13 Mistakes You’re Making If You Have Dry Skin

Dry skin is one of those things that, if you don’t think about it all that much, probably doesn’t seem like it’s too terrible. Like, it’s inconvenient, sure, and maybe not the most aesthetically pleasing skin condition in the world (as opposed to, say, the bronzed, supple, fully-moisturized limbs you see in fashion magazines), but it’s not all that bad. Then, it happens to you, and you realize that it is, in fact, all that bad. It’s ashy. Flaky. So itchy that it feels like there’s something trying to bust its way out of your skin.

Sound familiar? If so, I have two bits of bad news and one bit of good news. The bad news is that you can’t just slap on some lotion and be done with your dry skin forever. The other bad news is that your dry skin is probably a result of some habits that you’ve been doing for a long time.The good news? You can fix these habits. You just have to know what they are. So, check out these mistakes you’re probably making if you have dry skin:

1. Using Skincare Products With Alcohol

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Now, I assume that you are not going out and putting, like, straight-up rubbing alcohol all over your body. (You might, though! One of my friends in elementary school said her grandfather used to put rubbing alchohol all over his hands every night before he went to bed.) But many skincare products–even ones that describe themselves as being “moisturizing”–have alcohol in them, which basically suck moisture out of your skin. So, check the label on anything you buy–if it has “alcohol” in its ingredients, put it back. Look for more natural products with things like shea butter and coconut oil–these should have less alcohol and actually deliver moisture.

2. Not Exfoliating

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Exfoliation might seem like a counterintuitive activity to do if you have dry skin, but it’s actually super helpful–it can help slough off dead skin cells and make it easier for your skin to absorb moisture.

3. Exfoliating Too Much

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As great as exfoliating is, however, you definitely don’t want to do it too much. This will slough off skin cells that don’t need to be sloughed off, which will make your skin feel raw. Instead, try to stick to one or to exfoliating seshes a week.

4. Exfoliating With Harsh Products

You should also look for more natural products when you exfoliate–scrubbing brushes and facial scrubs with synthetic microbeads are harsh on the skin and will dry you out more over time.

5. Taking Super Hot Showers

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Steaming hot water definitely feels nice in the moment, but it’s a major cause of dry skin, too, since heat can suck moisture out of your skin. Instead, try to keep the water medium-hot instead of, like, steaming/

6. And Extra Long Baths

Using the shower logic, if you’re a bath person, you don’t want to be soaking in there too long (unless you’ve taken some extra precautions and put a moisturizing bath bomb in there or something). Soaking in hot water will make your skin feel extra dry, since it’s basically drawing more moisture out the longer you sit there.

7. Using Acne Cleansers

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The main purpose of acne cleansers is to dry out your skin. This is good for getting rid of acne, but not so good for avoiding dry skin. You shouldn’t stop using an acne cleanser altogether if it’s working for you, but make sure you’re countering it with a good moisturizer.

8. Putting Lotion On Dry Skin

I don’t mean “dry” here in the sense that the skin is dehydrated; I mean it in the sense that you should only be putting lotion on your skin if it is actually damp. Otherwise, it won’t actually lock in moisture from the lotion.

9. You’re Not Using A Primer

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If you wear foundation, a good primer–particularly a hydrating one–is a must. This will help prevent your skin from flaking and getting creases under your foundation.

10. You’re Not Moisturizing Under Your Eyes

The thin, delicate skin right under your eyelids really needs to be moisturized–and, chances are, you aren’t. If you need extra motivation, you can get a specific undereye cream to do this–otherwise, you can just use your typical moisturizer.

11. Using The Same Moisturizer The Whole Year

While a lightweight gel moisturizer might be great for the summer, you’re probably going to need a thicker, creamier one in the winter to ride yourself of dryness.

12. And In The Morning And Night

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Same goes for your morning/night moisturizer. Your AM moisturizer should be thinner with some SPF, while your PM one should be thicker to deliver extra moisture.’

13. Skipping Serums

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Serums may seem superfluous (say that one five times fast) but some are actually essential for locking in moisture. Get one that promises to deliver hydration and apply it after you wash your face but before you apply moisturizer. You should see results pretty soon.

Do you have dry skin? Do you have tips for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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