Sensitive skin dries out when it’s exposed to irritants and not adequately protected. For example, beauty sites recommend never washing your face with soap. The main reason is that soap is alkaline. It attacks the slightly acidic lipid layer that protects your skin. The lipids normally keep liquid loss to a minimum and keep irritants at bay. But if they are damaged, skin cells are exposed to UV radiation, dry air, and pollutants.
That’s why sensitive skin products like moisturizers are essential to maintaining a defense against dryness. If you regularly protect your skin, you’ll seal in moisture. And you’ll run less risk of reacting to makeup, cold weather, dry air, fragrances, and other potential irritants.
If you want to heal dry skin, especially on your face, try these steps:
- Wash with a gentle cleanser that’s free of sulfates, parabens, alcohol, and fragrances
- Use lukewarm water and never scrub hard, then pat dry, don’t rub
- Exfoliate with a soft washcloth or use a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid once a week
- Avoid granular or physical exfoliators
- Apply a nourishing night cream before bed and a moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning
- Try a vitamin-packed serum each day for a week
- If you must remove hair, use the most gentle method available to you, like threading
- Use makeup like sensitive skin foundations or BB creams that are oil-free
- Drink more water than usual and increase your intake of fresh, unprocessed foods
Most of all be patient. It takes a while for your skin to regenerate and recover.
Key ingredients that heal dry skin
When you search for products designed to moisturize and protect sensitive skin, several key ingredients work wonders. One is glycerin. It’s a humectant that attracts and retains water.
Another is Coenzyme Q10 that’s naturally already in your skin. It’s an antioxidant that protects your cells from breaking down and dying.
Next is Biotin or Vitamin B7. It helps make nails, hair, and skin resistant to damage from environmental factors like harsh weather and UV rays.
Finally, many lotions contain ceramides, which are also a component naturally found in the skin. They soothe inflammation and stop moisture from evaporating.
Exfoliating can speed up dry skin recovery
When you have overly dry and flaky skin, even on your lips, you can remove it in a gentle way that encourages new cell growth. Avoid harsh scrubs and stick to exfoliators with alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids. Removing old dead skin lets serums and moisturizers penetrate effectively.
Avoid these irritants
While you can’t control the weather or humidify the air in an airplane cabin, you can reduce your exposure to other factors that dry out your skin. For example, don’t use a toner that contains alcohol. Instead, stick to witch hazel or Micellar water. And apply sunscreen even if the weather looks cloudy.
Next, don’t use skin care products and makeup that contain fragrances or dyes. And avoid other common irritants that also aren’t necessary, like sulfates in washes and shampoos and parabens in makeup and lotions.
Finally, smoking and a diet high in sugar and saturated fats also negatively affect the skin. If you can alter these factors, you’ll find that you suffer less.
You can heal your dry skin with a little patience and care. Make it part of your daily routine to wash with a gentle cleanser, then apply moisturizer. Protect yourself from irritants by reinforcing your skin’s natural barrier. And exfoliate old cells to encourage the appearance of new, healthy skin.