Dry skin can be frustrating, especially when it leaves your face looking red and feeling tight. On the bright side, your battle against dry skin is not a hopeless one. In fact, beating dry skin may be as simple as making a small adjustment to your daily routine.
However, it helps to know where the problem is coming from before you can defeat it. With an understanding of the biggest causes of dry facial skin, you can start to find relief and build a routine that works for you.
What Does Dry Skin Feel Like?
In some cases, dry skin is painfully obvious, but in others, it can be rather subtle. If your skin feels tight, rough, and lacks a “glow,” the chances are pretty high that your skin is thirsty for added hydration.
However, even just itchy skin can be a more subtle sign that your skin is not getting enough moisture. If your skin feels like it is not as stretchy or smooth as it should be, then this could be another sign that it is missing out on the necessary moisture.
What Are the Top Causes of Dry Facial Skin?
Everyone’s skin has different sensitivities and tendencies, but some common factors can leave anyone with dry skin. Especially since the skin on the face is more sensitive than the rest of the body, it can be easier than you might think for anyone with any skin type to struggle with dryness.
The following are some of the biggest causes of dry skin on your face.
1. Hot Showers
A hot shower in the middle of a cold winter might feel relieving, but in reality, it is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.
Your skin produces a natural oil called sebum, which provides a protective layer on the outside of your skin to lubricate it and seal in moisture. During the winter or in dry climates, dry air makes it tough for your skin to maintain proper moisture. Adding hot water to the mix can strip away the natural sebum, making the dryness worse.
Hot water can cause dryness, irritation, and redness. As a result, you should aim to avoid washing your face with hot water year-round.
Instead, wash your face with lukewarm water no higher than your body’s natural temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your skin’s natural oils and prevent flaky skin.
2. Using Soap or Harsh Cleansers
Washing your face is an essential part of a healthy skincare routine, but with the wrong products, it can be detrimental to your skin.
Soaps with harsh detergents and harmful ingredients can have the unintended side effect of stripping your skin of its natural hydration and causing unpleasant irritation. When choosing a face wash or other skincare product, you should avoid ingredients like fragrances, FD&C colors, alcohol, and detergent ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate.
If you have sensitive skin, it is even more important to be selective about the products you choose. Sensitive skin tends to dry out more easily and is more prone to redness and irritation.
Sensitive skin means even avoiding some ingredients with potential benefits, like retinoids. Switching to a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser can make a surprising difference.
3. Frequent Sun Exposure
Nothing feels quite like basking in the golden glow of sunlight, but if you suffer from dry skin, you'll want to limit your time catching rays.
The sun produces two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. These two types of light are responsible for harmful radiation that can have damaging effects. Because of UVA and UVB radiation, the sun’s rays can irritate or burn the skin, speed up your skin’s aging process, and dry it out.
To protect your skin, you should avoid spending extended time outdoors if possible. If you are going outside, make sure to cover up with a hat and some sleeves and put on sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
4. Medical Conditions
Some causes of dry skin are unfortunately out of your control. Skin conditions like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, can be some of the biggest contributors to dry skin.
These conditions are highlighted by flaky, itchy, and irritated skin due to the inflammation they cause. These conditions, unfortunately, tend to be genetic, but they can be made worse by some environmental factors and diet.
Although there is no way to prevent genetic conditions, you can still take steps to support your skin and soothe the effects. If you experience a medical condition that is affecting the health or appearance of your skin, then you should talk to an experienced dermatologist to find relief.
How Can You Support More Hydrated Skin?
Dry skin is uncomfortable and frustrating. Fortunately, you don't have to just suffer through it. If you deal with frequently dry skin, there are many ways to adjust your skincare routine for a different approach. To tackle dryness, consider trying some of the following procedures.
Use the Right Products
Choosing the right topical skincare products is an essential part of preventing dry skin, from selecting the right face wash to finding the right lotions.
Even though skincare products can make an admirable difference in the health and appearance of your skin, choosing the wrong ones can be ineffective or have a downright negative impact. Therefore, you can make a significant difference in the health of your skin by being mindful of your decision.
The next time you are in the skincare product aisle, keep an eye out for natural ingredients. Naturally sourced ingredients are typically gentler on your skin and can provide valuable nourishment.
Products with antioxidants and vitamins are great for supporting your skin barrier and structure, and as a result, they are great for supporting your skin’s moisture as well. Look for natural ingredients that can promote healthy skin cells, like:
- Argan oil
- Aloe vera
- Cocoa butter
- Alpha hydroxy acids
- Coconut oil
- Hyaluronic acid
- Shea butter
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Use a Humidifier
For added support, try sleeping with a humidifier in your room to promote more moisture in your skin. Using a humidifier helps add extra moisture to the air and prevent the air from stripping moisture from your skin.
Humidifiers are great for preventing dryness since they require no added effort in your routine and allow your skin to maintain its natural hydration.
Hydrate From Within
You knew this was coming: drink more water! It is easy to gloss over this point of advice because we hear it so often, but that's because adequate water consumption is one of the easiest, most effective health changes we can make — especially when it comes to the look and feel of our skin.
Don't be fooled into thinking that all beverages are hydrating; coffee, soda (even diet soda), and energy drinks contain diuretic caffeine and taurine, causing you to urinate out more water than you took in, leading to dehydration.
If you find plain water unappealing, try adding a spritz of citrus, a sprig of mint, or an all-natural flavor enhancer to give a hint of flavor and make it easier to adopt the habit of drinking water.
Boost Your Nutrition
Although your skin absorbs moisture from its outer layer, it is still possible to support your skin’s hydration from the inside out.
To support healthy skin, you should strive for a diet that is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamins C and E help support your skin’s structure and elasticity by supporting proper collagen production, while their antioxidant properties can help support overall cell health.
In addition, some of the most highly effective nutrients for supporting hydrated skin are omega-3s.
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that make up important parts of cell membranes throughout the body. Two omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), can have positive effects on your skin.
DHA and EPA fatty acids help support the health of your skin barrier. This barrier helps hold moisture in your skin, as well as protect your skin against dry outside air. With a strong skin barrier, your face is resilient to cold and dry weather and is able to maintain enough water to prevent dryness.
Fortunately, it is super easy to start incorporating more omega-3s in your diet. With iwi life’s algae-based omega-3 supplement, you can get your daily recommended amounts of DHA and EPA in just one soft gel. iwi life is an easy addition to your skincare routine, helping you support healthy skin from the inside.
Talk to Your Dermatologist
If taking small steps to avoid dry skin doesn’t seem to be working, then you should talk to your dermatologist. A board-certified dermatologist has the experience and insight to provide advice based on your specific skin type and can provide guidance on how to tailor your skincare routine.
Promote Your Skin Health
Ultimately, it can be challenging to keep the skin on your face from drying out. However, with a thoughtful routine and the right products, you can support healthy, hydrated skin. Start transforming your routine by including powerful omega-3s in your diet with iwi life.
Not only are omega-3s great for supporting your skin, but they can also help support your holistic health. Omega-3s help support your heart health, joint health, and even cognitive function, making them an excellent addition to your diet.
Discover all of the ways you can benefit from the power of omega-3s by exploring iwi life’s complete family of products.
Why is topical vitamin C important for skin health? | Harvard Health
Hot showers can damage skin during winter | Baylor College of Medicine