using Sun Protection And Treating Sun Damage

Summer comes with brightness and bounce and brings out the zest for holidays and vacation.

As inviting as the weather is, be careful of too much exposure to the scorching heat. Although sunlight brings with it vitamin D, it also brings UV rays capable of damaging your skin permanently and aging it with fine lines and wrinkles.

If you need to be in the sun, use an excellent summer sunscreen with strong UV protection and apply it regularly to your face and other exposed skin. 

Too much exposure to ultraviolet rays causes dark patches, wrinkles, and roughness. This photoaging hinders the growth of healthy cells, causes inflammation, and stimulates enzymes that destroy the skin's extracellular space.

The damage is cumulative over time and so must be treated with moisturizers and anti-aging coolants to ensure your skin recovers as much as possible.

Failure to catch the effects in time can result in long-term damage to the skin, dryness, and severe skin cancer risk. 

D. Extra Steps To Alleviate And Treat Dry Skin

dry skin mask

When your skin moisturizing routine is not working, ensure you're not making any of the mistakes above, and try out a few of the remedies below.  

Use An Humidifier

A warm climate with dry air and extended air-conditioners can suck the moisture out of your skin through a process known as trans-epidermal water loss.

Too much water loss leads to noticeable looking wrinkles and fine lines and can exacerbate some skin problems like eczema and rosacea.   

Although we often use humidifiers during winter, they are ideal for combating dry air caused by warmer weather and too much air-conditioning, helping your skin cope better.

However, not all humidifiers are created equal, and their proper use is essential if you want the maximum benefit.

Using a warm mist humidifier is generally considered cleaner, for example, because the process of boiling water to create steam kills off bacteria. It would be best if you also clean your humidifier regularly.  

Have A Mist In Your Bag

A quick and easy way to add moisture to your face is to spritz it up with a face mist. 

Mists are an essential beauty accessory and excellent at combating dry skin, plus protecting it too.

Research shows that your skin is weaker when it's physically hot, and heat encourages sebum production, adding to unnecessary oiliness and the clogging of pores. A quick spray with a cooling mist effectively addresses this, keeping your face fresh and moisturized. 

What's more, mists come in a range of formulations. Those that tone, nourish, help to set your makeup in place, and of course, to cool your skin down. 

The name of the game is moisturization, and a spritz of facial mist is encouraged when needed.

Use Vitamin E-rich Oil

The environment is fraught with radicals, from dust, fumes, smoke, and the uproar that envelopes you each day. Your skin bears the brunt, and if you careless, wrinkled skin will replace your youthfulness.

Vitamin E oil helps you steer clear from flakiness. It nourishes your skin down to the thinnest layer and keeps you glowing.

However, not all vitamin E oils are created equal so choose one with care. Most are heavy and can cause unwanted breakouts if you are prone to them. They also come in different formulations, some more effective than others.

Try mixing vitamin E oil, honey, and milk for a face moisturizer that will nourish and revitalize dry skin.   

Try Almond Oil

Almond oil is high in vitamin E and an excellent topical treatment for dry skin.  

Massage a teaspoon of the oil directly onto the dry patches to reap the benefits. Or add a little dash of almond oil and milk powder to your tub for a luxuriant moisturizing touch that your skin will love. 

Almonds are great to eat too and contain high nutritional value helping you combat various ailments. Add them to a balanced diet for a nutritious skin-enhancing boost.  

Use Aloe-Vera

To keep your skin sparkling and youthful, add aloe-vera to your necessary skin therapy.

Aloe Vera is a cactus that secretes a clear gel. This gel, when applied topically, acts as a natural skin moisturizer. It's highly useful for dry skin and to treat sunburn and acne. Frequent use builds up your natural skin oils over time.

Either apply the gel directly from the plant or purchase a product that incorporates it.  

Treat Yourself To A Dry Skin Pack

As a personal therapy and treatment, make yourself a homemade skin pack to revitalize and rejuvenate your skin. 

We recommend a mix of five drops of glycerin, the extracted juice of a lemon, and a teaspoon of olive oil for effectiveness. Store in a container and regularly apply to your face for 15 min sessions at a time.  

However, the list of mixes is endless. Try papaya and honey or milk and almond plus more as exciting alternatives. 

E. Conclusion

If you're guilty of any of these skin habits, try changing your ways to see if things improve. Chances are they will.

And if you're running out of dry skin solutions, try some of the ideas above. They, too, will lead to a revitalized skin over time.

F. Bonus Section - Understanding Over The Counter Remedies For Dry Skin

Several types of over-the-counter products can help hydrate and nourish the skin, including:

  • Humectants: These are ingredients that attract and hold moisture in the skin. Humectants can be found in many moisturizing lotions, creams, and serums. Common humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea.
  • Emollients: These ingredients fill the gaps between skin cells and help smooth the skin's surface. Common emollients include petrolatum, mineral oil, and dimethicone. Emollients can be found in many moisturizers, ointments, and balms.
  • Ceramides are lipids that help maintain the skin's barrier function, preventing moisture loss and protecting the skin from environmental factors. Ceramides can be found in many moisturizers and cleansers formulated for dry skin.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are exfoliating agents that help remove dead skin cells and improve skin texture. AHAs can be found in many moisturizers and serums formulated for dry skin. Common AHAs include glycolic acid and lactic acid.
  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant helps protect the skin from free radicals, which can damage skin cells and accelerate aging. Vitamin E can be found in many moisturizers, serums, and oils.

When choosing over-the-counter products, look for products that contain the ingredients above and are labeled as "hydrating," "moisturizing," or "for dry skin." 

Additionally, avoid products that contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that can irritate the skin.

G. Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions most frequently asked by our readers.

Does drinking water help dry skin?

Drinking water can help with the suppleness of your skin and allow it to stop drying out. But drinking water is not that effective for the dry skin you already have. 

What can I eat to avoid dry skin?

It would be best to eat hydrating foods and those high in vitamins and beta-carotene. Good examples are sweet potatoes, nuts, seeds, spinach, avocadoes, and fish. For fruits, eat those high in Vitamin C like berries and oranges. All these foods are rich in the nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy, supple, and moist. 

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