If you’re anything like me, you spent the majority of your teens and early 20’s not having any idea what skincare products to use. After a ton of research and a decade of testing different cleansers, serums and moisturizers, I have found a skincare routine that helps my dry, sensitive skin thrive.
Before we dive into the products, let’s go over some important ingredients to look for in skincare products for dry skin:
- Hyaluronic Acid is one of the most hydrating ingredients for your skin. It is a humectant, which basically means it draws water to itself. Applying products with hyaluronic acid will pull moisture to the skin and prevent dryness. This is also one of the few ingredients that is suitable for all skin types – since hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the skin, all skin types can use this ingredient in their moisturizers and not have to worry!
- Glycerin is also a humectant. While hyaluronic acid helps bring moisture to the skin, glycerin helps lock in that moisture and keep the skin hydrated. It is also great at preventing inflammation.
- Ceramides occur naturally in the outermost layer of your skin. They are meant to keep your natural skin barrier strong and in tact, however people with dry skin tend to have a disrupted skin barrier, allowing for moisture to escape and dehydration to occur. Applying products with ceramides in them will help keep your skin barrier strong and protect your skin from the elements (I find this especially important during the cold winter months!)
Now let’s dive into the skincare routine! (If you choose not to use the below products, make sure to look for other products that have the above mentioned ingredients in them.)
1. Remove Makeup – Before applying any products, it’s important to start with a blank canvas. Using a micellar water is a super gentle way to remove makeup. I recommend Bioderma Micellar Water for Sensitive, Dehydrated Skin (if you are not a makeup wearer, skip this step and go right to washing your face!).
2. Cleanser – Follow up with Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is non-comedogenic, fragrance free and will leave your skin feeling clean without that harsh, stripped feeling.
3. Exfoliate – Having dry, flaky skin can cause a build-up of dead skin cells on the face. Toners help to remove this layer of buildup from your skin, allowing the rest of the products in this routine to actually reach your skin and do their job in the most effective way. Try a chemical exfoliant containing AHAs (lactic acid or glycolic acid for example) as these will remove dead skin cell buildup without stripping the skin of any moisture. (Avoid physical exfoliants like scrubs, as these will irritate your already sensitive skin!) My recommendation is the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads. They are safe to use daily, but I use 2-3 times a week, just to be on the safe side.
4. Toner – Finding a toner with the right ingredients is so important because it will help restore the pH levels in your skin while keeping your skin hydrated. Most toners on the market contain alcohol, which is a huge no-no for dry skin (alcohol will only dry out the skin more and cause irritation). So look for an alcohol-free toner that contains soothing ingredients. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner is my absolute favorite because it’s super mild and contains ingredients like avocado oil and squalene to help keep your skin hydrated.
5. Moisturizer – This is the one step in my skincare routine that I make sure to apply both at night before bed and in the morning. I have been using the Clinique Moisture Surge Auto-Replenishing Hydrator since I was in college and it is still my favorite moisturizer to this day. It contains hyaluronic acid and aloe water, which my skin LOVES! Another great feature is that it’s a gel moisturizer, so it doesn’t feel heavy or thick on the skin.
SPF – The best way to protect your skin (no matter your skin type) is with SPF. Make sure to apply every morning, either under your makeup or on makeup-free days. A great recommendation for dry skin is the CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen, which has SPF 30 and is oil-free so it won’t clog pores.
Masks – Treat yourself to a face mask 1-2x a week. There are A TON of moisturizing masks on the market, so just make sure to pick one that is fragrance-free and contains some of the ingredients we talked about at the beginning of this post. Some great choices are the Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Mask and the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Sleep Mask.
Disclaimer: All information found in this post is based on my personal experiences and research. I am in no way a professional and cannot guarantee these products will work for everyone. Please see a dermatologist or esthetician if you have any major skincare concerns.