6 Reasons Your Skin Could Be Dry
Real talk: Dry skin is the worst. Not only are the common signs—think: scaly, rough, and flaky skin—unsightly, they’re also incredibly frustrating to deal with. Luckily, we’ve identified some factors that could be behind your dry skin and what steps you can take to help manage the problem. Keep reading to discover what you can do to help nourish your skin back to its former—ahem, hydrated—glory!
WHAT CAUSES DRY SKIN?
There are many factors contributing to your dry skin. Wondering what they are? You’re in luck! Below, we share some poor habits that may be behind your dry skin (or—at the very least—making matters worse)—plus, what you can do to help address unwanted dryness!
REASON #1: YOU’RE TAKING HOT BATHS AND SHOWERS
Raise your hand if you love to unwind at the end of a long day with a hot bath or shower. Yeah, us too. Unfortunately, according to the Mayo Clinic, taking too many hot baths and showers—especially lengthy ones—can be drying.
What You Can Do: Bathing in super hot water feels nice, but could be causing parched skin. Ditch the scalding hot water in favor of lukewarm. Also, save some water for the fishes and keep your shower length as short as possible.
REASON #2: YOUR CLEANSER IS TOO HARSH
Think the cleanser you use makes no difference? Think again. Certain cleansers can strip the skin of necessary moisture. The result? Skin that’s dry, dry, dry. But wait! There’s more to consider aside from which particular cleanser you use. Pay attention to how often you’re cleansing since getting overzealous with your washes can also lead to dry skin.
What You Can Do: If your skin is dry, seek out cleansers that are gentle and won’t strip away moisture. Reach for a gentle alternative, like micellar water, that gently removes makeup, dirt, and impurities without stripping the skin or requiring harsh rubbing. As for how often you should cleanse, morning and night is typically a good rule of thumb to follow for most skin types. There’s no need to over-do it! Follow up with moisturizer and hydrating serum.
REASON #3: YOU’RE NOT MOISTURIZING
Uh oh. Regardless of what you may have heard, all skin types can benefit from daily hydration. (Yes, even oily skin!) By neglecting to moisturize your skin after you cleanse you can end up experiencing dryness.
What You Can Do: Apply moisturizer to your face and body immediately after showering, cleansing, or exfoliating, while it’s still slightly damp. Keep in mind that not all moisturizers are created equal. Scan the product label for moisturizing formulas with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides. Need a helping hand? We share a handful of moisturizers that have earned our praise, here!
REASON #4: YOU’RE NOT PROTECTING YOUR SKIN FROM THE ELEMENTS
This seems like a no-brainer, but your environment can affect skin’s appearance. It’s not for nothing but our skin tends to be driest in the winter–that’s when temperatures and humidity levels begin to drop. Similarly, artificial heat, space heaters, and fireplaces—all of which are synonymous with the cold winter—can reduce humidity and dry your skin. But the bitter cold is not the only factor to consider. Unprotected sun exposure can also dry out the skin and leave it looking dull and fatigued. Needless to say, exposure to the elements can wreak havoc, especially when skin is not adequately protected.
What You Can Do: First things first: Always wear broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher on all exposed areas of skin, no matter the season, and reapply every two hours. To cut back on the number of products you have to use, reach for a moisturizer formulated with broad-spectrum sunscreen. In the winter, wear protective clothing like scarves to help shield your face and neck from harsh temperatures and wind, and use moisturizer religiously! Lastly, maintain a comfortable room temperature while you sleep. If necessary, place a humidifier in your bedroom or office to help introduce moisture into the air and reduce some of the drying effects of artificial heaters.
REASON #5: YOU’RE BATHING IN HARD WATER
Do you live in an area with hard water? This water—caused by a buildup of metals including calcium and magnesium—can mess with our skin’s optimal pH level and cause it to dry out.
What You Can Do: Moving to an area not affected by hard water is, of course, an option albeit not a very feasible one! Luckily there are some quick fixes that can help manage the problem without uprooting your entire life. According to The United States Department of Agriculture, vitamin C can help neutralize chlorinated water. Consider purchasing a shower filter that contains vitamin C. You can also reach for skin care products that boast a slightly acidic pH that’s closer to your skin’s optimal level (5.5) to help balance things out.
REASON #6: YOUR STRESS LEVELS ARE HIGH
Stress may not be a direct cause of your dry skin, but it can certainly take a toll on your body’s largest organ. According to Dr. Rebecca Kazin, a board certified dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery, stress can worsen whatever condition you already have. What’s more, constant stress can also account for sleepless nights, which can cause skin to look less radiant and healthy.
What You Can Do: Take a deep breath! Engage in relaxing activities that can help you unwind. Try a (lukewarm) bath infused with aromatherapy, yoga, meditation—whatever you can do to free your mind and enjoy a calmer state.