Skin Care

The ultimate skincare routine for dry skin: 5 key steps

Written by Thien NguyenUpdated on 25 Sep 2022
Skin Care

The ultimate skincare routine for dry skin: 5 key steps

Written by Thien Nguyen.Updated at 25 Sep 2022
Have you ever felt like your skin is uncomfortably dry and itchy? And sometimes it comes with scaling, and cracking at the surface? These are the signs that tell you that you may have a dry skin type. "Dry skin means that your face can't protect itself as well as it should from the environment. When the skin is dry, it develops tiny cracks in the outer layer, interfering with its ability to maintain hydration properly," says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. And those with a dry skin type know by heart that finding the perfect skincare routine can be quite tricky, as your skin is more sensitive and reacts easily with certain ingredients. Therefore, when you have dry skin, choosing the right products is incredibly important. In this blog post, Luvly will introduce you to a 5-step skincare routine for dry skin with a bonus list of recommended products.

What is dry skin and can a skincare routine help?

Dry skin is caused when the skin loses water too quickly, and therefore becomes dehydrated. There are a few things that can increase the risk of the skin losing water.

Symptoms of dry skin

There are a few markers of dry skin that may point to a need for treatment or lifestyle changes. These symptoms can include:
  • flaky or rough texture of the skin
  • excessive itchiness
  • infections
  • skin burns or stings
  • peeling skin

Causes of dry skin

According to Shawnda Dorantes, RN, BSN, there are several causes of dry skin. These include:
  • environment
  • hard water
  • genetics
  • excessive washing
  • exposure to irritants
  • medical conditions, like hypothyroidism or diabetes
There are some other risk factors for dry skin that should also be taken into consideration. Age: Older adults are more likely to develop dry skin. As you age, your pores naturally produce less oil, raising your risk of dry skin. Medical history: You’re more likely to experience eczema or allergic contact dermatitis if you have a history of these conditions or other allergic diseases in your family. Season: Dry skin is more common during the fall and winter months, when humidity levels are relatively low. In the summer, higher levels of humidity help stop your skin from drying out. Bathing habits: Taking frequent baths or washing with very hot water raises your risk of dry skin.

Can a skincare routine help?

A small 2022 study showed that consistent skin care regimen can lead to measurable changes in dry skin. The participants of the study saw significant improvement in hydration, and skin texture compared to the other group, which doesn't follow the regimen, after two weeks. Over 80% of participants in the treatment group agreed that the regimen led to decrease in dryness/pruritus and improved skin texture and it should be an integral component of management of dry skin.

5-Steps skincare routine for dry skin

Step 1: Cleanse

Cleansing the skin is the first step before applying any moisturizing creams or oils. Remove all makeup, dirt, and environmental pollutants from the day and start fresh. Choose a clean face wash product that has hydrating ingredients to soothe the skin and prep it for the following steps. A great hydrating facial cleanser will set the tone for the rest of your skin care routine. Top cleansers for dry skin: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

Step 2: Tone

A toner's job is meant to gently refresh your skin without stripping it of its natural moisture. This means toner won't irritate sensitive skin or cause excessive dryness. Usually, after cleansing, your pores are open, so this step is to balance the pH level of your skin and also prepares the skin to drink up your post-cleansing moisturizer and any other skin treatments that you may apply. However, most of the cleanser nowadays are greatly improved with a pH level of 5.5. So nowadays, toner for face can be considered as an optional step. Top toners for dry skin: Alaffia Everyday Coconut Face Toner, Cocokind Rosewater Facial Toner

Step 3: Hydrate

After toning, it is essential to apply hydration serum for skin. Opt in for a oil-free, light serum like Hyaluronic Acid 2% and vitamin B5. Face serums can boost the collagen of your skin while keeping it plump and hydrated. Although fine lines and wrinkles are inevitable with age, dullness and dryness make them seem worse than they are. Adding dry skin serum into your skin regime helps you have skin full of life at any age. Top serums for dry skin: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Beekman 1802 Milk Drops Probiotic Ceramide Serum

Step 4: Moisturize

As what is said in its name, moisturizer adds moisture back to the skin, hydrating it and leaving you with a fresher appearance. The experts recommended that most effective face moisturizers for dry skin will be heavier and contain a combination of emollients (sealing agents to keep moisture in), occlusives (which create physical barriers to prevent dehydration) and humectants (which draw water to the skin to help it retain moisture). Moisturizer for skin should also be free of ethyl alcohol, exfoliators and other drying or irritating ingredients like fragrant. Top firming moisturizer for dry skin: SkinFix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream Top eco-friendly moisturizer for dry skin: Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream Top moisturizer for dry skin with acne: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Top tinted moisturizer for dry skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Top inexpensive moisturizer for dry skin: Dermasil Labs Oil Free Facial Creams

Step 5: Protect

Protecting the skin from sun is important. Look for sunscreens that provide “broad-spectrum” coverage protect against both UVA and UVB rays. An SPF of at least 30 is to date the recommendation of dermatologists. An SPF of 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. For those experiencing dry skin, finding a sunscreen that not only protects the skin, but also provides the added benefit of skin hydration may be a daunting task. Sunscreens containing the following ingredients provide that extra boost of skin hydration, improving the elasticity and cohesion of the skin barrier. Top mineral facial sunscreen for dry skin: ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Top chemical facial sunscreen for dry skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Top inexpensive facial sunscreen for dry skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen

Do's and Dont's for dry skin

Besides a daily skincare routine, here are some tips to maintain well being for dry skin:

Do stay in the shade

UV rays from the sun are harsh on the skin. Limiting your time in the sun helps protect the skin from drying out. Wear sunscreen plus a hat and sunglasses for an added layer of protection. Stick to shady areas as much as possible, and head outdoors in the early morning or late evening when the sun isn’t at its peak.

Do drink plenty of water

It’s also valuable to boost your hydration from the inside out. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and increase the amount when temperatures and/or activity levels are high. You lose a lot of water as you sweat and it’s common to forget to replenish your water intake enough to keep you properly hydrated. Caffeine can also dry your skin out, so make sure to supplement your coffee by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Do take cooler showers

While hot showers might feel amazing, the hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, resulting in irritation and dryness of the skin. Turn down the heat closer to your body temperature to keep your skin from drying out. It’s fine to take a steamy shower or bath every once in a while, just don’t overdo it.

Do keep consistent

When starting or updating any skincare routine, it’s essential to maintain a regular routine. Most healthy habits take at least 30 days before you begin to see results; the same goes for your skincare. The time allows your skin to adapt and respond to the products being used and any changing environments. You may see a slight difference within a few days, but the more consistent you are, the more of a change you’ll see. When it comes to taking care of your skin, your routine may vary. Take our skincare quiz to find options for morning and evening skincare routines. Some days you may only have time to cleanse and moisturize, while other days you’ll want to perform the complete regimen. If your skin tends to be on the dry side, take time to go through the six steps on a regular basis.

Don't overuse hot water

Hot showers or baths can strip the skin of natural oils. This can cause irritation, dryness, and sometimes even damage to the skin.Instead of a steamy shower or bath, keep it just warm enough to soothe and relax without drying your skin out.

Don't overuse harsh products for your skin

Some products may make dry skin worse, like:
  • chemical peels
  • harsh exfoliating products like retinoids
  • glycolic acid
  • benzoyl peroxide
  • salicylic acid
  • alcohol
  • fragrance
  • preservatives
As long as you make an effort to do consistent routine, drink plenty of water, and use sun protection, your skin will stay hydrated and healthy-looking. It only takes a few minutes a day to build up long-lasting, glowing facial looks.