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6 Tips For Managing Extremely Dry Skin

Struggling with extremely dry skin? Kiehl’s can help. Discover our best tips for addressing dry skin on your face, plus our best products for dry skin, here.

When you have extremely dry skin, it can mess with every facet of your skincare routine. Dry skin is harder to moisturize, more prone to irritation, and more likely to show the effects of premature aging. Not to mention the fact that it can be downright uncomfortable in some cases. Searching for dry skin remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms and also strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier should be priority number one for anyone suffering from dryness.

That can sometimes be easier said than done, as there are myriad moisturizing products to choose from. Add to that the often-overlooked difference between dryness and dehydration (the former indicates a lack of oil; the latter a lack of water), and it’s not tough to see why managing extremely dry skin can often be a confusing endeavor. To help you sort through the noise and find products that can help, we’ve put together this how-to for soothing very dry skin. Keep reading to learn what you can do to turn your skin from flaky and parched to supple and smooth.

How Do I Fix Extremely Dry Skin?

While you can’t “fix” your skin type, the right routine can help improve the look and feel of your skin and alleviate the signs of severe dryness. Here, discover six of our top tips for managing extremely dry skin.

Tip #1:

Use a Gentle Kiehl’s Face Wash

If you’re struggling to manage extremely dry skin on your face, you’ll want to switch to a gentle cleanser that’ll remove dirt and oil without disrupting your skin’s natural moisture barrier. We recommend Ultra Facial Cleanser. This classic Kiehl’s formula with squalane and avocado oil effectively dissolves dirt and other debris without stripping the skin of moisture. It’s pH-balanced to help maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier, and it’s dermatologist-tested for gentleness on all skin types, including very dry skin.

Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

Another option is to look for a cleanser that moisturizes while it cleanses, like Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil. The cleansing oil, which contains squalane and evening primrose oil among a slew of other skin-friendly plant oils, melts away impurities (even makeup) while helping to soothe and soften the skin. Additionally, the unique formula is non-comedogenic, and it’s suitable for all skin types. For the best results, we recommend massaging the oil onto your dry skin, then adding water once you’re ready to rinse it off.

Tip #2:

Turn Down The Hot Water

Speaking of water, temperature matters—more than you might think. While a long, hot shower is one of life’s greatest pleasures, it’s also a major contributor to dry skin. Soaking in hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and weaken its natural moisture barrier. This, in turn, can make you more susceptible to dryness and irritation. The same goes for washing your face with hot water. Bottom line: It’s better to keep your water on the cooler side.

Aside from turning the temperature down, you can use a no-rinse facial cleanser, like Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser, to help reduce your exposure to drying hot water. This ultra-mild liquid cleanser with centella asiatica extract and glycerin provides an efficient but gentle cleanse and helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. This cleanser is also a great option for those who struggle with sensitivity, as it’s made without soaps, surfactants, fragrances, or alcohol and is dermatologist-tested on sensitive skin. You can simply soak a clean cotton pad with the liquid wash and swipe that over your face for a gentle, rinse-free start to your skincare routine.

Tip #3:

Invest In a Hydrating Serum

Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum

While dryness and dehydration are two different things, they can (and often do) coexist. Oils in your skin help trap water; without sufficient oils, your skin may become more vulnerable to water loss. To help keep your skin hydrated, we recommend incorporating a lightweight serum, like Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum, into your routine. This unique formula hydrates and helps plump the skin, improving the appearance of dehydration. It also helps improve skin’s elasticity and smoothes skin’s texture to reveal a more even-looking, hydrated appearance over time. It’s suitable for all skin types, including extremely dry skin, and gentle enough to be used even around the eyes.

Tip #4:

Switch To a Face Cream

Lotions with humectants are great for dehydrated skin, but dry skin needs something a little richer. The best moisturizers for extremely dry skin are creams with skin-soothing emollients and occlusives to help trap in moisture. Try Creme d'Elegance Repairateur—the thick, dense treatment with cocoa butter is one of our best face creams for extremely dry skin. Despite its ultra-rich texture, the nourishing and deeply-moisturizing formula absorbs easily without leaving behind an oily residue. You can use it day or night (or both) for skin that feels smoother and more supple over time.

If your dryness is accompanied by irritation or sensitivity, we recommend Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream. The hypoallergenic formula provides intense, long-lasting moisture and is clinically-demonstrated to help repair the moisture barrier of compromised skin.* This rich, creamy moisturizer also helps protect extra-dry skin from further damage. Plus, it absorbs quickly to help prevent excessive rubbing. It’s suitable for all skin types but best used to help replenish and soothe dry skin in need of serious TLC.

*Based on an instrumental test of the skin barrier and clinical grading in an 8-week study.

Tip #5:

Add Oils To Your Routine

Applying face oil after smoothing on your moisturizer can help address very dry skin on your face. At night, we suggest reaching for Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil. This nourishing nighttime face oil boosts essential moisture and helps replenish the skin while you sleep. It visibly reduces fine lines in just one night, while consistent use helps firm and smooth the skin to reveal a more radiant, youthful appearance over time. After allowing your moisturizer to absorb, dispense two to three drops of this lavender oil-infused formula onto clean palms. Rub your hands together, then lightly press the oil onto your face, focusing on areas prone to severe dryness. You can use face oils during the daytime, too—check out our article The Best Face Oils For Wrinkles and Anti-Aging for more information.

Tip #6:

Use a Kiehl’s Face Mask While You Sleep

Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask with 10.5% Squalane

Last but not least, make the most of the time you spend sleeping by incorporating an overnight face mask, like Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask with 10.5% Squalane, into your regular nighttime skincare routine. Made specifically to help address very dry skin on the face, this rich balm-to-oil formula helps replenish and stabilize the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also helps reduce overnight moisture loss, leaving your skin visibly less flaky and healthier-looking by morning. We recommend using this nighttime face mask around three times per week, though you can also use it as a quick 15-minute mask to help hydrate your skin anytime it feels excessively dry or tight. And for those who love multi-tasking products, you’ll be pleased to know that the rich formula also doubles as an ultra-gentle cleansing balm suitable for all skin types.

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