For many, dry facial skin is an annoying and persistent problem. Though moisture levels in the skin are often determined by genetics, other factors may cause dry, flaky, overly tight and reddened complexions. Sun damage, cleansing with overly harsh products, and cold winter weather can strip the skin of moisture and oil. Moisturizing dehydrated skin is not difficult, however. Care for dry skin should be done lightly and effectively; correct technique and product choice are the keys to success.
Moisturizing Dry Skin: The Right Technique
Dermatologists and skincare experts alike often recommend a “two-layer” technique to take care of dry skin. After cleansing, spread a thin layer of moisturizer over dry areas. Wait a few moments for the first layer to absorb thoroughly, then apply a second thin layer. The dryer the skin, the richer the moisturizer can be; creams are often preferred to lotions simply because their consistency feels better on dehydrated skin.
For extremely parched skin that does not respond well to creams alone, the first layer applied may consist of a skin oil. Skin oils may be commercially prepared blends or pure oils; the latter type is most readily available at health food stores or even at the supermarket.
Dry skin with true acne (not acne caused by medications or overuse of cosmetics) is rare, but does occasionally occur. Use only jojoba facial oil for this skin type, as it seems to absorb more readily and has less chance of clogging pores. Try to avoid lanolin, cocoa butter, shea butter, and isopropyl myristate in moisturizer choices for dry skin with acne.
Best Skin Care Ingredients for Dry Skin
The best ingredients for dry skin include humectants such as glycerin, urea, PCA or sodium PCA, and sorbitol, which draw moisture into the skin and help keep it sealed in; and emollients like cocoa butter and shea butter, which lubricate the skin by coating it with mixtures of oils and fats.
Anti-inflammatory agents such as chamomile, glycyrrhetic acid, or comfrey are useful for dry skin that has a tendency to flush and develop semi-permanent patches of redness; yet does not exhibit symptoms of rosacea.