Essential Skincare Tips for Dry Skin

8 Essential Skincare Tips for Dry Skin

Say goodbye to dryness and hello to a hydrated, glowing complexion. Discover the best skincare for dry skin with this complete guide.
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Just about everyone deals with dry skin at some point. Maybe it crinkles your cheeks as you smile amongst the golden leaves of fall. Or perhaps the first thing you do after commuting home in February’s relentless chill is slather moisturizer on your thirsty face.

Regardless of the reason, paying attention to the proper skin care for dry skin can be a game changer. This article will delve into the science behind skin dryness, the array of skin care products helpful in countering this issue, and the lifestyle elements behind skin dryness. Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie at skin care, dry skin won’t stand a chance once you’re through this crash course.

Acne and anti-aging products

Understanding Dry Skin

Known in scientific and dermatological circles as xerosis, dry skin occurs most commonly during the cold months of the year or otherwise in hot, dry climates. This is because the skin tends to reflect the humidity of its surrounding environment.1 Xerosis, characterized by itchy, red, irritated, and flaky skin, can be exacerbated by excessive hot showers or baths, irritating clothing, harsh soaps, or toxins.

Living with dry skin can cause discomfort, reduce confidence, and even impact your quality of life. Luckily, there are proven steps you can take to manage these symptoms and improve skin hydration.

#1 Choosing the Right Cleanser

Cleansing is an essential part of any skincare routine; it helps to remove the day’s accumulated dirt, debris, and sebum and keep your pores unclogged. However, many cleansers disrupt the skin’s protective barrier, allowing moisture to escape and causing dryness and irritation.

Reckoning with the Skin Barrier

The stratum corneum, also known as the skin barrier, is composed of dead skin cells, or keratinocytes, bound in a lipid (fat) matrix. Because lipids are hydrophobic, they repel water, keeping moisture in while also keeping contaminants from the outside world out.2

Periodically removing excess buildup through exfoliation can be helpful, but overly frequent exfoliation or harsh cleansers can leave the skin bare and unprotected.

Some cleansers are designed with skin barrier maintenance in mind. Our GENTLECLEAN™ - Vitamin Infused Calming Wash is light enough to use every day, morning and night, and mitigates any potential irritation with calming green tea extract and vitamin C.

#2 Hydrating Moisturizers

Not all moisturizers behave the same way. Depending on your particular skincare journey, you may prioritize one type over another. It’s important to know that moisturizing ingredients fall into one of two categories:

  1. Humectants – These moisturizers attract water from the air and bring it deep into the skin’s surface.3 So, if you feel like you are developing dry, cracked, irritated, or dehydrated skin, look for a skincare product that contains humectants—and start drinking more water.
  2. Occlusives – Occlusives form a protective barrier over the skin, sealing in existing moisture and preventing it from escaping. Occlusives, unlike humectants, do not add moisture to already dry skin.

As you might guess, the ideal moisturizing routine combines the powers of humectants and occlusives—so your skin gains moisture and holds onto it.

For chronic dry skin care, choosing a humectant moisturizer is an excellent way to reintroduce moisture gently. CLEARSTEM’s line of moisturizers, including the HYDRAGLOW™ Stem Cell Moisturizer, contain both an occlusive (squalane) and a humectant (hyaluronic acid) to get the best of both worlds: first reintroducing moisture to thirsty skin and then trapping it in for lasting hydration.

#3 Dry Skin Masks and Treatment

Masks offer a more intensive treatment protocol for hydrating skin. The HYDRABERRY™Moisture Face Mask, for example, is a thick, luxurious option that still keeps sensitive and damaged skin in mind. The heavier texture and high concentration of nourishing ingredients in our face mask are perfect for a compromised skin barrier or extremely dry skin.

#4 Serums and Hyaluronic Acid

Think of serum as filling the gaps in your skincare routine left between moisturizer, cleanser, and SPF. These formulations exist specifically to deliver powerful active ingredients directly to your skin. Common ingredients in serum include antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents like vitamin C, retinoids, and hydrating skin superheroes like hyaluronic acid.

For dry skin concerns specifically, avoid retinoid and exfoliant serums, as those can exacerbate the issue. However, a serum like the CELLRENEW® - Collagen Stem Cell Serum is chock full of nourishing, non-toxic ingredients like collagen, green tea, and hyaluronic acid to keep you feeling replenished.

#5 Exfoliation for Dry Skin

Exfoliating with dry, rough skin is fraught with trade-offs. Using exfoliants can clear clogged pores and help with acne (which can be caused by dry skin in the first place), but it also has the potential to make skin dryness worse.

The solution here is to use a gentle exfoliation product with hydrating ingredients to counter any potential irritation at the source. Our VITAMIN SCRUB™ Antioxidant-Infused Scrub Cleanser contains nourishing components like green tea and vitamin C to ensure that you scrub away dead skin and oil without compromising on moisture.

#6 Sun Protection for Dry Skin

Sunscreen is an essential part of skincare for dry skin. While the word conjures images of beach days and picnics, UV protection is becoming increasingly part of our everyday routine. In fact, SPF may be more essential in your winter or fall skincare routine, as sunburn and UV damage can compound with the effects of low humidity, making irritation worse.

Solar radiation has been shown to reduce the protective effect of the skin barrier.4 We know how important the stratum corneum’s health is for keeping skin hydrated. For this reason, diligently applying SPF (even in the winter months) is an excellent step you can take to keep your skin healthy.

Choosing a sunscreen made with non-toxic, non-comedogenic ingredients helps as well. Many SPF products on the market cause as many problems as they solve. CLEARSTEM’s non-pore-clogging sunscreen for the face fulfill all of these criteria.

#7 Internal Factors for Skin Health

Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized doesn’t begin and end with topical solutions. Daily water intake plays a significant role in your skin’s hydration levels, too. So whether you’re taking a snow-studded winter walk or crushing deliverables at your desk, keep your water bottle close at hand. Aim for at least 3 liters of spring or mineral water per day.

This doesn’t just apply to drinking water and other fluids. Up to 20% of your daily liquid intake comes from food, so an anti-acne diet and other skin concerns plays a large role in managing dryness as well.5

Fruits and vegetables have high water content, so make sure to incorporate them into your diet for optimal skin health. Cucumbers and melons are our favorites for this. As a bonus, whole plant foods contain high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, many of which are associated with skin health and collagen production. You can’t go wrong with eating healthy.

We also highly suggest focusing on high-quality fats and olive or avocado oil to hydrate from within. Avoid dehydrating foods like sugar and caffeine as much as possible, and instead focus on healthy fats and omegas.

#8 Environmental and Daily Practices

Dry, rough skin isn’t just a you problem. Your surroundings almost certainly contribute to any itchiness, flakiness, or dryness you may be experiencing. Here are a few dermatologist-recommended tips for daily practices to make your environment as skin-friendly as possible:

  • Use a humidifier – Low humidity draws moisture out of your skin, leading to dryness. This happens in the fall and winter months and can be made worse by indoor heating systems. A simple fix is adding moisture back into the air using a humidifier.1
  • Turn down the shower temperature! – Scalding hot showers can strip the skin of protective keratinocytes that form the skin barrier. Although a hot shower may feel oh-so-nice on a chilly winter day, consider using warm water instead if you’re dealing with skin dehydration.1 At the very least just use lukewarm on your face and enjoy the heat in the form of steam instead of direct contact.
  • Dry your skin gently – After showering or washing, blot your face gently with a soft, clean towel to dry it. Rubbing vigorously or using a harsh towel can disrupt your skin barrier and cause irritation, leading to dryness down the road.1
  • Cut down alcohol consumption – In the winter months, the holidays can certainly tempt the imbibement of tasty cocktails. But if you deal with super-dry skin during the fall and winter months, try to limit your alcohol intake, as it can exacerbate dehydration and lead to other unwanted health effects.6 Experts say that females should try sticking to up to one drink per day and males up to two per day.6

Pairing these lifestyle alterations with a thoughtfully constructed skincare regimen can set you on the ideal path to making dryness a skin concern of the past.

Maintain Moisturized, Vibrant Skin with CLEARSTEM

With this expertise in mind, the cold, dry air is no match for your hydrated, glowing skin. With thoughtfully formulated and applied skin care, you’ll be able to treat your dull skin naturally. (With a few additional wellness benefits to boot.)

At CLEARSTEM, we focus on evidence-based and non-toxic stem cell skincare formulations to help you manage a wide range of common dermatological issues. Our lineup of products for dry, dull skin features many of the powerful ingredients we’ve talked about today.

Our offerings at CLEARSTEM don’t stop at solutions. Acne may be the only skin condition as common as dry skin. If you need help in that arena as well, try the hormonal acne supplement for a holistic approach to solving chronic blemishes or skincare for acne-prone skin for topical solutions.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing. 9 Ways to Banish Dry Skin.
  2. Glaser D. and Mattox, A. “Cutaneous Barrier Function, Moisturizer Effects and Formulation.” Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Practice. 22 November 2013
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Dermatologist Tips to Relieve Dry Skin.
  4. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Solar UV radiation reduces the barrier function of skin.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and Healthy Eating.
  6. Medical News Today. What are the short and long-term effects of alcohol on the skin?