Every skin type has different needs, which means your skin type will ultimately determine what your skincare routine looks like. All skincare routines include the same basic steps, like a cleanser and moisturizer, but your specific product choices will be based on whether you have normal, oily, dry, combination, or sensitive skin. Out of these five skin types, we’re focusing on -- you guessed it -- skincare for dry skin.
What is Dry Skin?
Your skin type is largely due to genetics but it can change over time and is affected by a variety of factors such as climate, hormonal changes, and diet. Different questions may be going through your head: What is my skin type? How can I tell? Do I have dry skin?
Two signs that you have dry skin is dullness and dryness. Dullness is caused by dead skin cells that linger on the top layer of skin and create a rough, uneven texture. Dead skin cells also get in the way of a glowy complexion since they prevent skin from reflecting light.
Dryness is caused by a lack of oil produced by the sebaceous glands. According to Harvard Medical School, if the skin doesn’t have enough oil or sebum, it starts to feel dry. Whereas those with oily skin experience high oil production, those with dry skin experience low oil production. The purpose of oil or sebum is to lubricate and protect the skin, maintain its moisture barrier, and retain elasticity.
Skincare Routine for Dry Skin
As with every type, opt for products that are formulated for your skin type when building your skincare routine. While those with oily and acne-prone skin tend to use oil-free and clarifying products, skincare for dry skin is typically focused on hydration. For additional help with treating dry skin, check out some top tips from the American Academy of Dermatology and follow these steps to learn how to hydrate skin and keep dryness at bay.
Step 1: Wash Your Face With a Gentle Cleanser
Regardless of skin type, every skincare routine should start with a cleanser. Your skin goes through a lot in a single day. It’s exposed to environmental pollutants when you go outside, bacteria when you touch your face, and oil that it naturally produces. Allowing all that gunk to sit on your skin overnight is a recipe for disaster, and is likely to cause clogged pores and breakouts.
The best way to wash your face is to wet your skin with lukewarm water and massage a nickel-sized dab of cleanser onto your skin for about 60 seconds, being careful not to rub too harshly. Use a gentle cleanser made with calming and soothing ingredients like green tea, chamomile and cucumber. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel. Your skin should feel soft and smooth; if you experience any dryness or tightness, your cleanser is likely too harsh for your skin.
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Step 2: Tone Your Skin
Toner is particularly useful for those with oily or acne-prone skin, but it’s also a great step to include in a skincare routine for dry skin. Cleanser has the potential to disrupt the skin barrier so using a toner helps rebalance the skin’s pH level and sweep away any impurities that may have been missed during cleansing.
Toners often contain different ingredients for additional supplemental benefits like hydration, exfoliation, or brightening. For dry skin, go for a toner that helps hydrate the skin such as our Dewy Dew facial mist, which contains witch hazel, rose hip, and our signature ingredient Floralux. Not only is Dewy Dew an alcohol-free toner, but it also doubles as a makeup setting spray to save you a few steps in your beauty routine.
Step 3: Apply a Face Mask
After toning, apply a face mask. While face masks primarily function as an intensive treatment that complement the other products in your skincare routine, they also help provide a spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home. They’re effective for a variety of purposes, so simply choose the one that fits your skin type and needs.
As we already covered, skincare for dry skin involves a lot of hydration, which means a hydrating face mask will be the best choice. Our Glow Getter Hydrating Masque is a peel-off or wash-off clay masque made with coconut, bergamot, sandalwood to hydrate skin and restore your natural glow, leaving your face softer and smoother after just a single use.
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Step 4: Spot Treat Any Blemishes
Those with oily skin are more prone to acne and breakouts, but dry skin types may also struggle with blemishes. To achieve a clear complexion, it’s important to first understand the causes of acne on dry skin and combat your breakouts with a product that is effective yet gentle enough not to cause any irritation.
After rinsing off your face masque, apply a spot treatment like Treat, our vegan acne treatment gel, to help battle breakouts. Treat contains 2% salicylic acid, which clears pores of dirt, oil, and bacteria while gently exfoliating to get rid of dead skin cells. Treat has the potential to cause dryness if used too often or if too much product is used at once so use it sparingly. For those with dry skin, try starting off with using Treat once every other day then slowly working your way up to twice daily if your skin allows.
Step 5: Apply a Serum
Serums are highly concentrated skincare products that help target specific skin concerns like dullness, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. When it comes to skincare for dry skin, a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid will be particularly beneficial. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that helps skin retain moisture, which is why it’s often touted as a hero ingredient for helping with dryness.
Drink It Up is our oil-free, super-hydrating serum designed to soak skin in moisture, fight signs of aging like fine lines, protect against environmental stressors, and keep skin soft and dewy. It has a slow-release moisture system and is clinically proven to provide 48 hours of hydration.
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Step 6: Apply an Eye Cream/Gel
Your eye area is very delicate since the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most fragile. Treat it well by adding an eye cream or gel to your daily routine. Many eye products offer anti-aging benefits such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, while others are formulated to help brighten or moisturize the undereyes, which come in handy when you’ve pulled an all-nighter or simply didn’t get your beauty rest. Our Eye Will Chill eye gel is designed to smooth away the appearance of dark circles and puffiness while protecting the sensitive eye area with invigorating botanicals and vitalizing vitamins.
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Step 7: Keep Skin Hydrated With Moisturizer
After you’ve applied your eye product, move on to moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated. In addition to a hyaluronic acid serum, moisturizer is an essential step when it comes to becoming a pro on how to hydrate your skin.
Dry skin typically benefits from moisturizers that are thicker and heavier than the oil-free moisturizers that work well with oily and acne-prone skin. Look for one that contains ingredients that prevent water loss and repair the skin’s moisture barrier, without feeling excessively greasy or heavy. A cream moisturizer is often the best fit for dry skin, as they generally also help soothe and smooth the skin. For a nighttime skincare routine, you can replace your daytime moisturizer with a night cream to deliver a high dose of nutrients to your skin as you sleep.
Step 8: Apply Sunscreen for Sun Protection
Regardless of skin type, every morning routine should end with sunscreen. More than a mere summer essential, a superior mineral sunscreen is a year-round must-have. Sunscreen not only provides sun protection, but it also reduces your risk of skin cancer and protects against premature signs of aging.
SunFilter is our non-nano 100% mineral zinc oxide facial sunscreen, which protects skin from harmful UV rays, blue light, environmental stressors, pollutants, and free radicals. It even doubles as an everyday moisturizer, helping you reduce the amount of products in your daily routine.
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Dry Skin Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we’ve covered the best skincare routine for dry skin, here are some mistakes to avoid.
1. Using Products with Fragrance
Fragrance makes skincare products smell nice but can aggravate the skin by causing irritation and negative reactions. Instead, stick to skincare products that are labeled as fragrance-free, like bioClarity.
2. Washing Your Face Too Often
We generally recommend washing your face twice daily, both morning and night. Cleansing in the morning helps remove buildup of dead skin cells from the night before, while cleansing at night washes away dirt, oil, and bacteria that has accumulated on the skin throughout the day. However, how often you should wash your face will ultimately depend on your skin type. For example, dry skin typically benefits from being washed once daily rather than twice. Washing dry skin more than once daily can worsen dryness and potentially cause irritation.
3. Using Hot Water
A hot shower may feel soothing but it isn’t good for your skin. Showering or washing your face with hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, causing further dryness and flaking. Turn down the temperature and use lukewarm water instead, and try to keep your showers short.
Abby Vinas has long been an active member of the holistic health community, advocating in favor of its benefits to both our physical and emotional well-being. Her commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle has made her an authority on self-care practices. Abby is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and proper skincare, and is also an avid lover of avocado toast and dog-petting.