Dry Skin? 7 Moisturizing Mistakes to Stop Making
Of all the skin-care rules to follow, moisturizing is seriously non-negotiable. After all, hydrated skin is happy skin. But what happens when your skin continues to feel dry and dehydrated, even after you use lotions, creams and other hydrating skin-care products? Applying moisturizer to your body and face may seem easy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a technique to it. In addition to applying moisturizers and body lotions the correct way, you also want to be sure that your skin is prepped to receive moisture and that you are getting the most out of your skin hydrators. Not sure where to start? Let’s begin with what not to do.
Dry Skin Mistake #1: Using Too Harsh of a Cleanser
Even a top-shelf moisturizer cannot save you if you’re using a cleanser that dries out your skin on a regular basis. Many traditional cleansers, especially those that are formulated with harsh ingredients, can strip the skin of vital moisture. If your skin feels tight or squeaky clean, chances are you’ve washed away oils and hydration that your skin could use. To avoid this problem, make sure that you’re shopping for a cleanser catered to your skin type. So, if you have dry skin you should reach for more hydrating, nourishing cleansers that can replenish your skin’s moisture. “I like cream cleansers for dry skin,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D. No matter your skin type, if you’re using a cleanser that strips your skin of moisture, you’re starting off your skin-care routine wrong.
Dry Skin Mistake #2: Over-Cleansing Your Skin
Although you may want your skin to feel completely clean of all debris, over-cleansing your skin is actually one of the worst mistakes you can make. This is because it disrupts your skin’s microbiome, the microscopic bacteria that make an impact in the way our skin looks and feels. Board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., reveals that washing the skin too frequently is actually the number-one skin-care mistake she sees amongst her patients. “Any time that your skin feels really tight and dry and squeaky clean after cleansing, it probably means that you’re killing off some of your good bugs,” she says.
Dry Skin Mistake #3: Not Moisturizing Immediately After You Wash
Fact: There is a right time to moisturize, and it happens to be right after you wash your face or body. “Your skin has the most moisture when it’s wet, and moisturizers work best when skin is already hydrated,” explains board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, Michael Kaminer, M.D. Kaminer adds that after you shower, water evaporates off your skin, which can leave it feeling more dry. Post shower or a bath, pat your skin dry and immediately reach for a body lotion of your choice. We're a fan of lightweight lotions in the warmer months and creamy body butters all winter. The same goes for after you wash your face — gently pat dry and massage a moisturizer into your skin, after your serum, toner and other treatment products. Remember: Always use lukewarm water because hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling extra dry.
Dry Skin Mistake #4: Using the Wrong Moisturizer for Your Skin Type
Whenever you select a new skin-care product to add to your routine, you should always use one that's been formulated for your specific skin type. If you have dry skin and are using a moisturizer that is formulated for oily or blemish-prone skin, chances are your skin won’t respond the way you'd like it to. Dry skin requires a much different product than oily skin, oily skin requires a much different product than sensitive skin — and so on. When you have dry skin, look for a moisturizer that can provide your skin with a burst of hydration, nourishment and comfort upon application. You’ll also want to make sure you look at the product label for key hydrating ingredients, such as ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid. For maximum moisture, we recommend SkinCeuticals Emollience. Formulated with three nutrient-rich Brazilian algae extracts, this product nourishes skin and maintains skin’s natural hydration levels. If you want to replenish your skin with oils, try the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum, which has a combination of açai, cupuaçu butter and coconut oil.
Dry Skin Mistake #5: Skipping Out on Exfoliation
Remember that gentle exfoliation is a necessary part of your skin-care routine, at least once a week. You can choose between chemical exfoliators formulated with acids or enzymes, or physical exfoliators, like scrubs and dry brushes. If you skip out on exfoliating, it can cause dead skin cells to build up on the surface of your skin and make it practically impossible for your lotions and moisturizers to do their jobs.
If you want to try physical exfoliation, we recommend the Lancôme Exfoliating Rose Sugar Scrub. The warming scrub — infused with real sugar grains, rose water and honey — exfoliates dead skin cells away and plumps the skin for a rosy glow.
Dry Skin Mistake #6: Confusing Dehydrated Skin for Dry Skin
Another reason why your skin might still feel dry post-moisturizer is because it’s dehydrated. Although they sound similar, dry skin and dehydrated skin are actually two different things: Dry skin lacks oil and dehydrated skin lacks water
“Dehydrated skin can be the result of not drinking enough water or liquids, as well as using irritating or drying products that can strip the skin of its moisture,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. “Look for skin-care products that boast hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, and keep your body hydrated by drinking the recommended amount of water.” We also recommend purchasing a humidifier, which can help add moisture to the air in your home and help keep your skin hydrated.
Dry Skin Mistake #7: Applying Lotion the Wrong Way
If you're regularly exfoliating, using skin-care products that have been formulated for your skin type and applying your lotions and creams immediately after washing your skin but you still feel dry, it may be the technique you're using to apply your moisturizer. Instead of haphazardly swiping — or worse, aggressively rubbing — moisturizer on your skin, try a gentle, upwards massage. Doing this esthetician-approved technique can help you avoid tugging or pulling at the delicate parts of your face, like your eye contour.
Also pay attention to the amount of moisturizer or other hydrating products that you use. Often the recommended amount is on the product label and can make all the difference in how your skin feels after applying.
Now that we’ve got the common moisturizing mistakes covered, let’s discuss how you can get the most out of your products.
Dry Skin Tip #1: Prep Your Skin for Moisture With a Toner
After cleansing your complexion and before applying moisturizer, be sure to prep the skin on your face for moisture with a facial toner. Facial toners can help remove any excess dirt and impurities left over after cleansing and balance your skin’s pH levels.
Toners can be notoriously drying, so make sure to opt for a hydrating option. One of our favorites is the Nuria Hydrate Moisturizing Toner, formulated with mallow root, rose oil, aloe leaf juice and chamomile to soften, hydrate and treat dry skin.
Dry Skin Tip #2: Use a Serum Before Moisturizing
Serums can give you a moisture boost and simultaneously target other skin concerns such as signs of aging, acne and discoloration. We recommend opting for a hydrating serum like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. For the skin on your body, consider layering a cream and a body oil to lock in moisture.
Dry Skin Tip #3: For Extra Moisture, Try a Hydrating Overnight Mask
Overnight masks can help hydrate and replenish the skin during its regeneration process — which happens while you’re asleep — and leave the skin looking and feeling soft, smooth and hydrated come morning. We’re big fans of the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa and IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn