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About Dry Skin and Its Causes

What Causes Dry Skin?

When your skin is dry, it can feel tight and itchy, be more prone to break out and look dull and flaky. All of these symptoms are signals your skin is sending you that it’s thirsty. While you can lather on all the moisturizer you want, you have to get to the root of the issue to confront it properly.

In short, dry skin is lacking the moisture it needs to function as it should. This could be because it’s not properly hydrated or it could be because the top layer of the skin is damaged and can’t retain moisture. There are a number of things that could be causing either a lack of moisture or damage to your skin’s top layer, or both.

So, what causes dry skin in the first place? We’re glad you asked. Below, we dive into the causes of dry skin, some of which may surprise you, but we wouldn’t leave you there. We’ll also show you how you can fix your dry skin depending on the cause of it so you can get to work and start seeing the healthy glow of moisturized skin sooner rather than later.

Surprising Causes of Dry Skin

1. Overwashing

We all know cleansing your skin is important, but there is such a thing as too much cleansing. Yes, this is challenging everything you ever thought about cleansing, but hear us out. The constant act of washing your face can strip it of the natural oils it needs to protect itself and stay hydrated.

How To Fix It: Focus on deep cleansing in the evening, and consider ditching the morning cleanse, or simply use an ultra-gentle cleanser in your skincare routine for dry skin such as our Sensitive Skin Cleanser in the morning. This super gentle cleanser will keep your skin’s natural oils intact.

Pro Tip: You can also “reignite” your nighttime products in the morning by simply spritzing with a Moisture Mist.

2. Harsh Cleansers

A cleanser’s job is to remove makeup, bacteria, grease, and dirt. In this fight against heavy makeup and breakout-causing bacteria, harsh cleansers are often used. The problem is, harsh cleansers, such as those containing sulfates, can’t tell the difference between your skin’s natural oils and the unnatural ones. They can easily rid your skin of even the good oils skin needs. These cleansers can also disrupt the skin barrier, leading to dryness. 

How To Fix It: Swap a stripping cleanser for a hydrating one. Our Milk & Honey Cleanser gently removes impurities while nourishing dry, dehydrated skin.

3. Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Skincare is a balancing act. While your priority may be fighting acne, some of the ingredients commonly used to clarify skin can lead to skin dryness. This includes popular ingredients like salicylic acid and retinol.

How To Fix It: Consider decreasing how often you use these products. Try going from twice daily to only at night or from every night to every other night. Make sure you are also rehydrating your skin with moisturizer. The myth that oily, acne-prone skin doesn’t need moisturizer is just that—a myth. Try a calming formula such as our Sensitive Skin Moisturizer.

4. Hot Water

If you were tempted to skip over this section, we don’t blame you. Nothing feels better than an extra hot shower or a hot rinse on your face in the morning, especially in the chilly winter months. Unfortunately, the hotter the water, the worse for your skin. Hot water strips the skin’s natural oils that keep it moisturized.

How To Fix It: Consider turning the knob down to warm instead of hot at least when washing your face. Your skin will thank you.

5. Indoor Heat

It’s not just the temperature outside that can dry your skin. The temperature inside can dry skin too! Heaters decrease the humidity levels inside, causing the air to suck even more moisture from your skin.  

How To Fix It: Run a humidifier at home to help restore moisture to the air in your house.

6. The Weather

Not all causes of severely dry skin are “your fault.” There are some things you can’t control i.e. the weather. When a cold front comes in, your skin can instantly feel attacked. This is because the air lacks the humidity typical in warmer months, so it pulls moisture from the skin. The cold air doesn’t help either. The combination results in dry, irritated skin.

How To Fix It: Supply your skin with extra moisture during the winter months when the elements are against it. Reach for a heavier moisturizing cream than you typically use during the summer months such as our ultra-rich PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream. It features peptides and ceramides that are great for your skin!

Whether it’s genetics or one of these causes giving you dry skin, you can learn how to treat dry skin and get it the hydration it needs with dryness specific products. Armed with Sanitas’ best products for dry skin in your cabinet and the information above, you’ll be well equipped to both treat and prevent dry skin.

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Moisture Mist

a moisture infusing spray | hydrate
$18.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Sensitive Skin Moisturizer

a daily moisturizer | sensitive
$58.00 or subscribe and save 5%
peptiderm moisturizing cream

PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream

a redensifying moisturizer | age defy
$100.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Sensitive Skin Cleanser

a daily cleanser | sensitive
$32.00 or subscribe and save 5%

Milk & Honey Cleanser

a daily cleanser | dry
$32.00 or subscribe and save 5%
Alexis Mayne

Alexis Mayne

Love what's in our bottles? Alexis is a big part of the team that makes it happen. For more than 10 years, she's been instrumental in formulating and producing the Sanitas Skincare you love. Her areas of expertise include the science of skin, finding active ingredients that get results and connecting with the purest and most responsible ingredient suppliers. She also works closely with our Boulder-based manufacturing team to make sure our products are effective, safe and consistent, each and every time.


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