6 Common Mistakes That Make Dry Skin Even Worse

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on December 14, 2016 No Comments

dry skin mistakes

The cooler winter months tend to aggravate dry skin. There are many things you can do to improve your skin in the winter season. Many dry skin sufferers, however, make simple mistakes that end up negatively impacting their skin. These common mistakes will make your dry skin even worse:

Using a harsh cleanser

Using a powerful deep cleanser might seem like the best way to remove the daily dirt and debris from the skin. But using a harsh cleanser, specifically a foaming cleanser, will actually make your dry skin even worse, stripping away natural oils and moisture while irritating the skin.

Instead, opt for a gentle or lotion-based cleanser suited for sensitive or dry skin types. Also lightly cleanse your skin using a soft cotton pad or just your fingers rather than scrubbing away with each wash. Your skin will thank you!

Taking hot showers

It might feel great after a hard day at work, but taking a hot shower or bath is torture for your dry skin. The high temperature works to displace your natural hydration levels, pulling water out of the skin cells. Instead stick to lukewarm water and try to keep your shower or bath short. A good rule of thumb is if the mirror in the bathroom is steamed up after a shower the water is too hot.

As soon as you get out (with slightly damp skin) apply a high quality moisturizer to re-hydrate and lock in moisture. You have about a 5 minute window after a shower or bath when your epidermis is rapidly evaporating moisture from the surface of your skin. This is the best time to apply your moisturizer.

Overly light moisturizers

During the fall and winter months you may need to change your moisturizer from what you were using in the summer so something “heavier.” Not all moisturizers are created equal, especially when it comes to managing dry skin. Lighter formulations of moisturizers either fail to fully penetrate the skin or quickly evaporate before they deliver any benefit. Instead of a gel or light lotion, opt for a rich cream moisturizer that’s packed with moisture-boosting ingredients like ceramides and lipids. Apply your moisturizer twice daily, in the morning and before bed, for best results.

Improper exfoliating

We’ve previously addressed the issue of over-exfoliating, which can harm the skin in many ways including prematurely removing healthy skin cells. When it comes to dry skin, however, under-exfoliating can also be an issue. Failing to remove dead skin cells decreases the effectiveness of your moisturizer as it is unable to penetrate as efficiently. Make sure to properly exfoliate a few times weekly (not daily), using a cleansing brush, chemically exfoliating cleanser or gentle scrub ideal for dry skin.

Using alcohol-based makeup remover or toners

Any makeup remover or toner that utilizes alcohol or other astringent-based ingredients is robbing your dry skin of the moisture it needs. Instead, use non-irritating cleansing cloths to remove your makeup or just a mild soap. There are also great non alcohol-based toners on the market you just have to look at the ingredients listed on the bottle or ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.

Sleeping with makeup on

One of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to skin health: sleeping with your makeup on leads to irritation and dryness. Makeup doesn’t allow the skin to “breathe” properly, so keeping it on overnight is the quickest way to take your dry skin from bad to worst. So always…always…always properly cleanse your face before heading to bed for the night.


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.

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