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Dry Skin: Causes, Concerns and Skincare Routine for Dryness

Dry skin is a common condition characterized by a lack of moisture and natural oils in the outer layer of the skin, leading to itchiness, flaking, and tightness. Treatment typically involves a skincare routine centered around gentle cleansing, deep moisturization, and the use of products specifically formulated for dry skin.

The Causes: Why Does Your Skin Feel Like a Desert?

Understanding the root causes of dry skin is critical to finding the right solution that effectively deals with the issue. Here's an expanded look at some of the most common culprits behind dry skin:

Environmental Factors


Whether you live in a cold or arid area, the environment can have a substantial impact on your skin. In winter, the lack of humidity and the harsh, cold winds can sap your skin of its natural moisture. Similarly, hot, dry climates can also cause your skin to lose moisture, resulting in dryness.

Seasonal Changes

Not only does winter tend to be harsh on the skin, but the transition from one season to another can also take a toll. Your skin might be perfectly fine during the humid summer months, only to become dry as autumn approaches and humidity levels drop.

Lifestyle Habits

Hot Showers

While a steaming hot shower can feel like the epitome of relaxation, it's not doing your skin any favors. Hot water is notorious for stripping the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and itchy.

Harsh Soaps and Cleansers

Using strong soaps and cleansers, especially those designed to combat acne or oily skin, can lead to dryness. These products often contain substances like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can exacerbate dry skin conditions.


Physical or chemical exfoliation is good for removing dead skin cells but doing it too often or using products that are too harsh can impair your skin's natural barrier, leading to dryness.

Over Exfoliation on Skin

Physiological Factors


As we age, our skin naturally loses elasticity and becomes drier. The production of sebum, the skin's natural oil, decreases over time, making older adults more prone to dry skin.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormones, such as during pregnancy, menopause, or due to certain medications like birth control pills, can affect the skin's oil production, leading to dryness.

Medical Conditions

Eczema and Psoriasis

Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are often accompanied by dry, flaky skin. If you have one of these conditions, managing it is crucial for dealing with the associated dry skin.

Thyroid Issues

An underactive thyroid can lead to various symptoms, one of which is dry skin. This happens because your metabolism slows down, affecting your sweat glands and natural skin oils.

Nutritional Deficiency

Lack of certain nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and vitamin E can also contribute to dry skin. These nutrients are essential for maintaining skin health and a lack of them can lead to various skin issues, including dryness.


Believe it or not, high-stress levels can also lead to skin problems, including dry skin. Stress impacts hormone levels, which, in turn, can affect your skin's oil production.

Woman Stressed About Skin

Recognizing the Symptoms

Before you dive into the realm of skincare routines and topicals, it's crucial to identify the symptoms. Common signs include:

  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Flaky patches
  • Dullness
  • Tight feeling

If your dry skin is associated with severe symptoms like cracking or bleeding, consult a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Dry Skin on Face

Morning Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

The morning skincare routine for dry skin is an indispensable series of steps that set the stage for a hydrated and glowing complexion throughout the day. Whether you are dealing with seasonal dryness or it's a year-round concern, the products and practices you employ in the morning can make all the difference.

Here’s how you can level up your morning skincare game, complete with Amazon product recommendations for each step.

Step 1: Gentle Cleansing

Start your morning by removing the overnight buildup of oils and impurities without attacking your skin's natural lipid barrier.

Amazon Product Recommendation: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a dermatologist-recommended cleanser that is enriched with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to preserve your skin’s moisture while cleansing effectively.

Additional Tip

If you feel that your skin is exceptionally dry, consider using a cleansing oil before your regular cleanser. This is known as "double cleansing," and it can be extremely beneficial for dry skin types.

Step 2: Toning

Yes, even dry skin can benefit from a toner, provided it’s the right one. The role of the toner is to restore the pH balance of the skin and prep it for the next steps of your skincare regimen.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Thayers Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Toner is a cult favorite, blending witch hazel, aloe vera, and rose water for a soothing and hydrating experience.

Step 3: Apply a Hydrating Serum

A hydrating serum can offer a potent dose of ingredients that can help to combat dryness at its core.

Amazon Product Recommendation: TruSkin Vitamin C Serum combines Vitamin C with hyaluronic acid, providing both hydration and antioxidant protection.

Additional Tip

Consider layering serums if your skin is exceptionally dry. A layer of peptide serum under your hydrating serum can provide additional moisture-locking benefits.

Step 4: Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is thinner and often more prone to dryness. An eye cream can offer targeted hydration.

Amazon Product Recommendation: RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream hydrates while also containing retinol to tackle fine lines.

Step 5: Moisturizer

A heavy-duty moisturizer is your final step in sealing all the good stuff in.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is a hypoallergenic and non-irritating option that creates a long-lasting moisture barrier.

Additional Tip

For an added boost, mix a few drops of a facial oil with your moisturizer. This not only ups the hydration factor but also offers additional nourishing properties.

Step 6: Sunscreen

No skincare routine is complete without sun protection, and yes, that applies even if you’re staying indoors most of the day.

Amazon Product Recommendation: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 is non-comedogenic and contains niacinamide, which can aid in improving the skin’s texture over time.


By adhering to this expanded morning routine tailored for dry skin, you're not just applying products; you're investing in a healthier skin future. It's all about layering the right ingredients, understanding your skin's unique needs, and taking steps to protect it from environmental factors. 

Night Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Your nighttime routine is your opportunity to load up on all the good stuff that your skin craves. During the night, your skin works overtime to repair itself, making it an optimal time to deliver all the nourishment it needs.

If dry skin is your primary concern, let’s get you equipped with an enhanced night routine, backed up with Amazon product suggestions for each step.

Step 1: Double Cleansing

Start off with an oil-based cleanser to break down makeup, sunscreen, and any other products you've been wearing throughout the day. Follow up with a gentle hydrating cleanser to remove any lingering impurities.

Amazon Product Recommendation for Oil Cleanser: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is renowned for its ability to dissolve even stubborn makeup while hydrating the skin.

Step 2: Exfoliating (Once or Twice a Week)

While it may seem counterintuitive for dry skin, gentle exfoliation can actually help remove dead skin cells, making it easier for moisturizing products to penetrate the skin.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant offers gentle exfoliation without drying out the skin.

Additional Tip:

Don’t over-exfoliate. Once or twice a week is generally enough for dry skin types.

Step 3: Toning

Replicate your morning toning routine to balance pH and prepare the skin for other products.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner is a gentle and hydrating option perfect for your night regimen.

Step 4: Night Serum

Nighttime is the right time to bring in the heavy hitters. Opt for a serum that targets your skin concerns while also providing hydration.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is a cult favorite, known for its anti-aging and deeply hydrating properties.

Additional Tip:

Look for serums with peptides or retinol for an extra anti-aging boost. But be cautious, as these can sometimes be drying. Always do a patch test first.

Step 5: Eye Cream

Nighttime eye creams are generally thicker and more hydrating than their daytime counterparts.

Amazon Product Recommendation: ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Eye Renewal packs a punch with collagen to fight fine lines, along with hydration for dry skin.

Step 6: Night Cream

A night cream will act as a sealant for all the layers you’ve applied, and its thicker texture is optimal for overnight repair.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Eucerin Advanced Repair Cream is a no-nonsense, deeply hydrating option that won’t break the bank.

Additional Tip:

For an extra layer of hydration, consider finishing your routine with a couple of drops of facial oil like rosehip or argan oil.

Optional: Weekly Mask

Once a week, apply a hydrating face mask for that extra surge of moisture.

Amazon Product Recommendation: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask can be worn overnight for deep hydration.

With this step-by-step night routine designed for dry skin, you're setting your skin up for rejuvenation while you catch those Z's. Remember, consistency is key. Your skin took time to become dry; give it time to heal, and soon enough, you'll wake up to skin that's not just hydrated but also radiant and supple.

Lifestyle Changes: Beyond the Skincare Products

Your day-to-day habits can significantly impact your skin’s condition. Some lifestyle changes include:

  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water.
  • Diet: Incorporate Omega-3 and vitamin E rich foods.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve circulation, benefiting your skin.

Exercise for Dry Skin

Expert Opinions and Myths

Some experts recommend steering clear of alcohol-based products, as they can further dry the skin. There's also a myth that scrubbing off flaky skin can help; it can actually exacerbate the issue.

In my opinion, a holistic approach involving a balanced diet, healthy lifestyle, and a tailored skincare routine can be your best defense against dry skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Homemade Remedies for Dry Skin?

Absolutely! Natural remedies like olive oil, honey, and aloe vera can be quite effective in treating dry skin. However, these are usually best as supplementary treatments and should not replace your daily skincare routine unless advised by a healthcare professional.

What Foods Should I Eat to Help with Dry Skin?

Diet plays a critical role in skin health. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and chia seeds, antioxidants found in berries and green tea, and vitamins like A and E contribute to maintaining skin hydration. Hydrating fruits and vegetables like cucumber and watermelon can also be beneficial.

How Soon Can I Expect Results?

While you might experience some immediate relief, it often takes a few weeks to see noticeable improvements. Consistency is key, and the results are worth the wait.

No, it's not mandatory to use all the recommended products. You can pick and choose based on your skin's unique needs and your budget. However, the guide offers a comprehensive approach for best results.

What's the Difference Between Day and Night Creams?

Day creams are generally formulated with ingredients that are beneficial for environmental protection, such as SPF. Night creams are typically richer and more nourishing, as they focus on skin repair and hydration without the concern of sun exposure.

How Do I Know if a Product is Right for My Dry Skin?

The best way is to do a patch test before fully incorporating a new product into your routine. Also, look for products labeled "for dry or sensitive skin" and read customer reviews or consult your dermatologist for personalized advice.

Can Dry Skin Lead to Other Skin Issues?

Yes, untreated dry skin can lead to complications like eczema, infections, or exacerbation of wrinkles and fine lines. That's why it's crucial to tackle the issue with an effective skincare routine.

Can Exercise Improve My Dry Skin?

Exercise increases blood flow, which can help nourish skin cells and keep them vital. It can also promote sweat that can help clear out pores. However, make sure to shower and moisturize after exercising to remove sweat and avoid dryness.

Woman with Moisturized Skin

Final Thoughts

Dry skin is more than just a superficial issue; it can significantly affect your quality of life. The good news is that a multitude of treatments, from simple over-the-counter solutions to more specialized prescription medications, are available. A proper skincare routine, when combined with lifestyle modifications, can serve as an effective long-term solution.

To sum it up, dry skin requires a multi-faceted approach for treatment. Your skin is unique, and understanding its specific needs is the first step toward long-lasting relief. By incorporating these tips and adopting a holistic approach, you can pave the way to healthier, more hydrated skin.

Tatiana Danchenko

Tatiana is a certified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture with more than 15 years of experience in the field. She earned her TCM Diploma from the Canadian College of Holistic Health and is an active member of the CTCMPAO. Tatiana's expertise lies in addressing joint and muscle pain, emotional and digestive issues, insomnia, and stress management. She runs a beauty clinic in Richmond Hill, Ontario, dedicated to providing natural solutions for a youthful appearance.

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