Dry Skin

Dry skin is medically referred to as xerosis. It’s characterized by skin that’s cracked, rough, scaly, or itchy. It’s one of the most typical skin conditions and impacts almost everyone at some point in their lives. A large 2019 study of almost 50,000 individuals from Germany, found that 29.4 percent had dry skin. The researchers found it became more widespread with age and is about equally common among men and women. Moisturizers are one of the most effective treatments for dry skin, however they’re not always effective. If you’ve ever asked yourself why your skin is so dry when you moisturize regularly, keep reading to learn some of the possible answers.

Reasons Your Skin Feels Tight or Dry Even After Moisturizing

Here are a few of the possible descriptions of why your skin is dry regardless of moisturizing.

Not Exfoliating

With time, dead skin cells can develop on the surface of your skin and can offer it a dry and flaky texture. Exfoliating can assist eliminate these cells and possibly improve the texture of your skin.


The surface of your skin includes oil and a group of molecules called natural moisturizing aspects that help safeguard your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Overwashing your skin can lead to dryness by eliminating these molecules.

If your skin feels tight or inflamed after bathing, it may be an indication that you’re overwashing.

Dehydration or Malnutrition

The outer layer of your skin is made up of about 15 to 20 percent water. When it becomes dehydrated, it loses its flexibility and becomes prone to dryness.

A 2018 evaluation of studies discovered skin hydration improved a little when dietary water consumption was increased.

Shortage in the following can also contribute to skin dryness:

  • vitamin A.
  • vitamin D.
  • zinc.
  • iron.

Using a Harsh Cleanser

Using harsh soaps and cleansing products can possibly aggravate or dry out your skin. The following cleanser ingredients can all possibly lead to dry skin:.

  • isopropyl alcohols.
  • benzyl alcohol.
  • sulfates.
  • fragrances.

Cream cleansers are often gentler for dry skin than gel or foam cleansers.

The Active Ingredients in the Moisturizer Have Lost Effectiveness

In theory, using a moisturizer past its expiration date may make it less effective. Most moisturizers last a very long time. But to extend their life, it’s an excellent idea to keep them far from sources of heat and avoid purchasing lotions missing a lid seal.

Using the Wrong Moisturizer for Your Skin Type

Various moisturizers work best on various skin types. If you’re prone to dry skin, you might require a thicker moisturizer than someone with oilier skin. Research has found that using a moisturizer which contains ceramides might be an effective treatment for targeting dry skin.

Other ingredients that may assist treat dry skin include:

  • antioxidants.
  • aquaporins.
  • glycerin.
  • hyaluronic acid.
  • plant butters and oils.
  • salicylic acid.
  • urea.

Side Effect of Some Medications and Medical Treatments

Some medications or medical treatments can trigger dry skin as a side effect. These include:

  • retinoids.
  • benzoyl peroxide.
  • diuretics.
  • beta-blockers.
  • birth control.
  • topical steroids.
  • cholesterol-lowering drugs.
  • radiation therapy.
  • chemotherapy.

Some Skin Conditions

Some types of skin conditions cause patches of dry skin. These conditions include:

  • atopic dermatitis (eczema).
  • allergic contact dermatitis.
  • irritant contact dermatitis.
  • psoriasis.
  • seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff).

Some contagious illness like scabies, and bacterial or fungal infections can also cause dry skin.

Living in a Cold, Dry Climate

Cold air naturally holds less moisture than warmer air. The dry air can draw moisture far from your skin and cause it to dry out. Extended exposure to sunlight can also add to skin dryness.

Bathing with Water That’s Too Hot or Swimming in Chlorinated Water

Taking excessively hot showers or baths can harm the outer layer of your skin and strip it of its naturally protective oils. Chlorine found in swimming pools also has the potential to strip the natural oils from your skin.

Underlying Medical Condition

Some underlying medical condition can potentially result in dry skin. A few of these conditions include:

  • thyroid disorders.
  • diabetes.
  • kidney failure.
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • menopause.
  • pregnancy.

Genetics and Ethnicity

Some people are naturally more prone to developing dry skin than others.

Some research study recommends that people with Black skin are more prone to losing moisture through their skin compared to individuals with white skin. People with Asian heritage might be most prone to losing moisture through their skin. Nevertheless, studies have found conflicting outcomes.

How to Moisturize the Right Way If You Have Dry Skin

The method you use moisturizer can play a role in determining its effectiveness. Here are some suggestions to maximize its benefits.

Moisturize Right After Bathing

Among the ways moisturizers work is by trapping moisture on your skin. Ingredients that have a water-trapping result are known as occlusives. The best time to use occlusives is right after bathing, within a few minutes of towel drying.

Find the Right Moisturizer

Using the wrong kind of skin products can add to skin dryness. Getting rid of possibly drying products from your skin care regimen may be enough to moisturize your skin or you can try changing to a product particularly created to target dry skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association advises trying to find products that contain:

  • shea butter.
  • petrolatum.
  • mineral oil.
  • lanolin.
  • lactic acid.
  • jojoba oil.
  • hyaluronic acid.
  • glycerin.
  • dimethicone.

Moisturize in the Morning and Before Bedtime

You may want to attempt applying a light moisturizer in the morning and a heavier moisturizer before bed to maximize the quantity of time the product is in contact with your skin. Lots of moisturizers created for day use contain some level of SPF protection to prevent sun damage, which can contribute to dryness.

Use a Hydrating Toner

Toners aid clean your skin and prepare it for a moisturizer. They’re best used after your cleanser and prior to serums and moisturizers. Some toners target particular skin concerns like dryness, acne, or sun damage.

Use a Serum

Serums are products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can be used after cleaning and before you use moisturizer.

Use Creams Instead of Lotions

Creams or lotions are often less irritating and more effective than creams for people with dry skin.

Is Dry Skin the Same as Dehydrated Skin?

Although the terms sound comparable, dry skin and dehydrated skin describe different problems.

Dry skin describes skin that’s dry and flaky due to an absence of oil and natural moisturizing aspects.

Dehydrated skin happens when there’s inadequate water in your skin. Dehydration causes your skin to become less flexible and more prone to showing indications of aging, such as great lines and wrinkles. It likewise raises your possibilities of developing dry skin.

When to See a Doctor with Skin Dryness

Dry skin typically isn’t severe and typically responds to way of life changes or by moisturizing more often. If it’s triggering you discomfort, you develop open wounds, or if you observe signs of an infection, it’s a good concept to see a dermatologist.

A dermatologist can also assist you if your dry skin becomes a chronic issue that doesn’t react to home remedies or moisturizing creams.


Dry skin can be triggered by numerous aspects.

If you’re moisturizing your skin routinely but still develop dryness, you may want to examine the ingredients in your moisturizer to see if they contain possibly dehydrating ingredients, such as isopropyl alcohol or sulfates. You may find you have better results with products containing ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides.

Dry skin is seldom major, however if it becomes a relentless issue or results in discomfort, it may be time to see a dermatologist.

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