How to Get Rid of Dry, Flaky Skin Overnight
Anyone who’s experienced the discomfort of dry, flaky skin wants a fix, and fast. Below you’ll find a brief list of dry skin dos and don’ts, all supported by published research. Read on to find out how to get rid of dry skin on your face, body, and lips.
- Know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin: They’re not interchangeable terms, and dry skin remedies sometimes differ from the solutions for dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type: It consistently feels tight and parched, with no visible oil. Dehydrated skin can come and go, and is generally caused either by seasonal climate changes or by using the wrong skincare products. It commonly feels dry (and can sometimes look flaky) under a layer of oil.
- Know which skincare ingredients best help boost and/or retain moisture:
- Hyaluronic acid is present in your skin naturally—plus, as a skincare ingredient, it’s proven capable of holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It’s an ideal hydrator for excessively dry skin (and can also help dehydrated skin).
- Ceramides are lipids (aka fats) that naturally comprise over 50% of skin’s surface. One of their main functions is to prevent moisture loss, so—like hyaluronic acid—they’re virtually unmatched as skincare ingredients when it comes to helping get rid of flaky dry skin. Ceramides can literally smooth, revive, and secure surface skin cells that would otherwise look dried out.
- AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid not only exfoliate to remove the top layers of dead, dry skin, but also increase skin’s ability to hold on to vital hydration, easing future signs of dryness.
- Nourishing, non-fragrant plant oils like jojoba, safflower, and sunflower (among a long list of others) can work wonders for scaly dry skin. But make sure you know the difference between soothing plant oils and fragrant essential oils, which are harsh, irritating, and drying. When in doubt, let our online ingredients dictionary be your guide.
- Omega fatty acids are also a weightless hydrator for dry, flaky skin, with their ability to calm and soothe sensitivity and to reinforce skin’s surface.
To heal dry skin, it’s essential to pay close attention to ingredient lists, to swap out products if needed, and perhaps to change some ingrained behaviors—but your newly soft, plumper-looking, smoother-feeling skin will be well worth the effort:
- Don’t put any fragranced products on your skin (yes, that includes lip and body products). Fragrance is the number one cause of sensitized skin.
- Don’t use products containing sensitizing ingredients like denatured alcohol, essential oils, mint, menthol, and eucalyptus.
- Don’t use products containing clays and starches; these absorbents won’t damage your skin, but they can be drying if your skin isn’t oily.
- Don’t use abrasive scrubs to exfoliate; rather, use a gentle leave-on product that invisibly, effortlessly sloughs dead skin. This will allow your moisturizing products to absorb more fully and work more effectively.
- Don’t use very hot water; we know, a hot bath or shower feels perfect in winter, but cooling the temperature a bit will help prevent uncomfortable dryness and flaking. Post-shower, apply a layer of soothing, emollient lotion. If your skin is very dry or even scaly, we've love for you to try our CLINICAL Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter, which is luxuriously thick and even suitable for eczema-prone skin. You get rich, lasting hydration (12 hours!) without a slippery, greasy feel. Another option is our Daily Replenishing Body Cream, a fast-absorbing moisturizer featuring ceramides, a peptide, and antioxidants for daily use for all-day dry skin relief.
- Don’t use bar soap or bar cleansers, even on your body. Rather, switch to a hydrating cream or oil cleanser. The ingredients that keep soaps and bar cleansers in bar form can leave a residue on skin that keeps your moisturizers from doing their job.
References for this Information:
Skin Research and Technology, August 2015, pages 366–372
Clinical Cosmetic Investigative Dermatology, August 2015, pages 413–421
Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition, Tisserand, R., Young, R., Elsevier Ltd., 2014, pages 69–98
Journal of Clinical and Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, October 2014, pages 2473–2483
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, July 2014, pages 177–184
Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, June 2014, pages 25–32
Archives of Dermatological Research, March 2013, pages 151–162
Aesthetic Dermatology, October 2012, pages 20–23; and March 2009, pages 38–43
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!