Dry skin is one of the most common skin concerns, affecting 50 percent of older adults and 17 percent of children. And while generally harmless—if not a little irritating and uncomfortable—it can lead to more serious skin problems, such as eczema and infection, if not treated correctly.

So, how can you avoid the triggers of dry, itchy patches on the face and hydrate your skin when it strikes? Read on to learn more about dry face remedies and the hydrating hero products to help restore some much-needed moisture.

Causes of Dry Skin

From cold weather to harsh soaps, central heating, and plain old genetics, there are many reasons why your skin might be dry. You may also find that your skin becomes drier when the humidity drops in the winter or when you go through a period of stress and exhaustion. All of these aggressors damage the skin's barrier, which is protected with lipids and naturally occurring oils. When the barrier is weakened, it doesn't retain moisture, leading to dry and itchy patches on your face and body.

Types of Skin Dryness

Skin dryness can present in a number of ways, and it varies from person to person. Itchiness, flakiness, dry patches, scales, and raised, red areas are the most common symptoms. However, dry skin generally tends to always feel the same: tight and uncomfortable.

Atopic dermatitis (more commonly known as eczema) is often confused with dry skin, but it typically appears more red and inflamed, and it's usually itchier. Eczema may require prescribed treatments and creams, so it's always best to book an appointment with a board-certified Dermatologist if you're dealing with recurrent skin dryness.

Dry Face Remedies

1. A Hydrating Serum and Moisturizer

If you're experiencing dry skin on your face, the quickest and most effective way to treat it is with a serum and moisturizer. A serum is a good first layer due to its small molecular size that delivers hydrating ingredients—like glycerin and hyaluronic acid—deep into the layers of the skin. Then, follow it up with a moisturizer for an extra protective layer of intense hydration.

EltaMD's PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer helps to hydrate, restore, and repair while you sleep by strengthening the skin barrier with ceramides. It's also formulated with calming niacinamide and antioxidants to improve skin tone and accelerate the skin's repair process while stimulating collagen and cell growth. Moisturizers should be a part of your everyday routine, but be careful not to overdo it; moisturizers are concentrated, so using too much can have adverse effects on your skin.

2. Coconut Oil

Seeing as dry skin is caused by a loss of naturally occurring fats in the skin, you can help to restore moisture and soothe irritation with products you already have in your home. Coconut oil, for example, has emollient properties and is saturated in fatty acids, which can help to hydrate and smooth your skin. It's also very gentle, so it's a good option around sensitive areas, like your eyes or mouth. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil to dry patches before bed and wake up to softer, smoother skin.

3. Oatmeal Bath

An oatmeal bath is a simple home remedy that's been used to soothe dry skin for centuries and for very good reason, too. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed full of antioxidants, so it's a natural way to relieve the itching and sensitivity caused by dryness. Just make sure you blitz it in a food processor before adding it to your bath and keep the water lukewarm—very hot water can exacerbate dryness.

4. Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

Now that you know how important the skin barrier is to retaining water, you'll want to protect and strengthen it with your everyday skin care products. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is integral to preventing dry skin as it defends the skin barrier against harmful ultraviolet rays and free radical damage. If left to their own devices, these environmental aggressors can weaken the skin barrier, leaving you more prone to dryness. Make it the last step in your morning regime to keep dry, itchy patches on your face at bay.

Dry skin can be a nuisance, but there are ways to prevent it before it develops. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and lots of water go a long way in promoting good skin health from the inside out, and maintaining a hydrating and protective skin care routine each day will also help to prevent dry skin from taking hold. With a little TLC, healthy and glowing skin is more than possible.

Author

  • Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.