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By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Sun, Sep 15, 2019


Fix dry skin with simple dermatologist recommended skin care.

Dry skin is damaged skin. It looks flakey and can itch or sting. It can look crepey and old too. What you are seeing on the outside represents a compromised skin barrier. Dermatologist call dry skin ‘xerosis’. It can lead to eczema. Skin water is lost across the damaged skin barrier and irritating solvents and soaps enter the skin more readily. Harsh weather will further damage skin, causing worsening of dryness. Allergens penetrate more readily too, leading to lifelong allergic reactions to such ubiquitous things like fragrance, metal and personal care product preservatives. It’s a cycle you want to stop.

The 3 most common reason's a man will get dry skin?

  1. It can happen from exposure to harsh skin cleansing with strong soaps and really hot water (remember that’s how you get the grease off pot and pans fast – and it's just too harsh for human skin!)
  2. Exposure to harsh weather that pulls out skin water and damages skin protein.
  3. Exposure to solvents and chemicals that pull out important skin lipids and damage protein. These are the components of your skin’s ‘waterproofing’ barrier. Protein rich dead cells are stacked like bricks in a mortar of lipid. That structure needs to stay healthy and intact for your skin barrier to stay strong. 

What are the best ways for a man to treat and prevent dry skin?

  • Wear protection when you are in harsh weather such as gloves, ski face mask etc.
  • Wear gloves when you use harsh solvents, or wash solvents and chemicals off your skin promptly after touching them.
  • Change how you cleanse and moisturize your skin using targeted products to prevent and heal dry skin.

The best skin care to prevent and heal dry skin.

Use gentle soaps and cleansers. Chose natural soaps rich in glycerin, or pH balanced soaps. Great options for natural soaps include my Naturally Best Bar Soap, Natural Shower Gels and All Natural Foaming Liquid Hand Soap. pH balanced cleanser options include my Daily Foaming Face Cleanser (which also has the perfect foam for wet shaving), VaniCream Cleansing Bar.

Cleanse skin with only warm water, not steamy hot water. Once dry skin is controlled, you may be able to use hot water again without difficulty, but healing will be faster if you tone down the temperature until your skin barrier is well again.

After washing skin, towel dry and apply a good moisturizer within the ‘magic 3 minutes’. This allows moisturizer to trap water. Use rich moisturizers made with oils and/or smart ingredients that hold water in to skin. The best healing oils are found in my Natural Face and Body Lotion (rubs in nicely to even hairy areas of skin), Natural Face and Body Butter and my Facial Booster Oils. ‘Smart’ water binding ingredients include hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA, glycerin (these 3 are what makes my Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum so effective), ceramides and squalane (as found in my Daily Face Creams).

Even oily skin can suffer from xerosis. Pick your moisturizer for your skin type. Thinner products rub in better to hairy skin such as a man’s arms or legs, or if you have facial hair. I've included the best sunscreens for dry skin below as well. 

Know that some common skin problems can seem like dry skin but they are actually a rash. These include seborrhea (facial seborrhea and scalp dandruff) and rosacea. I've included products for those on this page. I've also included products for dry and scaly feet too. 

Once your xerosis is healed, consider using glycolic acid products on your face, arms, legs and trunk to keep skin hydrated and smooth at the same time. Glycolic acid is an AHA that helps skin look and feel younger. It also helps skin barrier strength by compacting the dead skin cell layer to effectively polish it with its own dead cells. Skin looks younger, feels softer and resists dryness better with glycolic acid products.