What is dry skin?
Most people will experience dry skin at some time in their life and the cause may not always be obvious. Dry skin as the name suggest is when the moisture levels in the skin drop leaving the skin feeling tight and uncomfortable, and certainly not looking its best. Dry skin can be associated with several physical changes to the upper layers of the skin including (i) damage to the skin’s natural moisture barrier and (ii) a reduction in the natural lipids in the skin. But don’t worry, a good skin care routine can help solve the problems for most people.
The symptoms of dry skin on your face
Here are some of the tell-tale signs of dry skin:
Tightness, especially after the skin has been in contact with water
Fine lines and cracks that sometimes even bleed
Grey-looking skin, particularly with darker skin tones
Rough to the touch, almost like sandpaper
Flaky, peeling or scaly skin
The causes of dry skin on your face
It’s best to seek professional help for an expert diagnosis of your skin, however, some of the common causes of dry, flaky skin can include:
Your skin may be naturally dry. Some people have oily skin, some have dry skin. If you know your skin is prone to dryness, you’re probably aware that your skin will need extra care when the first signs of dry skin appear. If you’re unsure about your skin type, check out our guide on skin types, it can help you figure it out.
Low humidity days. If there is not much moisture in the air, for example during winter, your skin is more likely to dry out. Add harsh wind and a cold temperature to the mix, which further dry out the skin surface, and you’ll most probably notice drier skin.
Dry, hot weather. Dry air in summer can also makes your skin lose moisture, and that can result in dry, flaky skin.
The temperature of your home. Both central heating and a fireplace can decrease humidity levels, and lead to dry skin.
Hot showers or baths. You may be a fan of long, hot showers or baths, but your skin is definitely not. Lengthy exposure to hot water can cause tight, dry skin.
Age. As the years go by, your body tends to produce less sebum, and that can result in the top layers of the skin become dry.
Lack of water intake. Being well hydrated is important for your body in so many ways, and if you don’t consume enough water you may notice your skin becoming dry and lifeless.
Certain soaps. Soaps are often designed to remove oil from the skin, and if you wash your face with soap you may lose some of that oil that keeps your skin supple and hydrated.
Hard water. No matter how hard you try preventing dry skin on your face with an ultra-hydrating moisturiser, it can’t be as effective if the water coming from your tap is high in magnesium and calcium. These minerals can leave your skin dry and may aggravate any pre-existing skin conditions.
Certain skin conditions. If you have skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, you are likely more prone to dry skin.
How to tackle dry, flaky skin on your face
There are steps you can take to treat or prevent your dry skin. Check out our advice below and consult your dermatologist for personalised advice.
Tips to prevent dry skin
Avoid over-exposure to direct sunlight
Avoid being in areas of low humidity – try using a humidifier at home
Moisturise at least twice a day. In the morning use a hydrating moisturiser, such as Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 30 for instant absorption and a lightweight feel, for the evening choose Olay Regenerist 3Point Firming Anti-Ageing Night Cream Moisturiser that hydrates to improve elasticity.
Spend less time showering or taking a bath, ensuring that the water is warm, rather than hot
Drink lots of water (aim for 2-3 litres a day ) and consume foods that are high in water, such as watermelon, strawberries or peaches to boost your daily water intake.
Hydrates and Protects
Tricks to treat dry skin
Replenishing lost moisture is just as important when you already have dry skin, so make sure you moisturise both morning and evening
Use Olay Hungarian Water Essence to cleanse your face, as it doesn’t dry out your skin, leaving it looking brighter and smoother
A home water filtration system can filter magnesium and calcium from hard water.
A quick recap on dry skin on your face
Now that you know more about what can cause the skin on your face to dry out, like cold weather or lack of water intake, you can take steps to hydrate and sooth your skin for a plumper more hydrated complexion. For even more on this topic, read our guide on how to treat dry skin.