Table of Contents Show
It can be frustrating to have a proper skincare routine and follow it diligently yet not see the result. If you have dry skin, you probably apply moisturizer regularly, but you might not see any improvement. As easy as it is, there is a method to apply a moisturizer, and you might be doing it incorrectly.
So here are 14 reasons if you are thinking, why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize, but first let’s know the symptoms of having dry skin since it can be confusing to know your skin type.
1. Symptoms of Dry Skin
You might get confused with dehydrated or dry skin; the differences between both are explained below. Your skin condition might even be temporary because of which you can confuse it with having dry skin. So here are some symptoms of dry skin-
- Your skin feels tight.
- Your skin feels and looks tough.
- You have scales and flaky skin
- Experiencing itchy skin
- There are lines or wrinkles visible on your skin
- Your skin has cracks, and it might even bleed.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your dermatologist and upgrade your skincare routine accordingly.
If you procrastinate or feel lazy, it can be harmful as there are complications related to dry skin like in the case of an itchy feeling, you might rub the skin roughly leading to bleeding and scars. Some other potential risks can be pus formation and swelling, or your skin might feel hot when you touch it.
2. Why is My Skin so Dry Even When I Moisturize?
To answer your confusion about why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize, there are many reasons. From timing to the temperature of the water you are using, it’s important to be careful of what product you’re using and how much it helps to prevent dryness. Below are 14 reasons why your moisturizer isn’t effective.
2.1 Not Exfoliating or Over-Exfoliating
Your skin constantly regenerates and resurfaces. But with age, this process becomes slow. Other things like pollution, the dead skin cells pile up, preventing moisturizer from benefitting your skin.
By exfoliating, you can remove those dry skin cells. There are two types of exfoliators- mechanical and chemical. Mechanical exfoliator has a rough texture and works on losing the dead skin cells build-up. The chemical exfoliators, on the other hand, help by dissolving the dead cell build-up. You can choose either based on your skin type and personal preference.
As much as exfoliating help, it is also worrisome to over-exfoliate. It can irritate and pulls out the natural oils from the skin, making it dry, which moisturizing won’t affect. So you should use a good exfoliator with the right amount to remove the dead skin cells and let your skin absorb your moisturizer.
2.2 Over-Washing or Cleaning
Washing is the first step of any skincare routine as it removes dirt and pollution and keeps it fresh. In case your skin feels irritated or tight after washing, you might be over-washing your skin leading to dryness.
Your skin produces oil that keeps it from drying, and washing it frequently can make it lose that oil. The use of chemicals like hand sanitizers aid the dryness. So avoid washing your skin harshly and do not overdo it.
2.3 Over-Cleansing or Using a Harsh Cleanser
Wondering why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize? Well, chances are that you are over-cleansing or using a harsh cleanser.
Using over-the-counter skincare products is all fun until you realize that most of their ingredients are harmful to your skin. They usually contain chemicals like benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol1, sulfates, salicylic acid2, and artificial fragrances.
These ingredients are harsh, and using them in foam can be more harmful since they’re meant to aid with exfoliation, which causes your skin to dry. Hence, it might be better to use a cream cleanser rather than foam or other harsh methods and products.
First and foremost, it is important to know if your skin is dry or dehydrated and then the effects of dehydration on dry skin.
2.4.1 Differences Between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin-
Skin becomes dry due to no natural oil and moisture. Its characteristics include skin being red, tight, irritated, and scaly. Dehydration makes skin tight, leading to more visibility of lines and wrinkles and lastly, it makes your skin dry eventually.
Dehydrated skin is also due to dry or cold weather, smoking, using the wrong skincare products, and lack of sebum3, which can be due to genetics. Characteristics of dehydrated skin include- Itchiness, dullness, and sunk and dark circles under the eye.
2. 4.2 Effect of Dehydration on Dry Skin-
The outer layer of your skin is called the epidermis 4and is made of 20% water. Dehydration may lead your body to use water from the skin and other parts of your body to function, leading to your skin becoming dehydrated, which leads to dullness and flaky skin which loses its elasticity. Research studies have concluded that hydration can help with dry skin.
2. 5 Malnutrition
Not consuming enough or the right nutrients can also lead to dry skin. Some essential nutrients that are needed for healthy skin include Vitamins like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, VitaminD, Vitamin E, Zinc, and iron.
2.6 You are Using the Wrong Moisturizer
It is always nice to remember or keep checking the expiration date of your moisturizer. After expiry, it loses its effectiveness leading to no results even though you are taking all the precautions. Also, make sure to keep your moisturizer away from heat and try to keep it in cool places like the refrigerator.
Besides these cautions, there might also be a chance that you are using a moisturizer that isn’t helpful for your skin. If you have dry skin, thick moisturizers will be more effective than the ones suitable for oily skin. Make sure to consult your dermatologist about your moisturizer and use the ones that suit your skin.
Research suggests using moisturizers with ceramides like hyaluronic acid helps with dryness. Other ingredients include- the use of antioxidants, aquaporins, glycerine, salicylic acid, plant butter, and oil and urea.
2.7 Side-Effects of Medications and Medical Treatment
There might be some medications or medical treatments that you are using that have side effects; one of those can be the development of dry skin.
Examples of such medications and medical treatments are retinoids5, topical steroids, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, chemotherapy, beta-blockers6, hormonal birth control, benzoyl peroxide, radiation therapy, diuretics, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
All these lead to skin irritation and flaky skin. You should consult your dermatologist regarding the side effects of your medicines and how to prevent them.
2.8 Underlying Medical Condition
Your skin reflects your health. So in case you have any medical condition, it reflects on your skin. You may have dry skin cause of medical conditions like Eczema, Psoriasis, Contact dermatitis, Hypothyroidism, HIV/AIDS, Lymphoma, Anorexia, Diabetes, Kidney failure, or due to going through pregnancy or menopause.
2.9 Cold or Dry Climate
Your skin might get dry more than it normally does during the winter because the cold air has less moisture, and it also affects the moisture level of your skin, making it dry.
This does not mean that your skin cannot get dry during the summers; the air during summers does hold moisture, but prolonged exposure to the sun might make it dry. Even extreme use of air conditioning, which doesn’t use an evaporative cooler or you use a humidifier with it.
2.10 Using Hard, Chlorinated, or Hot Water
Your skin might also become dry because you use hot water to wash it. It reduces the natural oil in your skin, making it vulnerable and easy for other harmful pollutants to get in and affect your skin in the form of dryness and acne.
Besides temperature, the quality of water is also important. Hard water has calcium and magnesium, which causes dryness. If you live near water bodies or swim frequently, there’s a higher chance of you having dry skin because of the high chlorine in the water, which removes the protective oils from the skin.
2. 11 Aging
Research suggests that with age, your epidermis loses water content and produces less oil. These changes lead to dry skin. Another study concluded that around 60, almost everyone has dry skin. A research study found that xerosis cutis i.e., abnormally dry skin is the most common skin problem among adults.
It is also because, with age, the consumption of medications increases, the most common being for controlling blood pressure. Medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney diseases, or menopause can also lead to dry skin.
2. 12 Genetics, Race, and Ethnicity
Dry skin is natural, given your genetics, race, and ethnicity. There are skin differences between White, Black and Asian people; accordingly, their skin loses and holds particular water content.
According to research, it is said that black people have the lowest water content and the second highest water loss, White people have the second highest water content and least water loss, and lastly Asians have the highest water content and water loss.
Hence, it shows that your skin type depends on your race and ethnicity, and many companies have moisturizers that cater to different racial skin types, which you can use accordingly.
2.13 Moisturizing the Wrong Time
To have a proper skincare routine, knowing which product to apply and when is important. Chances are that you are applying your moisturizer at the wrong time or in the wrong way, making it difficult to get rid of the dryness.
The best times to use it are- before going to bed and after taking a shower in the morning. The skin absorbs the moisturizer during the night because it doesn’t come in contact with pollution and other harmful particles and hence helps the skin heal fast.
It is also good to apply moisturizer after showering because your damp skin will hold it and get maximum benefit. You should apply it by gently pressing it with your palm and not rubbing it harshly.
2.14 Using too Much Moisturizer
Anything with an extreme limit is wrong; the same goes for moisturizers. Applying too much of it can clog your pores and cause blackheads. So it is safe to apply it in a healthy amount, timely, and after consulting your dermatologist.
3. What is the Right way to Moisturize?
If you are thinking, why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize? Here are some moisturizing tips to help you with your dry skin.
- Exfoliate your skin.
- Wash your skin properly with less chlorine water that is not harsh.
- Use a cleanser.
- Stay hydrated.
- Get proper nutrition and all vitamins.
- Use a moisturizer or any product that suits your skin and your needs.
- Use your moisturizer or any product at the right time and in the right amount.
- Use a hydrating toner.
- Use a hydrating serum.
4. When to See a Dermatologist
It is important to stay in touch with your skin specialist and consult them when changing your skincare products or even stopping to use any of them. In cases of skin dryness, it is usually not serious, but it is always safe to consult your doctor.
You should contact them if you feel itchy often (even when sleeping), there are symptoms of infections like swelling or discoloration, you get rash or bleeding cracks, or you can’t see any improvement in your dry skin after using the moisturizer.
As you’ve reached the end of the article and got answers to your question as to why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize. it is important to know that everyone has different skin types and needs. Finding out what’s best for your skin might be daunting but worth the results.
Try consulting with your dermatologist about the products you’ve been or are using and do your best when taking care of your skin which includes regularly following the skincare routine.
- Yang, Ao, Zong Yang Kong, and Jaka Sunarso. “Design and optimisation of novel hybrid side-stream reactive-extractive distillation for recovery of isopropyl alcohol and ethyl acetate from wastewater.” Chemical Engineering Journal 451 (2023): 138563. ↩︎
- Lefevere, Hannes, Lander Bauters, and Godelieve Gheysen. “Salicylic acid biosynthesis in plants.” Frontiers in plant science 11 (2020): 338. ↩︎
- Okoro, Obumneme Emeka, et al. “Lipidomics of facial sebum in the comparison between acne and non-acne adolescents with dark skin.” Scientific reports 11.1 (2021): 16591. ↩︎
- Moreiras, Hugo, Miguel C. Seabra, and Duarte C. Barral. “Melanin transfer in the epidermis: The pursuit of skin pigmentation control mechanisms.” International journal of molecular sciences 22.9 (2021): 4466. ↩︎
- Ferreira, Raquel, et al. “Advances and challenges in retinoid delivery systems in regenerative and therapeutic medicine.” Nature Communications 11.1 (2020): 4265. ↩︎
- Rodrigues, Susana G., Yuly P. Mendoza, and Jaime Bosch. “Beta-blockers in cirrhosis: evidence-based indications and limitations.” JHEP reports 2.1 (2020): 100063. ↩︎