Dry skin is something I have struggled with for many years. It can be annoying, uncomfortable, and can even make you self conscious. For most people, skin dryness is easy to treat with the right habits and the right products.
This article covers the best treatments for skin dryness, including natural remedies and skincare products. Keep reading to find the perfect solution for your skin problem.
What causes skin dryness?
“Normal” skin is coated in a layer of natural lipids (AKA fatty substances). These lipids help lock in moisture, which keeps your skin soft and healthy.
Dry skin (AKA “xerosis”) occurs when something strips away these protective lipids. The most common causes include:
- You’re misusing moisturizer. Make sure to choose a thick, almost greasy formula (more on this below) and always apply to damp skin.
- Dry weather (hot or cold) is one of the most common causes of skin dryness. Try using a humidifier in your bedroom during the driest months.
- Long, hot showers can strip your skins of the natural oils that protect it. To prevent it, take fewer showers and don’t use hot water.
- Harsh soaps can exacerbate dryness. Choose gentle, natural formulas with no fragrance (this includes your laundry detergent).
- Certain fabrics, like wool and flannel, can exacerbate dryness.
- Certain medications, like diuretics and retinoids, have been known to cause skin dryness.
Your skin may also be a sign of a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, or of a serious condition like hypothyroidism or Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Click here to learn more about what might be causing your skin problem (source: WebMD).
Home remedies for dry skin
Before you try out the products described below, I encourage you to try a home remedy. The main benefits of using home remedies are:
- They are easy
- They are cheap
- You control exactly what you put on your skin
Facial remedy: milk cream
The lactic acid in milk is great for exfoliating the skin. Milk cream is also a great moisturizer, and it can even help preserve your skin’s natural pH level. This home remedy is perfect for dry skin on the face, hands, and legs.
Here’s how to do it: mix 1 teaspoon milk, 2 teaspoons milk cream, and a few drops of lemon juice. Rub the mixture on affected areas. Let sit for 20 minutes, then rinse or shower with lukewarm water.
Alternate formula: if you want something thicker, combine 3-4 tablespoons gram flour with enough milk cream to make a paste. Apply to face and other affected areas. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse or shower with lukewarm water.
Use the milk cream formula daily for best results. Apply a light moisturizer after every shower.
Olive Oil Scrub
Olive oil is high in healthy fatty acids and antioxidants that are great for skin. The following recipe is great for all over the body.
Here’s how to do it: mix 4 tablespoons fine brown sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon honey. Rub the mixture on the skin. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse or shower with lukewarm water.
Apply a light moisturizer after every shower.
Best lotion for very dry skin
If you are experiencing skin dryness, lotion can (and should) be your best friend. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad products out there, and it can be hard to find a product that really works.
Here are are my top two lotion recommendations for people with extreme dryness:
Pond’s Dry Skin Cream ($18.85 on Amazon)
This is an old brand that women of all ages have trusted for generations. I like it because it’s cheap (can be as cheap as $5 depending on where you shop), it goes on lightly, it absorbs into the skin quickly, and it works without irritating my skin.
The only downside is that it has a strong smell that some people don’t like.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($11.04 on Amazon)
This one is similar to Pond’s, but thicker and with no scent. Because it’s so thick and creamy, it tends to take a bit longer to absorb and gives the skin some shininess.
This one won’t cause acne or irritate sensitive skin.
Best foundation for very dry skin
Finding the perfect foundation isn’t easy, and having this skin problem can make it even harder.
Using the wrong foundation can make fine lines and dry patches look even worse – and then what’s the point of wearing makeup?
Here are my top three foundation recommendations for people with extreme dryness:
Mac Next to Nothing Face Colour ($43 on Amazon)
Mac feels more like a BB cream than a traditional foundation. It’s great for daily wear and also acts as a moisturizer to relieve dryness. You’ll need two layers of this stuff to get the type of coverage you would get from a medium coverage foundation.
Make Up For Ever Water Blend ($44 on Amazon)
Make Up For Ever provides a soft layer of coverage with intense hydrating power (it’s 80% water). Great for daily wear and special occasions, it provides a more even skin tone and a delicate luminosity.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation ($42 on Amazon)
Nars’s weightless formula is great for building layers – without looking like you’re covered in makeup. It’s also ideal for perfecting small areas after your foundation has been applied.
Nars provides you with a sheer, satin finish that minimizes discoloration, boosts skin brightness, clarifies overall skin tone, and hydrates for softer skin.
For best results, apply Nars with a flat brush.
Best moisturizer for very dry skin
The foundations above will help the skin, but it’s still important to use a good daily moisturizer. Here are three of my favorites:
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (~$40 depending on seller)
This one is ultra thick, and takes about five minutes to fully absorb into the skin. It has a weird consistency, sort of like pudding or Jell-O.
I find that Kiehl’s provides 24-hour relief from dryness. It gives your face a soft, bright look but doesn’t feel greasy. The Kiehl’s formula is free of parabens and fragrance. If you need a serious hydration boost, try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque ($35 on Amazon).
Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme ($50.08)
Okay, so this one is sort of an anti-aging cream – but I’d recommend it to anyone in their late 20’s and older.
My favorite thing about it is that it includes SPF 15, which protects from UV rays and from free radicals that can cause premature aging.
This gentle formula acts as a great moisturizer while fighting signs of aging. It will make your skin feel fresh, smooth, and healthy.
Garnier SkinActive Soothing 3-in-1 Face Moisturizer with Rose Water ($14.99 on GarnierUSA.com)
This is a brand new product that effectively hydrates the face and reduces the appearance of fine lines. It is a 3-in-1 product that acts as a daily moisturizer, a face mask, and a night moisturizer.
The formula contains no parabens, mineral oil, dyes, or silicones. It is non-greasy and fast-absorbing; will not irritate sensitive skin.
Click here to read my article about facial cleansing brushes.