Dry skin is a common concern, especially as we age. This is due to our skin having fewer natural oils, decreased cell renewal, a loss of hormones and the effects of sun damage. But dry skin – known medically as xeroderma – doesn’t discriminate. Anyone can suffer from xeroderma for a number of different reasons.
But even if you don’t have a medical-grade condition, it is very common for skin to suffer from dryness and dehydration.
Why is my skin dry?
The short answer is, your skin can become dry when it loses water or natural oils. There are lots of different reasons why this can happen, whether it’s genetics, environment (living in a dry climate for example), or usage of certain medications, harsh soaps and products or even chronic conditions.
“Dry skin, as distinct to dehydrated skin, means that the skin’s sebum production is imbalanced,” says Nicola Kropach, Aesthetics Rx Director and Product Development Specialist.
“Sebum is the skin’s natural oil substance; it is produced in the sebaceous glands which are small, oil-producing glands found within the skin, mostly located in the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin. Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles via a duct that allows for the flow of the sebum they produce into the hair follicle.
“Here the sebum travels to the surface of the skin. Sebum helps provide the surface of the skin with a barrier, preventing water loss from the deeper skin tissue, and also preventing unwanted substances entering the skin. An imbalance of sebum is a twofold problem in terms of moisturisation. Without the right amount of oil, the skins’ protective function is impaired and so trans epidermal water loss occurs, also rendering the skin dehydrated, the secondary issue.”
How do I cleanse dry skin?
In essence, your facial cleanser should remove dirt and build-up without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Different methods will work for different people, but there are some general do’s and dont’s to keep in mind when caring for dry skin.
“The best cleansing solution for dry skin is to select a cleansing product that has been formulated specifically for this skin type,” says Nicola. “A pH balanced cleanser free from harsh surfactants, artificial colours and fragrances, made for dry skin, works gently to lift impurities from the surface of the skin without stripping away or dissolving the skin’s natural oils. Avoid soaps, wipes and foams; opt for a gentle milk, cream or oil cleanser. Steer away from hot water in the bath or shower when cleansing. It is usually better to use lukewarm water over the basin for dry skin.”
- Choose gentle cleansers and apply them just as gently.
- Look for nourishing and hydrating ingredients when choosing a cleanser, such as shea butter and hyaluronic acid.
- Choose cleansers with ceramides (waxy lipid molecules). These will help to strengthen the skin’s barrier.
- Opt for non-comedogenic cleansers as these won’t clog your pores.
- Choose skin products with harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
- Choose skin products with retinoids. These are used to help reduce wrinkles and signs of ageing.
- Choose skin products with astringents which shrink or constrict tissue.
- Over-exfoliate your skin or do a skin peel.
If you’re in the market for a cleanser for dry skin, we’ve got you covered. Here are six great cleansers for dry skin:
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Arguably the best cleanser for dry skin, this inexpensive product is a non-comedogenic face and body cleanser containing a combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid. It removes dirt without stripping natural oils, while also hydrating and strengthening the skin’s barrier.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
This gentle cleanser removes surface oils and makeup with a rich blend of antioxidants. It also calms redness and is pH balanced to maintain the skin’s natural acidity.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser
Enriched with glycerin, this hypo-allergenic and simple formula works to hydrate the skin while removing grime and makeup. With no rubbing necessary for a gentle approach.
Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser
This cream cleanser melts away impurities and comforts redness. The non-drying product reduces irritation in the skin while preserving moisture balance.
Fenty Skin Jelly Oil Makeup Melting Cleanser
The unique jelly texture of this cleanser transforms into a lightweight oil to cleanse and hydrate the skin. With a custom blend of luxe oils and shea butter, your skin is left silky smooth without feeling stripped.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This gentle and creamy formula is clinially-proven to continuously hydrate the skin, protecting against dryness when removing dirt, makeup and grime.
Consult a dermatologist or skincare expert for your specific skin concerns.