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Dry Skin Shop by condition

By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Tue, Oct 15, 2019

Treat dry skin by using a skin care routine that retains skin moisture and heals damaged skin barrier.

how to have smooth skin and treat dry skin

Any part of your skin can suffer from dryness. The first and most common areas of your skin to show dryness are usually the arms and legs. Your hands and feet can also become dry, and here the dry skin often thickens on the palms and soles. Facial skin is fragile, thin, and often becomes dry with age as oil glands produce less oil. Dry skin is called xerosis. All of your skin will become more prone to dryness as you age. 

Dry skin is worse in dry climates or in winter when outside air is windy and cold, and inside air is heated.

This environmental combination draws moisture out of skin, leading to damaged skin barrier and skin dryness. Lost or damaged skin lipids, protein and water are all involved. Heal dryness, and prevent skin chapping and dry skin eczema with simple changes in your skin care routine.

Remember, Complete Skin Care gives you the best results because it provides everything your skin needs to stay healthy. Dr. Bailey's Complete Skin Care Routine involves the 4 essential steps of,


What is the best way to wash and cleanse dry skin?

Best skin cleansers for dry skin


 best natural soap for dry skinAlways cleanse skin using only gentle, hypoallergenic, non-drying soaps and skin cleansers. Excellent options include naturally made soaps that retain deeply hydrating glycerin such as my Naturally Best Bar Soap, Natural Foaming Liquid Hand Soap and Natural Shower Gel.


best hand soap to prevent dry skin


 best facial cleanser for dry skinOther great options include pH balanced SYNDET skin cleansers such as VaniCream Cleansing Bar and my Extremely Gentle and Daily Foaming Facial Cleansers.

Lather-up soap or cleanser on only the parts of your skin that need it, such as skin areas that create body odor, have excess oil, or that have become soiled. I tell my patients these areas are usually the face, neck, upper chest and back, armpits, groin, buttocks, hands and feet. The larger skin surface areas of the trunk, arms and legs are drier, less oily, less often soiled, and don’t typically need direct application of cleanser or soap lather. 

Use cool to warm water when cleansing dry skin; bathe and wash with cooler water to prevent over-stripping of your natural skin’s natural oils. Hot water removes skin oils too efficiently, just as it removes oily residue from dishes, pots and pans. Your skin is not that tough, so use warm water instead of hot water to prevent dry skin. Always rinse all soap residue completely from your skin so it does not continue to pull precious oils from your skin after bathing. 

Multitasking Options for Dry Body Skin

Combine Step 1 & 2: CLEANSE AND CORRECT

Multitasking cleansers will tackle flaky scale when you add exfoliation twice a week during the bathing and moisturizing process. This can help to remove dry skin flakes on your skin surface, and improve skin barrier integrity. You can physically exfoliate by using a rough shower sponge or exfoliating cloth such as the Salux Cloth. You can also use pH balanced exfoliating cleansers such as my Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser. This helps to instantly smooth skin texture.

Combine Step 2 & 3: CORRECT AND HYDRATE 

By adding ‘chemical’ exfoliation with a moisturizer that contains an alpha hydroxy acid after toweling skin dry you will create smooth and hydrated skin! My favorite AHA to smooth skin texture is glycolic acid. An excellent option for body skin is my Glycolic Acid Body Lotion. It also helps to correct skin structure by compacting the dead cell layer, improving barrier integrity to help reduce the risk of dryness. The best glycolic acid products to use for dry skin are moisturizers that contain high, professional-grade levels of glycolic acid. These also stimulate your skin to produce hyaluronic acid, which helps skin to naturally hold onto moisture to prevent skin dryness. Only use glycolic acid once any redness and itch from dry skin is healed.

I'm such a fan of multasking AHA and physical exfoliation care for smooth body

best skin care for smooth, soft, hydrated arm and leg skin

skin that I developed my Ultra-Fast Triple Action Body Smoothing Skin Care Kit. I depend on this routine to keep my own skin soft, smooth and hydrated year round.  

What are the best skin creams and lotions for dry skin?

best skin creams for dry skin


This is the most important skin care step to heal dry skin (xerosis). You hydrate skin by applying a moisturizing cream, lotion, oil or ointment to your skin daily.


best natural lotion for dry skin

Mineral oil and petrolatum are the classic skin moisturizing ingredients in skin care products. Many inexpensive and popular "dermatologist approved" products are based on these petroleum derived emollients.  They work well but my preference are natural plant-based botanical oils.

I prefer to formulate hydrating botanical oils into creams and lotions made with other water binding ingredients such as glycerin. Find my favorite ingredient combinations in my Natural Lotion and Natural Butter.  These moisturizers are deeply hydrating and hypoallergenic yet never feel heavy or greasy on your skin. 

best hyaluronic acid serum for dry skin

For even better results, layer your moisturizer over a serum made with advanced ingredients that hold water in the skin will help fight skin dryness. Top ingredients to look for include sodium PCA (part of your skin's Natural Moisturizing Factor), hyaluronic acid and glycerin. My Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum  contains high concentrations of hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA to instantly rehydrate and plump dry facial skin. 

best face cream for dry skin

Top this water holding serum with one of my Daily Face Creams (Dry to Normal or Oily to Normal skin formulations) that have additional ingredients such as ceramides and squalane to replenish vital skin barrier components. Know that all moisturizers work best when applied within the magic 3 minutes after skin has been wet and the excess surface water toweled off.

How does sun protection help prevent dry skin? 

best sunscreens for dry skin


Prevent penetration of UV rays into skin daily. UV damage causes skin thinning, structural fragility, and ultimately dryness. Sun damaged skin gradually looks like “an old leather purse”, and dries out and flakes easily. Get the best UV protection from pure mineral zinc oxide sunscreens such as my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Mineral Sunscreens. 

Does drinking enough water treat and prevent dry skin?

No! Contrary to popular belief, your dry skin is not caused by your failing to drink enough water. I’m sure you’ve noticed that taking a bath does not quench your thirst. Your body is more complex; only the most severe dehydration will cause skin to become flaccid and dry. This means that if you have dry skin, your skin care routine is how you fix the dryness.

best skin care to hydrate severely dry skin

Get rid of dry skin with your skin care routine, not a glass of water!

The best skin care to prevent and treat dry skin involves a complete routine with the right products to Cleanse, Correct, Hydrate and Protect your skin. Your skin care choices can keep your skin supple, hydrated and with a more dewy and youthful appearance at any age.