November 18, 2023

Why is My Skin So Dry Even When I Moisturize?

You’ve been diligent about your skincare routine, slathering on a nourishing moisturizer every morning and night, yet your skin still feels tight and flaky. Why is this happening? This isn’t uncommon, and it typically stems from a few different causes.

One reason is the season: Colder temps can zap extra moisture from your complexion, particularly if you run a central heating system or are wearing wool or cotton clothing. It could also be a sign of athlete’s foot, a fungus that typically affects the soles of your feet and can cause them to feel itchy and dry.

Another cause is a weakened skin barrier, which can lead to evaporation of water from the outermost layer (known as the epidermis). To combat this, you can look for a cream that contains occlusive ingredients—which form a protective seal over the surface of your skin and help keep it hydrated. You want to find a thick cream or ointment, such as a lotion with lipids like mineral oil, petrolatum (petroleum jelly), lanolin, squalane, or silicones such as dimethicone. (If you have sensitive skin, avoiding lanolin can help prevent allergic contact dermatitis.)

Other factors can also contribute to dryness, such as long, hot showers, which can strip away natural oils and leave skin feeling dehydrated. Make sure to use a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic lotion that’s formulated for your skin type and is gentle enough for daily use. You should also reapply your moisturizer throughout the day, especially after washing and sanitizing your hands, and always use sunscreen.


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