Having dry skin can really impact on your life. Some people might suffer the drying effects of too much sun or temporary dehydration after a day or two of not using a moisturiser. But real, long term dry skin can be a constant battle.
So getting the products that you put on your skin right can make all the difference. Here, we discuss the many options you have for soothing your dry, dehydrated skin.
How to Get Rid of Dry Skin
As with all skin conditions, different things work differently for different people. How you get rid of very dry skin may be totally different from someone else with the same skin type.
How to stop dry skin depends on the levels of hydration already in your skin, whether or not your pores are blocked (for example, if you already have acne), your genetics and the cause of your dry skin.
Treating different areas of the face and body will also require different topical moisturisers and creams too. But essentially, treating dry skin is all about replacing moisture to keep the skin better hydrated, on a daily basis. It isn’t a quick application of moisturiser, it’s a constant job!
Which Cream is Good for Dry Skin on the Body?
There are many causes of dry skin but they all lead to the same problem – something called transepidermal water loss, or TEWL. This means that water is lost from the epidermis, or skin, to the atmosphere. It’s a fancy scientific term for the annoyance of dry, cracked and flaking skin.
Skin moisturisers, whether for the face or body, work by either trapping moisture in your skin to stop it from evaporating out to the atmosphere or by replacing the moisture that’s been lost from the upper layers of skin.
This first type, that traps moisture in the skin, tend to be thicker and oilier, such as Vaseline. They form a physical barrier on the skin and are known as occlusives. They can be uncomfortable, especially during the day, and can stain clothes. Some can also clog the pores, meaning that any other moisturiser that’s applied may not be able to penetrate the skin deep enough to have an effect.
The second type, that replace lost water, are called emollients. Emollient creams are easier to wear as they don’t sit on the skin and instead penetrate into the layers of skin, restoring the moisture levels in the proteins and the skin cells.
Emollients, particularly prescribed ones, can cause side effects such as itching, burning, thinning of the skin and skin rashes. Natural emollients such as cocoa butter tend not to have the same side effects.
Another type of moisturiser that helps to replace lost moisture is a group of products called humectants. Humectants work by drawing moisture from the atmosphere, into the skin. In very dry air however, humectants can draw moisture from the deeper layers of skin instead of the atmosphere.
What Can I Put on My Face for Dry Skin?
One of the best ways of treating dry skin on the face is to use products such as Sönd alkalising facial skincare products. Our face washes and moisturisers for day and night wear are specifically developed to support and nourish dehydrated skin from the moment you wash your skin through using serums and nourishing moisturisers.
How to get rid of dry skin on the face requires a different set of products to products designed to help treat dry skin on the body. So never use a product designed for use on the body, on your face. They could be too harsh and cause pore blockages and break outs which will only add to your skin woes.
What is the Best Moisturising Lotion for Dry Skin?
Again, the best moisturiser will depend on you, but here we discuss some of the common ones that don’t always work as well as they say they do….
Does Bio Oil Help Dry Skin?
Bio Oil have recently released a new product, called Bio Oil Dry Skin Gel. This gel – oil hybrid topical product acts as a humectant and also contains hyaluronic acid which helps the skin to retain moisture.
Both humectants and hyaluronic acid can potentially dehydrate the skin further by drawing moisture from deeper in the skin in very dry conditions, so use it with caution.
However, it glides onto the skin easily and doesn’t leave behind an uncomfortably sticky or oily residue so it’s worth a try.
Can You Use Baby Oil for Dry Skin?
Baby oil is made from two ingredients – 98% mineral oil and 2% fragrance – both of which are avoided by some people looking for a more natural skin oil.
Mineral oil doesn’t clog the pores and acts as an effective occlusive, but it can irritate some peoples’ skin. If you find yourself itching or irritated after using it, then avoid it. If you don’t, it’s best applied to damp skin after a shower which helps it absorb better, rather than sitting on the skin.
Is Vaseline Good for Dry Skin?
Vaseline is an occlusive topical treatment for dry skin, designed to sit on the skin. Probably best used to treat small areas of dry skin, it’s very greasy and will stain materials if used under clothing or before going to bed.
It’s also made from petroleum derivatives (hence being called petroleum jelly) which are linked with toxic side effects – but the jury is out on whether they can absorb into the skin deep enough to cause problems.
We think Vaseline, whist effective at providing immediate relief, is best left for very small areas of skin, and not the lips due to the risk of accidental ingestion.
Does Sudocrem Help Dry Skin?
Designed to help soothe nappy rash, Sudocrem can help soothe patches of dry skin. It’s very thick and goes on very white, so it’s best used when at home!
Is a Charcoal Mask Good for Dry Skin?
Charcoal masks are not advised for dry skin. Instead, they’re meant for oiler skin as they help to draw excess oil and impurities from the pores of clogged, acne prone skin.
Using a charcoal mask on dry skin can strip it of its natural oils and make it feel even more dehydrated and uncomfortable.
What Can I Use for Extremely Dry Skin?
Our tips on caring for dry skin will help you to treat excessively dry skin on the face and body. The following ingredients may also help to soothe your extremely dry skin (plus we’ve listed some ingredients that could make your dry skin worse) …
Good Ingredients for Dry Skin
Sometimes, rather than specific products, certain ingredients can be effective at treating dry skin. Here’s some of the most common dry skin ingredients and whether they can be effective or not.
Is Honey Good for Dry Skin?
Used as a face mask, honey, in particular, raw unpasteurised honey such as Manuka honey, can be very effective at relieving dry skin.
Spread a thin layer all over your face and relax for ten minutes before rinsing off. Mix with a little warm water to make it easier to spread if necessary. Honey also acts as a gentle exfoliator which is ideal as dry skin can be made worse by using harsh exfoliants.
If you’re allergic to bee stings, avoid using honey or honey based products.
Is Cocoa Butter Good for Dry Skin?
Cocoa butter is extracted from the cocoa beans that are used to make chocolate and chocolate products.
It’s high in healthy fats that are ideal for using on the skin as an emollient to help soothe dryness. It’s also high in antioxidants which help to protect and hydrate the skin. Cocoa butter is ideal if you’re sensitive to other, less natural, emollient creams. Just make sure you look out for versions with a high cocoa butter content without added chemical ingredients.
Is Olive Oil Good for Dry Skin?
Olive oil is an example of an oil that works really well for dry skin! It’s a humectant and draws moisture from the air into the skin.
It’s also high in antioxidants and vitamin E which are both great for nourishing dry skin.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Dry Skin?
Coconut oil has a reputation for not being good for dry skin. It can cause pore blockages as the oil mixes with dead skin cells within the pores. Whether this is true or not depends on the quality of the oil and product formulation so don’t write it off completely.
Is Lanolin Good for Dry Skin?
Lanolin is a natural oil produced in the skin of sheep (making it unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans). It’s an occlusive moisturiser that forms an oily layer when applied to the skin.
Since it naturally moisturises the skin of sheep, it’s used a lot in skincare preparations to also effectively moisturise human skin.
In some people, lanolin can cause an allergic reaction. If you begin to feel itchy or irritated, it could mean that you too are sensitive to lanolin and it’s therefore best avoided.
Is Shea Butter Good for Dry Skin?
Shea butter is a natural product that’s made from the seeds of the fruit from the Shea tree. It’s an excellent emollient for dry skin as it has a high fat content and is also high in antioxidants. It can be used on the face and the body.
How to Make Dry Skin Soft and Smooth
We really hope you’ve been inspired by this round up of topical moisturisers for dry skin, and that you find one that works for you. If you’d like to try our expert skincare, then see our Skincare for Dry Skin page.