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What causes dry flaky skin around my face?

6 minutes

Dry and flaky skin on your face is a common skin concern. It can be uncomfortable and wreak havoc with your confidence, so if you have dry skin and you want to do something about it, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover what causes dry skin and how it can be treated.

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:

  • Itching

  • 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

  • Redness

  • 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.


  • 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.

Regenerist Whip Light Moisturiser With SPF30





  • 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

  • Use a mask like the Olay Regenerist Overnight Miracle Firming Mask or a serum like Olay Regenerist 3Point Lightweight Firming Serum to give your skin a burst of hydration

  • 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.


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