Suffer from dry skin? You’re not alone: people who suffer from dry skin complain of dry, flaky patches and are more prone to early signs of aging.

The upside? Dry skin profiles typically have smaller or even invisible pores.

The key to alleviate the symptoms of dry skin is choosing the right type of products to help your skin absorb the maximum benefits of your skincare.

How to tell you have Dry Skin

If you are unsure about your skin type, I recommend you check out this post here to help determine if you have dry skin. Mis-diagnosing can cause you to waste money on products that weren’t right for you to begin with.

If you want a quick gut-check before confirming, see if any of the below sounds like you:

  • Your skin feels dry, flaky, or itchy
  • Your skin does not feel very elastic (it feels tight)
  • Skin feels rough, and looks dull
  • Almost invisible pores
  • You are prone to fine lines and wrinkles

Quick Note: Dry skin (skin type) is different from dehydrated skin (skin concern or skin condition). Remember, in this post we made the differentiation between skin type (oily, dry, combo) vs. skin concern (acne, sensitivity, wrinkles) – the difference is that all skin types can experience skin concerns – this is why people who have Dry Skin (skin type) can also suffer from acne (skin concern).

This is also the reason why Oily Skin (skin type) can suffer from skin dehydration (skin condition).

What Causes Dry Skin

Our skin type is determined largely by our genetics and environment.

When our genes function correctly, they help to regulate signals in your body. When you suffer from dry skin, your genes do not signal for your body to produce enough sebum (or oil) , which causes your skin to be dry. Aging and hormonal changes can also affect the signals your genes are sending out, which can make your dry skin even worse.

Environmetal factors play a big role as well: for example – extreme temperatures (either very hot or very cold), high wind, exposure to UV rays, low humidity caused by air conditioning or heaters can all contribute to dry skin.

Finally, lifestyle factors such as smoking, tanning, diet, sleep also have an impact on your skin.

Recommended ingredients for Dry Skin

If you have diagnosed yourself to have the Dry Skin Profile, here are some ingredients you should look for when shopping for your skincare products:

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ceramides
  • Glycerin

In general, you want to look for products with less ingredients on the back of the bottle, as less is more when it comes to Dry Skin type. The ingredients mentioned above all help your skin retain moisture.

Ingredients to avoid

On the flip side, ingredients that may do more damage than good for Dry Skin types include harsh acids (alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids) and alcohol, which tend to dry out the skin.

The Dry Skin Skincare Routine

Here’s a recommended skincare routine for the Dry Skin type profile:

Cleanser: a mild, soap-free, pH balanced cleanser tends to work best for dry skin types

Exfoliator: As dead skin builds up, it can diminish your skin’s ability to absorb moisturizers, canceling out all of your hard work. You want to properly and gently exfoliate your skin on a regular basis (2-3 times a week) to help your skin absorb as much of the following steps as possible.

Toner: Toners are an essential step for every skin care routine. Used after cleansing, they help to further remove any impurities left on the skin and help alleviate dryness and flaking.

The key is to look for toners based on Dry Skin appropriate ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin E, chamomile, green tea, aloe vera are all good signs for Dry Skin.

Hydrating Treatment: A concentrated hydrating serum or moisture-locking oil should be added in to give an extra boost of moisture before you apply moisturizers/creams as your last step.

The idea here is layering on your skin care products from lightest consistency to heaviest consistency. As you go through this layering process, it gives your skin a chance to properly absorb each step and maximize the effectiveness of each product.

Moisturizer: For Dry Skin types, looking for moisturizers that help to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier is important. Strong moisture barrier prevents hydration loss, and ensures that your dry skin achieves that coveted healthy glow-without-makeup look. Proper moisturization also prevents signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.

Sheet Masks: Sheet masks are another essential item to add to your skincare routine. Think of sheet masks as an ultra-concentrated, hydration packed layer that you put on your skin 2-3 times a week to really boost your skin’s hydration and moisture level.

Next Steps: find the right products for your dry skin

The Ordinary is a budget-friendly skincare brand great for beginners to start experimenting with ingredients and products to improve dry skin.

This post breaks down the best products from The Ordinary for people with dry skin.