Flaky skin is almost as annoying as a flaky friend. Good thing it’s a lot easier to fix! Learn the little habits that are making your skin parched, and how to tweak your routine for a complexion that looks like you filtered the heck out of it.
1. Using a cleanser that’s too harsh. Lathering up with a sudsy cleanser may seem like the best way to get a clean canvas, but not if your skin is dry. "If you are using harsh cleanser – especially the ones that foam – you are stripping away natural oils and irritating the skin as well," says Dr. Debra Luftman, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills and Calabasas and member of the Simple Advisory Board. A better alternative? Opt for a micellar water like Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, a non-soap cleanser you don’t have to rinse off. "Micellar water instantly boosts skin’s hydration by 90 percent and washes away dirt and grime without stripping natural oils," says Dr. Luftman. Just sweep your cleansing water all over your face with a cotton pad, and you’re done.
2. Taking hot baths and showers. "Everyone loves how it feels, but it’s best not to use hot, hot water for a bath or a shower because it’s so drying. Stick with lukewarm water and keep the shower short," says Dr. Luftman. When you hop out, don’t dry off completely. Apply a creamy, but not-too-greasy body lotion like St. Ives Naturally Indulgent Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Body Lotion while your skin is damp to lock in moisture.
3. Using a moisturizer that’s too light. For soft, glowy skin, you can’t just slap on any old moisturizer and call it a day. To make sure your dry skin is getting enough hydration, choose the right texture. "You want a cream as opposed to a gel, which can be drying, or a lotion," says Dr. Luftman. Try a rich cream that’s packed with moisture-boosting ingredients and apply it in the morning and before bed. Simple Nourishing 24Hr Day/Night Cream fits the bill. It’s made with nourishing shea butter, glycerin, and vitamin E.
4. Under or over-exfoliating. "Exfoliating is just as important as cleansing and moisturizing. If you don’t get rid of dead skin cells, your moisturizer won’t penetrate as efficiently," says Dr. Francesca Fusco, a derm in New York City. "But if you over-scrub you’ll bring up cells that aren’t ready to come off yet," she adds. Use a cleansing brush or a gentle facial scrub (Murad Skin Smoothing Polish a good option) no more than twice a week.
5. Using makeup remover with alcohol. Removers that contain alcohol and anything astringent-based will rob dry skin of essential moisture. To get the job done without zapping essential oils, switch to refreshing, non-irritating cleansing cloths like Simple Micellar Makeup Remover Wipes. They’re perfect for the gym, too.
6. Going to bed with your makeup on. No matter how hard you worked on your contouring, take it all off before you hit the sack. "Wearing makeup when you go to sleep doesn’t allow your skin to breathe. It can cause more irritation and dryness," says Dr. Luftman. Whisk it away with a micellar water or keep a pack of wipes on your nightstand for those times when you’re too tired to do your full PM routine. "This way, you don’t even have to go to the sink," says Dr. Luftman.
7. Skimping on moisturizer. "Remember to moisturize before and after you spend time outside in the cold. Do it when you come back in, just like you drink water before and after a workout," suggests Dr. Fusco. The double dose of face cream will replenish the moisture you lost from the elements, and help protect against the dry heat indoors.
8. Sleeping without a humidifier during winter. Sure, the intense heat coming from your radiator feels amazing when it’s brutal outside, but guess what: It’s sucking moisture out of your skin. To counter the drying effects, Luftman suggests sleeping with a humidifier next to your bed. Doing a lot of Netflix binging in the living room? Move your humidifier in there to pamper your skin while you’re plowing through Pretty Little Liars.
9. Licking your lips. You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating: D on’t lick your lips! Saliva may provide temporary relief, but it contains dehydrating enzymes that only make chapped lips worse. To soften your pout, try a soothing balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom.
Model: Casey Weber
Makeup by: Lauren Cosenza
Hair by: Cash Lawless
Stylist: Brandy Joy Smith
Assistant Stylist: Elizabeth Fonseca
Location: The Standard, High Line