Whether your skin is normal, oily, dry or a combination, everyone experiences dry, flaky skin occasionally. Flaky and dry skin often itches and it can make you self-conscious about your appearance. In most cases, dry, flaky skin is easy to remedy with the proper skincare routine and some lifestyle and environmental changes.
The bar soap you use on the rest of your body can be too drying for your face. Some soaps strip away the natural oils that keep your facial skin moist and smooth.
A good facial cleanser is mild, gentle and free from harsh chemical ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate. Look for a facial cleanser natural ingredients, no heavy scents and natural oils with moisturizing properties.
Wash your face twice daily with cool or warm water — hot water strips away the skin's natural oils. After you wash, pat your skin dry with a soft cloth.
You probably already use moisturizer, but you may not be moisturizing often enough or at the right time. Slather your skin with moisturizer twice a day right after you cleanse your face. Moisturizing after cleansing while your pores are open helps the moisturizer absorb deeply into your skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends looking for a moisturizer that contains natural oils such as olive or jojoba. Other moisturizing ingredients to look for include shea butter, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum.
Give your face a dose of hydration with a weekly face mask. Rub fresh aloe vera gel thickly onto your skin. Wait 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
Exfoliation helps slough off dry, dead skin, which is particularly helpful before applying makeup. However dry skin is sensitive skin and should be treated gently.
The American Academy of Dermatology suggests exfoliating once or twice a week with a soft washcloth and a mild exfoliator containing natural alpha and beta hydroxy acids. These natural chemicals dissolve dead, flaky skin rather than scrubbing it off — and taking your skin's protective barrier with it.
Environmental and Lifestyle Factors
A good skincare routine is only part of the dry skin battle. If you live in a dry climate, there's not a lot you can do when you're outdoors. But you can take steps when you're indoors to create a moister environment for your skin by getting a humidifier, which adds moisture to the air.
According to the Allergy & Air website, the ideal home humidity is between 30 and 50 percent; however, those with dry skin may find keeping the humidity at 45 to 50 percent more comfortable.
Sun, wind and cold can all be drying to the skin. Wear sunscreen daily and protect your skin from prolonged exposure to the elements whenever possible. Smoking can also make dry skin worse, so quit smoking and avoid being around others who smoke.