The Experts Reveal Why Your Skin Is Dry

The cornerstone of healthy skin lies in the moisture content of your complexion. While multiple factors go into preventing the most common signs of aging, one that can’t be disregarded is the importance of keeping skin hydrated. “Moisture is important. Without it, the epidermis can’t act as a barrier and protect the skin from infection,” says San Francisco dermatologist Vic Narurkar, MD. Whether your skin is oily, dry or somewhere in between, moisturizing it from the outside in and the inside out is key to keeping it smooth, plump and youthful. Not sure what’s causing your dry skin?  It probably has to do with at least one of these factors:

The weather. When air is void of moisture, dry skin can ensue. “Dry air causes an evaporation of moisture in the skin,” says New York dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD. Low humidity levels force skin enzymes to look for a source of hydration, leading to dry patches 

The sun. UVA and UVB rays deplete the skin of moisture. Even though the sun may seem to have a drying effect on the outer layer of skin, UV rays break down collagen and elastin levels at the lower level which makes the skin rough to the touch.

Chronic skin conditions. Regular skin conditions like eczema can disturb moisture levels and skin texture. “It’s an inflammatory process that disrupts the barrier and alters the metabolic processes of the skin cells,” says West Palm Beach dermatologist Kenneth R. Beer, MD.

Overwashing. Cleansing the skin too much strips away moisture. “Soaps can be very drying,” says New York dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. “It’s best to use a mild cleanser.” Too much detergent, soap or alcohol throws off the skin’s pH, resulting in a lack of hydration. 

Ingredients that are drying. Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), glycolic and salicylic acids, and retinol can dry out skin, leaving it flaky. “Use products with ingredients in their purest form and provide nutrients to heal and strengthen,” says celebrity aesthetician Tammy Fender. 

The aging process. With age, the skin’s ability to naturally hold onto moisture depletes. The less water in the skin cell, the drier it becomes. Inflammation and free radicals are partially responsible for inhibiting the skin’s ability to retain water.