Why Is My Skin Dry Even When I Moisturize

You may have noticed that sometimes, despite daily moisturizing, your skin still feels tight and dry.

Dry skin is medically known as xerosis. It’s characterized by skin that’s cracked, rough, scaly, or itchy. It’s one of the most common skin conditions and affects almost everybody at some point in their lives.

Moisturizers are one of the most effective treatments for dry skin, but they’re not always effective. If you’ve ever asked yourself why your skin is so dry when you moisturize regularly, keep reading to learn some of the possible answers.


But before that let's first see whether your skin is dry or dehydrated?

What is the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?

Dry skin is a skin type and dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Your skin type is what you're naturally born with, such as oily skin or dry skin. Your skin condition, however, is what happens to your skin, such as dehydration, acne and irritation. Skin conditions can happen to anyone, temporarily or longer, and in some instances, a skin condition can stay for good.

Now, let's see why is your skin dehydrated?


Cleansing is an incredibly important first step in every skincare routine.

However, it is equally as important to pay attention to the ingredients and properties of your cleanser to prevent unintentionally drying your skin out.

Cleansing milks, lotions and creams are ideal for dry skin types whereas gels and foams are great for oily skin.

Some cleansers, particularly those that foam, are designed specifically to strip these oils from your skin. This can be wonderful if you have an oily skin type but, if not, it will strip the good oils from your skin leaving your face feeling tight and uncomfortable. 


Some cleansers will have a gritty, rough texture that is meant to aid in exfoliation. While exfoliating is great, it is possible to over exfoliate.

If your dry skin is also accompanied by sensitivity, irritation or redness, your cleanser may be too abrasive and you may need to limit your exfoliation all together to once or twice a week.

Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alcohol and added synthetic fragrance can all be too harsh for some people to use.

If you are noticing persistent dryness and see that these ingredients are present in your cleanser, try switching to something more gentle like a cream cleanser. 


Exfoliation is a necessary step to maintaining healthy skin. Our skin is constantly regenerating and resurfacing but as we age, this process slows down.

Combine this with environmental and lifestyle factors like pollution and smoking, and your skin can really start to pile up with dead skin cells that prevent your products from getting fully absorbed.

Think of it as polishing an old and dusty table- you have to remove the layer of dust before you can apply the polish. 


There are two types of exfoliators, mechanical and chemical. Scrubs that have a rough texture and work by manually loosening and sloughing off this buildup are mechanical. Chemical exfoliators will dissolve the buildup with, you guessed it, chemicals such as alpha hydroxy acids.

Both types work great and deciding which is the best for you will depend upon personal preference and skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you will want to avoid mechanical exfoliators. 

Once you have removed the buildup from your skin, your products are going to be able to penetrate deeper and be far more effective.

This will also aid in clearing breakouts and diminishing the appearance of fine lines. 


Any discussion on dehydration is incomplete without WATER.

As you may know, skin is the body’s largest organ. Though it is the largest, it is not the most essential. This means that when our body is becoming dehydrated, it will begin to pull water from our skin and other nonessential organs in order to function. When this happens, it can lead to dry, flaky and dull skin with an increase of visible fine lines. 


Most of us learned at one point in our lives to drink 8 glasses of water a day. While this is a great goal, most people can stay hydrated simply by drinking water when they are thirsty.

There are a few factors that may influence how much water your body needs such as health problems, regular exercise and the environment you live in.

It is important to listen to your body and speak with your doctor if you are concerned about your water intake. 


Different moisturizers work best on different skin types. If you’re prone to dry skin, you may need a thicker moisturizer than somebody with oilier skin. 

Scientists have found that using a moisturizer that contains ceramides may be an effective treatment for targeting dry skin.
Other ingredients that can help you are glycerin, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, etc.


Some people are naturally more prone to developing dry skin than others.

Some research suggests that people with deeper skin tones are more prone to losing moisture through their skin compared to people with lighter skin tones. People with Asian heritage may be most prone to losing moisture through their skin. However, studies have found conflicting results.


You’ve now learned that there are many factors that can contribute to your skin woes. 

With the information presented here and the tips provided, you are already on your way to moisturized skin, making that persistent dryness a thing of the past.

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