Whether paired with tightness, dullness, or a rough feeling complexion, dry skin on the face is no picnic. Longer lasting and tougher to tackle than dehydration, truly dry skin tends to occur from birth. However, it can fluctuate in severity from season to season, month to month – and even day to day.
Seasonal changes play a big part, and even normal or oily skin types can experience dryness with a sudden dip in temperature, soaring UV levels, or the arrival of wild, windy weather. Similarly, your lifestyle, the over-use of certain active ingredients, and hormonal changes can also leave skin uncomfortably parched.
To learn how to take care of your dry skin, boost hydration, and restore radiance all year round, read on. This straightforward guide outlines a simple AM and PM skincare routine for dry skin on the face – plus some bonus tips for diminishing dryness below the neck.
What is dry skin?
Dry skin is often used as a catch-all phrase to describe both dry and dehydrated skin. But there’s a distinct difference. Dry skin refers to lipid dry skin – meaning that the skin produces very little oil, while dehydrated skin is skin that’s lacking water.
Dry skin is a skin type (like oily or normal) determined by your genes, whereas dehydration is a skin condition (like acne or hyperpigmentation). While your natural skin type can change gradually over the years, dry skin does tend to be chronic. Dehydration, on the other hand, is often more fleeting as it’s largely dictated by your lifestyle and skincare routine.
Wondering if you can have both dry AND dehydrated skin? You can. In fact, while dehydration doesn’t discriminate, dry skin is particularly vulnerable to water loss as its barrier function is often impaired.
What causes dry skin?
As mentioned, dry skin is a skin type. However, all skin types can experience dehydration and periods of increased dryness. Seasonal changes are often to blame and, while it’s winter that’s usually associated with scaly skin and dry skin flare-ups, dryness can also occur in summer.
In winter, longer, hotter showers, drier air, and artificial heating can rob the skin of moisture. In summer, increased sun exposure (as we spend more time at the beach and outdoors), higher UV levels, chlorinated pools, and air conditioning are the main culprits.
Weather aside, things such as medication, smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to harsh detergents can also increase dryness and dehydration.
But how can you tell if your skin is dry?
What are the signs of dry skin?
Skin dryness can vary greatly in severity. Some of the common signs and symptoms of skin dryness to look out for include the following:
- Skin tightness
- A rough skin texture (or rough patches)
- Stinging or burning sensations
- Increased sensitivity
- Cracked skin
For skin dehydration, some of the signs are similar. However, some additional giveaways include an increase in the appearance of fine lines and a loss of natural radiance.
Daytime routine for dry skin on the face
An effective skincare routine for dry skin will include both hydrating and moisturising ingredients, as well as those that support the skin barrier – and thereby the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
Start the day with gentle cleansing, followed by antioxidant protection, and a moisturiser that nourishes parched skin without clogging pores. The final step (other than makeup)? A broad-spectrum SPF50+ sunscreen, of course!
If you have very dry skin, steer clear of harsh, stripping ingredients and reach for a mild, soap-free formula, such as Toleriane Caring Wash Hydrating Cleanser.
Enriched with soothing, barrier-supporting niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and panthenol (Vitamin B5), antioxidant thermal spring water, and moisturising glycerin, this fragrance-free cleansing milk removes impurities for dry skin feeling sensitive.
No dry skincare routine is complete without a moisturiser to increase hydration and nourish the skin's moisture barrier. Look for intensely hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or panthenol (Vitamin B5) – both humectants that attract and hold moisture in the skin.
Formulated with panthenol, moisturising shea butter and glycerin, Toleriane Dermallergo Fluid Lightweight Moisturiser replenishes dry, sensitive skin, while helping comfort skin and reduce visible redness with soothing active Neurosensine™.
Sun exposure can be very drying, and daily sun protection is essential to keep skin protected. Wrinkles and fine lines also tend to be more noticeable in dry skin, so make sure you opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against prematurely ageing UVA rays as well as UVB.
For a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula perfect for warm weather, try Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+. Fragrance-free, fast absorbed, and with hydrating glycerin, it’s suitable for dry to combination sensitive skin. Or, for very dry skin or skin needing extra nourishment in winter, try Anthelios Ultra.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.
Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.
Evening routine for dry skin on the face
Nighttime provides a welcome respite from the environmental assault your skin faces by day. It’s a time for rest, repair, and rehydration – with skin-plumping ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. A concentrated serum is perfect for replenishing parched skin as you sleep.
Cleanse & remove makeup
Nightly cleansing and makeup removal are essential to remove impurities from the skin if you want to prevent breakouts – even in dry skin. It’s also important to provide a blank canvas so nothing interferes with the absorption of your moisturising and hydrating ingredients.
For gentle cleansing and makeup removal, reach for the Toleriane Caring Wash Hydrating Cleanser.
Apply a hydrating serum
Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increases as we sleep, so nighttime is the right time to focus on attracting and retaining water. Targeting the deeper layers with concentrated doses of hydrating ingredients, serums are ideal for super-charging hydration.
Formulated with two types of the moisture-binding molecule, hyaluronic acid, plus hydrating glycerin and Vitamin B5, Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum helps re-hydrate thirsty skin while visibly re-plumping.
A face moisturiser should be applied as the final step in your nightly routine to support the skin barrier, prevent moisture loss, and complement the activity of your serum. With a rich but lightweight formula, Toleriane Ultra Sensitive Moisturiser can be used morning and night.
Extra care for dry skin: mists & masks
While not essential, hydrating mists and intensive face masks can be beneficial additions to a dry skin routine. Hydrating face masks, in particular, can provide soothing and comforting care for very dry skin.
Use a hydrating spritz
To instantly refresh dry skin in summer, try a generous spritz of a cooling, hydrating mist, like the Thermal Spring Water Facial Mist. With antioxidant and prebiotic properties, this selenium-rich mist helps to soften, soothe, and protect the skin. Use in the morning and whenever your skin needs a refreshing pick-me-up throughout the day.
Add a hydrating mask
If your skin is feeling particularly dry, a face mask can provide fast relief from dryness and tightness. Designed for skin in need of intense hydration and soothing, Cicaplast B5 Facial Sheet Mask is a refreshing treat for dry or dehydrated sensitive skin. It can also be used after minor aesthetic procedures such as laser or peels.
Made of 100% biodegradable cotton, the mask contains madecassoside, panthenol, and La Roche Posay thermal spring water to soothe skin, support repair, and help restore the moisture barrier for a smooth, comfortable feeling complexion.
Tackling extra-dry skin on the body
Dry skin doesn’t just occur on the face, and sometimes your body needs extra moisturising care. In the La Roche-Posay range, Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm Barrier Cream is a soothing, multi-repairing balm designed for use on the whole family. Formulated with 5% panthenol plus madecassoside, the nourishing, fragrance-free balm delivers intensive hydrating care to areas of dry, rough, or red skin on the body and face and can be used in babies (3 months and up) through to adults.
Or, for complete daily care for lipid dry skin, try the Lipikar range of body washes and moisturisers.