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Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize?? – 10 Tips to Save Your Dry Skin

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I have always had dry skin and I often wondered why my skin was so dry even when I moisturized (although I didn’t always know it!) and during the winter months, things get even worse. The air has less humidity, even in the humid South where I now live (I’m from Utah where we have cold dry winters), and the heated indoors exacerbate things further, especially if you have dry AND sensitive skin.

But there are a few simple things you can tweak to help your dry skin, whether you need to make these adjustments year-round or just during the colder months. Here are 10 reasons your skin is dry even if you moisturize, plus what to do so you can get on your way to more hydrated, glowing skin any time of year.

Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize?

I’m sharing tips primarily focused on the face, but I included a few notes about how to deal with dry skin on your body, too! Here are my best tips for a winter skin care routine.

1. You’re using the wrong moisturizer & serum

It’s not uncommon to feel like your regular moisturizer no longer is enough when the temperatures drop. It can also feel dryer in the summer from more sun exposure. A simple solution is to get a thicker, more hydrating nighttime moisturizer. When you wake up, your skin will feel more hydrated, and your usual daytime moisturizer may be enough. If not, you may also need to switch your daytime moisturizer. Some people are able to use their nighttime moisturizer during the day, and others find it too heavy.

When looking for a more hydrating moisturizer, look for something that is anti-aging since that will always have ingredients focused on dry skin since skin loses its hydration as we age. You can also look for moisturizers or serums with with hyaluronic acid to keep your face hydrated ALL day. (This Oliveda F59 Corrective Face Serum is great serum for dry, aging skin. It also has para cress which lifts and smoothes, which is why some people call it “Botox in a Bottle”.)

I use the Oliveda Corrective Face Cream (F42) during the day, and this Oliveda Regeneration Intense Face Cream (F74) at night since it’s thicker.

2. You’re skipping a face oil

Another option if you don’t want to buy a new moisturizer (or you need even more hydration) is to add a face oil to your routine. You can layer it under your moisturizer, mix it in, and apply both together, or apply it as the last layer on top of your moisturizer. I would suggest trying all three since the feel is a bit of personal preference. My esthetician said that applying the oil last, i.e. on top of your moisturizer, will help lock in the most moisturizer since it seals it in.

I use the Colleen Rothschild No. 9 Face Oil and I just ordered the Oliveda Cell Active Face Oil (F63) since it’s supposed to be a huge hydration booster. Don’t be scared of adding an oil to your routine if you are breakout prone. Your skin NEEDS oil to be its healthiest! Oftentimes, breakouts are caused when the skin is too dry, so it produces more oil and clogs pores. Adding in a high-quality oil designed for your skin type helps prevent that. (Here are more tips for clear skin!)

3. You’re using the wrong mask or no mask at all

Many people think of clearing out junk when they think of masks, and yes, those masks have their place! There are also incredible masks that help hydrate skin and give back to it! My favorites are the Colleen Rothschild Intense Moisture Mask, and the Oliveda Black Olive Face Mask (F18). If I could only recommend one, I’d get the Oliveda mask since I don’t love the smell of the CR one but I do like that I can leave it on over night.

4. You’re not properly hydrated

We all know water intake is important – eight glasses a day, right? You may need more than that in the winter and you definitely need more if you work up a hard sweat when you workout. Aim for your urine to be pale yellow. You may also need to add a pinch of salt or electrolytes to your water (I use LMNT) to help you actually retain your water intake if your urine is always clear and you pee often.

The right foods can also help. Citrus fruits, nuts, whole grains, broccoli, and eggs are particularly helpful at hydrating skin. They are high in vitamins B2, B6, B12, C, and E — all of these nourish skin and improve water retention. While you’re looking at your diet, look at how much sugar and refined carbs you are consuming since those can impair the skin’s ability to retain moisture.

5. You’re not exfoliating

Your moisturizer can’t absorb into your skin if dry skin cells are getting in the way. Using a gentle exfoliator, just 1-2 a week, will help remedy that. I use the Oliveda F81 AHA + HT Serum Face a few times a week and this Oliveda Honey Enzyme Face Mask once a week.

6. You’re not using a toner

A toner was something I never used since I always felt like they stripped my skin, leaving it feeling raw and dry – the opposite of what I wanted. But the right toner will increase the hydration of your skin, balancing it after cleansing, so your treatments and moisturizers absorb and work better. For dry skin, the Oliveda Corrective Facial Tonic (F67) is amazing.

7. You’re ignoring proper bodycare

If your face is dry, your legs and arms probably are feeling it too.

First, make sure you have a high-quality body wash.

And I hate to break it to you, but your two-dollar body wash probably isn’t the best option for dry skin. (Never mind it’s likely filled with harmful chemicals. Look it up on the EWG Skin Deep website and/or check it against this Never List.) Many times irritated skin is caused by a reaction to a chemical in cheaper products. So, make sure your body wash isn’t exacerbating problems. This goes for your face cleanser too!)

Also, when you’re showering, turn the temperature down just a bit so you’re not blasting blazing hot water. I LOVE a hot shower or bath but it does contribute to dry skin, so just adjust the temp a bit. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using warm, not hot water to cleanse.

Next, exfoliate your body.

Just like your face, dry skin can prevent your moisturizer from fully absorbing. I like to use a dry brush a few times a week and a good body scrub once a week. I like this Osea brand for body scrub.

Swap your lotion

In the summer, I use a more traditional body lotion (this Oliveda Anti Aging Body Lotion). In the winter, I use a VERY thick body butter that contains shea butter. I love the Primally Pure body butters. A body butter typically will feel a bit greasy at first, but it absorbs after a few minutes. For me, it’s worth it to deal with that I don’t have itchy skin call day.

You could also purchase a body oil to mix in with your regular body lotion! This Oliveda Lavender Body Oil Serum is perfect. It moisturizes, softens, and smooths the skin.

Noticing a trend here? All the things you do for your face also apply to your body!

8. You don’t use a humidifier

This will help add moisture back to your rooms. I always plug in our humidifier in the winter months about an hour before I head to bed and let it run all night! While I don’t love having it sit on my nightstand, I do love healthy skin, so it’s worth it 😉

9. You don’t consume collagen

Some people swear by collagen for increasing their skin’s moisture levels. Collagen is the main structural protein in our skin and as we age, we lose collagen which causes skin to break down, causing fine lines and wrinkles. So many people purport that consuming a collagen supplement can help improve skin breakdown, and therefore improve hydration. But, there is actually little research or data to prove that. So, take it if you want to, but don’t rely on it as a quick fix or as your only avenue to improve dry skin! I take the Oliveda Beauty Fountain liquid collagen every single day since I want all the help I can get!

10. You think skincare ends after your morning routine

If you still feel like your face is parched by the afternoon, no matter what you do, keep a face mist in your purse. A lightweight mist will add just enough hydration without causing your makeup to slide off. Bonus: it just FEELS good. This Primally Pure plumping mist is the one I use.

My Dry Skin Must-Haves

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    4 responses to “Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize?? – 10 Tips to Save Your Dry Skin”

    1. Seriously cannot live without h the no. 1 facial oil and the cleansing balm. And of course, the entire countertime line is so, so moisturizing!!!

    2. TeriLyn,
      I’ve been a reader of your blog for a long time-since your Boston running blogs!
      As a cost-conscious shopper, what would be the skincare step you would never skip and most economical serum/toner/oil? I read all these posts and I can’t imagine spending this much on my skin. I splurged on a BC Vit C serum a while back that was $90! Can you please write a post on quality skin care on a budget? Thanks!!

      • Hi! Taking care of my skin is a top priority for me so I’m willing to invest in higher quality skincare but I know that’s not what everyone wants to spend. Check out my DIME review! It’s a great option that’s budget friendly. I will say that Oliveda products last a long time since you use a small amount! So while they’re pricey, they last a long time.

        I would never skip a good serum and good moisturizer! Skimp on cleanser/toner but still use them! 🙂

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