Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 12th Feb 2021

Dry Skin!? Here’s What You Need To Avoid While Choosing A Skincare Product

What You Need To Avoid While Choosing A Skincare Product

You don't know the plight of having dry skin unless you have dealt with it yourself. But after listening to the struggle people with dry skin face every day, we've thought of making things easier for them. We did our research and studied facts and data given to us by various skin experts worldwide. This was done to make a list of things that can be harmful to dry skin.

This article would discuss what ingredients you need to avoid in your skincare products or cosmetics, if you have dry skin. So, without much ado, let's begin. 

What Do We Mean By Dry Skin? 

Dry skin is a skin condition when the skin cells lack adequate moisture, making the skin flaky or scaly in appearance. Dry skin can often get cracked or peeled off, leading to bleeding. An individual can have either a dehydrated type of skin or a combination type of skin where you can have both oily/normal skin with dry patches here and there. Dry skin can affect any part of our body but usually affects the hands, arms, and legs. 

What Factors can Contribute to Dry Skin?

One can develop dry skin due to several factors:  

1. Genetic Predisposition:

one of the most common causes of dry skin is your genetic build-up. Though it can be hard to manage dry skin, you can improve your skin condition by following a simple skincare regime.  

2. Extremities of weather:

you might not usually have dry skin, but too much heat and cold can cause your skin to become dehydrated. Though seasonal or climate-oriented, this type of dry skin can be a headache. But great moisturizing can do the trick to solve the problem.  

3. Showering with Hot Water:

Showering with hot water after a long hard day can be bliss, but it can be harmful to your skin. Making this a regular habit strips your skin of its natural moisture and oil and makes the skin severely dry.  

4. Other Skin Conditions:

Skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis can predispose the skin to excessive dryness.  

5. Harsh Soaps and detergents:

Hard soaps containing strong chemicals can strip the skin of its natural oil and moisturizer, leaving the skin more vulnerable to more damage.  

What Ingredients Do You Need to Avoid if You Have Dry Skin? 

1. Salicylic Acid 

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Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid often accredited for treating non-inflammatory acne. This ingredient can penetrate the deeper skin layers, exfoliate at a cellular level, clear off excess sebum and dirt, and grime. However, this ingredient can be harsh for damaged and dry skin and can lead to skin irritation and inflammation.  

2. Benzoyl Peroxide 

Benzoyl peroxide is another potent active ingredient known for its ability to fight against inflammatory acne-like pimples and blemishes. They also have smaller molecules that can invade your skin layer and remove oil and dirt from the skin. This ingredient, too, can be very harsh on dry skin. Studies have also shown that using benzoyl peroxide can cause some flaking and peeling of the skin. Using this can worsen dry skin.  

3. Alpha Hydroxy Acids 

Alpha hydroxy acids are chemical exfoliants that help remove the dead and dried up cells from the superficial skin layer. Though often suggested as the chemical peel of choice for normal to oily skin, AHAs can be harsh on dry skin. They can cause skin irritation and redden dry skin. 

4. Alcohol

Alcohol is often added in skincare products meant for oily or combination type of skin to give an instant matte feel on the skin. It can dehydrate the skin, which is not something you desire if you already have dry skin. Applying products with alcohol on dry skin can make it appear lackluster.  

5. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate 

Sodium lauryl sulfate & Sodium Laureth sulfate are usually added to soaps and cleansers because of their ability to clear off excess oil and dirt from the skin's superficial layers. These compounds strip skin of its natural moisture and oily skin, which can worsen dry skin, leading to irritation and allergic reaction. 

6. Retinoids 

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Retinoids are often regarded as one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients. It can greatly reduce wrinkles and fine lines by increasing collagen production. But some studies have shown that in the first few weeks after starting to use retinoids, the skin can get dry and develop redness, peeling, and inflammation.  

7. Parabens 

Parabens have been found to sensitize skin that can even lead to contact dermatitis in severe cases. As dry skin is at high risk of getting damaged, parabens can be harsh on the skin. These can also increase the risk of sun damage on your skin.  

8. Aluminum 

Aluminum, if it penetrates the skin's protective barrier, can be quite harmful to our overall health. It can even lead to bone diseases and renal impairment. As dry skin runs a greater risk of being cracked and damaged, aluminum's risk invading the skin layer is higher.  

9. Siloxanes 

Siloxanes are often added to skin and hair products as a conditioner to smoothen and soften the skin and hair. But some studies have shown it to be a potential endocrine disruptor. As dry skin often has a damaged barrier, the risk becomes greater.  

10. Fragrances 

Synthetic fragrances can cause skin irritation, itchy and reddened skin, and even hives. Thus, skincare products with synthetic fragrances are a strict no-no for dry and flaky skin.  

Tips to Take Care of Dry Skin:

Extreme dry skin can often get flaky and itchy, which might crack and bleed. With lesser moisture content in the skin cells, healing of such dried up skin can take a while.

Here are several tips that you can follow to improve your skin's condition:  

  • Refrain from taking a hot shower. It might worsen the condition and make your skin very dry.  
  • Wash your face using a mild, fragrance-free cleanser. 
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after washing your face. This will help in sealing the moisturizer in your skin layer.  
  • Look for products containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, lanolin, etc.  
  • Avoid products with alcohol; it might dry your skin and irritate it further.    
  • If you have extremely dry skin, try placing a humidifier in your room. It will help in hydrating your skin and prevent excessive drying up of your skin.  
  • And above all, drink plenty of water!!! Your body needs internal hydration, too, along with external moisturization.  

Ingredients to Include in Your Skincare if you Have Dry Skin: 

1. Hyaluronic Acid 

Hyaluronic acid is known for its significant moisturizing effect. It is a humectant whose nano-molecules can penetrate the deepest skin layers and help draw in the surroundings' moisture and keep the skin well-hydrated.  

2. Ceramides  

Ceramides are a class of fatty acids that can help in strengthening the skin's lipid barrier. The barrier prevents permeability that locks the moisture in and prevents water loss from the skin. Ceramides keep the skin adequately moisturized. It also reduces fine lines and wrinkles, which is more evident in individuals with dry skin.  

3. Antioxidants 

Dry skin often gets flaky and can peel off on its own. Antioxidant-rich ingredients like Vitamin C can help in repairing the damaged skin cells and also reduce inflammation. Antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals in the skin, which are often responsible for the development of premature aging, heart diseases, and even cancer. It also stimulates collagen production, which is vital for retaining the tautness of the skin.

4. Plant Butters and Oils 

Plant butter such as Shea Butter, Hemp Seed Butter, or Cocoa butter is considered great moisturizing agents that can help improve dry skin. They also have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help in treating skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. They have antioxidant properties too that help in improving damaged skin cells.  

5. Glycerin 

Glycerin is a natural humectant that helps in conditioning dry skin by attracting moisture from the environment to make the skin soft and supple. It also helps in faster wound healing by enhancing the skin's reparative process. Glycerin is beneficial in treating several skin disorders and in improving the skin texture.  

6. Squalane 

Squalane is a natural emollient that makes it an excellent moisturizer for dry skin. It can lock in the available moisture in the skin cells and does not allow it to evaporate. Squalane helps in soothing extremely dry skin and improves dry patches.  

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7. Lanolin Oil 

Lanolin oil is a well-known emollient that can hydrate the skin and has a soothing effect. This ingredient gets absorbed in the skin and forms a barrier that traps the moisture inside the skin cells and does not let them escape. A study has indicated that lanolin oil can diminish water loss through skin by about 20-30 percent, which is quite significant for people with dry skin.  

The Bottom Line: 

People with dry skin will say that dealing with it is no cakewalk. But a little diligence and vigilance can make a real difference. When you know what to avoid, you have a key in your hand to manage your dry skin in a better way. We hope the above article will aid/help you better insight into the ingredients beneficial and harmful for your skin.