Flakey, cracked skin got you feeling all bummed out? Dry skin can be frustrating because no matter how many creams and lotions you pile on, it dries out in 15 minutes. On the flip side, using heavy creams can make your skin feel greasy but not hydrated.
For many people, dry skin can be downright painful. Your skin feels like it’s crumbling away and your makeup can’t seem to adhere to your face. You might think there’s no way out of this, but the right skin care routine for dry skin will leave it soft, smooth, and hydrated without feeling oily.
I’m going to show you how you can curate a skincare routine meant for dry skin that will give it loads of gentle hydration and nourishment. To make things easier, I’ll go through both a morning and evening routine and include product recommendations that give the best results.
This is meant to be a bare-bones routine that you can adjust for your own needs. And remember, while the products listed are great, your mileage will vary. If you’re using something that works for you, stick to it!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s build that skincare routine!
Dry Skin: What Causes It and How Should We Treat It?
To treat and deal with dry skin, you need to understand why it behaves the way it does and what causes it.
To put things simply, dry skin occurs because the skin is unable to retain or hold on to moisture. For some people, this is genetic. However, this condition is often made worse by long term exposure to the sun or biting winds, using drying cleansers, harsh scrubs, or overdoing exfoliating acids—all of which damage the skin’s barrier. As a result, your skin cannot replenish itself.
Moreover, applying a cream to skin with a damaged barrier won’t do any good as your skin can’t absorb or use it. So there are two things you can do to treat dry skin and keep it looking healthy and supple.
- Repair your moisture barrier and avoid doing things or using products that damage it.
- Give your skin a regular supply of hydration, by applying many layers of light, hydrating products so your skin can absorb them easily.
Your skincare routine for dry skin should reflect these two aspects and I’m going to show you how you can do just that!
Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin: Crafting Your Skincare Regimen
Because morning and evening routines differ quite a bit, we’ll be talking about both here. Since most of us have little time to spare in the morning, I’m going to keep the AM routine short and sweet. A longer, more elaborate routine at night is a good way to relax and unwind so all the serums and masks are better suited for your pm routine.
I’ll also include all the optional or extra products that will give your skin a little boost. If you have very dry skin, you can incorporate them into your everyday routine if you feel like it will do your skin some good. Either way, the extra TLC will make your skin feel super pampered!
AM Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin:
Always start the day with a clean face. But instead of harsh cleansers, you’re going to focus on mild cleansers with a low pH that won’t dry out your skin. This Hada Labo cleanser has a lovely gel formula and contains hyaluronic acid. It breaks down impurities while locking in moisture, so your skin won’t feel stripped.
If you have extremely dry skin and using a regular cleanser in the morning makes it feel uncomfortably tight, you can use a cleansing balm or oil cleanser instead. They use oils to dissolve the dirt on your skin instead of soap or detergents.
Micellar water is also a great alternative. But if you want, you can even splash your face with water in the mornings. If it works for you, why change it?
Using a toner might be an optional step for oily or combination skin, but it is a must for dry skin. Toners help regulate skin pH, as higher pH makes your skin feel dry and tight. Also, toners help your skin absorb the other products you use after them.
South Korea is well known for its use of toners, which are light and super hydrating. As a result, you can apply multiple layers of toner for dewy, hydrated skin. The Klairs toner is a cult favorite and is often used in the seven-skin method. Find out more about it here–it might be what fixes your dry skin! You can even modify it based on what your skin responds to.
Another popular toner is the Japanese Hada Labo Premium Lotion which is thicker in texture, almost like an emulsion. It sinks right into your skin, leaving it soft, smooth, and supple.
This is the most important part of your routine. What you should look for in a hydrating and non-greasy moisturizer that is easily absorbed by the skin. I love creams with hyaluronic acid in them because they help the skin retain moisture, and even draws water into the skin from our surroundings. As a result, your skin will look and feel plump and bouncy.
Neutrogena’s Hyaluronic Acid Water Gel is an oil-free formulation that locks in moisture and is safe for sensitive skin. There is also a gel-cream version for very dry skin. Both creams replenish dehydrated skin and give it long-lasting hydration.
Never ever skip your sunscreen when going outside, especially on hot, sunny days. UV rays can dry out your skin and wreck your moisture barrier. Use a good sunscreen, like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen; it’s light and non-greasy, non-comedogenic and is easy to spread into your skin.
Use a hydrating facial mist throughout the day whenever you feel your face starts to feel dry or tight. These mists will refresh your skin and give it a dose of hydration when things start to dry up.
PM Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin:
This is when the magic happens and you can use products that get rid of dead skin and heal your moisture barrier.
Use a cleanser or balm that will get rid of sweat, makeup, and sunscreen. Take at least 40 seconds and work the cleanser into your skin, letting it break down all the impurities. Rinse your face well and then pat dry with a towel.
Exfoliating every week will get rid of things like flakey dead skin, blackheads, whiteheads, and deeply embedded dirt. It will also give you clear, glowing, and smooth skin in the long run.
If you have dry skin, ditch physical exfoliants like scrubs, since they can be harsher on the skin. Instead, use chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs as they are much gentler. For really sensitive or dry skin, use mild exfoliants like lactic acid which won’t irritate your skin.
Use an exfoliant once a week to start with and then slowly increase the frequency. However, using a chemical exfoliant more than thrice a week can damage your moisture barrier and dry out your skin even more.
Like your AM routine, use a toner (or multiple layers of toner) in the evening too. Just remember to let your skin absorb one layer of product before adding another one.
Serums help you pamper your skin and treat specific problem areas. You can use them to tackle different skin issues and they are pretty concentrated, so they are more fast-acting than essences or creams.
Want to give your skin a big dose of hydration? Try a hyaluronic acid serum. Struggling with hyperpigmentation? Vitamin C and Niacinamide serums are your best friend. Dealing with rough, textured, or aging skin? A retinol serum will clear them up in a few weeks.
If you have multiple issues, you can use two or three serums and rotate them throughout the week.
Again, use a good moisturizer in your evening routine as well. You can use the same one, but some people prefer something richer at night. If you want a thicker cream to use before bed, this Burt’s Bees moisturizer is fast-absorbing and helps your skin retain moisture.
Facial Oil or Sleeping Pack:
Now that you’ve put all that hydrating, nourishing goodness into your skin, it’s time for the final dose of hydration that will lock in all that moisture. You can do this using a facial oil or a sleeping mask/pack.
Sleeping packs work similarly and are a great option if you don’t want to apply an oil straight to your skin. They protect and revive your skin at night so you can wake up with glowing and hydrated skin.
The Cosrx Honey Mask is a great versatile and choice for a dose of moisture, while the Laniege Water Sleeping Mask is for those of you looking for a lighter option. The Laniege mask also has a lavender version which I love because of its amazing and soothing smell!
- If you feel like you need it, add an eye cream to your routine and use it before bed.
- Use an essence before your serum for some added hydration if you have extremely dry skin.
- Once a week, pamper your skin with hydrating sheet masks. These will give your skin an intensive moisture treatment and make it plump and bouncy. Best of all, sheet masks are great for relaxing and gives you some ‘me time’!
Having dry skin doesn’t mean you’re doomed to spend life feeling crusty and flakey. With just a little extra love and hydration your dry skin will become supple and plump. The right skin care routine for dry skin can banish the feeling of tight and uncomfortable skin.
Ready to take on your dry skin? Just keep a tub of moisturizer handy, and remember; keep that moisture barrier well protected!
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