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How to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

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Since I am a skincare junkie, my friends come to me with skin woes (which I’m so flattered by!) and one of the most-asked questions I get — especially this time of year — is how to deal with dry, flaky skin. More often than not, my friends are using products that are too harsh for their skin or have too many active ingredients. And what’s extra confusing for them is that the products worked well for them in the past. However, skin is dryer and more sensitive in the winter and spring months (with fluctuating temperatures) so what worked in the past may be too irritating now.

I almost always tell them to back off on their serums and anti-aging moisturizers (which often include retinol) and instead opt for gentle, super hydrating products. It’s counter intuitive since they want to scrub the flakiness away, but they really need to give their skin a rest and load it up with moisture.

So if you often suffer with peeling skin from sunburn, dry skin, sunburn or a peel mask that was just too darn aggressive, know you’re not alone. It seems like with every season there’s something that comes up with my skin. Like when it starts to get cold, my skin gets very dry and if left untreated, it can start to flake. I also notice the same thing when the weather starts warming up since I’m often switching from AC to heat for a while, which wreaks havoc on my skin.

As if our skin doesn’t encounter enough daily obstacles with free-radical damage, UV sun rays, pollution, smoke, etc, but to then experience peeling on top of it? Thanks, but no thanks!

How to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

To combat dry, flakey, and peeling skin, I stick to my staple products I know will nourish my skin with clean, safe ingredients. I usually tweak my skincare routine with the seasons and I know lots of women struggle with their skin as the seasons change. That’s why I want to share with you some of my favorite skincare hacks and products that increase moisture levels, moisture retention, and even cellular production of collagen and elastin within the skin. Let’s get into it!

First, let’s be real.

It’s almost impossible to heal peeling skin overnight. But with a few nights of consistent care with the right products, you can definitely improve some things. Our skin comes up against a lot of obstacles each day. So try to prioritize consistency with your routine. My skin truly looks better at almost 40 than it did in my 20s. And I give credit to a consistent skincare routine with high quality products that are right for my skin type.

I have very dry skin so many of the skincare products I use are infused with products to help with that. I want all the benefits of hyaluronic acids, hyaluronic acid alternatives, natural exfoliants, premium plant extracts, anti-inflammatory agents, ceramides, and vitamins specifically to protect the skin barrier.

My skincare routine is primarily comprised of Beautycounter and Colleen Rothschild, which are high end brands. Many of their products use natural plant extracts and are full of vitamins and fatty acids, which helps leave my skin moisturized and nourished. Skincare designed to help with hydration can also boost collagen, plumpness, firmness, and especially moisture-retention, which has a powerful effect on skin experiencing the side effects from free-radical damage, sunburns, and even overly aggressive retinol treatments.

If you’re currently dealing with peeling skin – don’t fret and don’t run out and buy the most expensive moisturizer on the shelf. Here are my tried and tested tips for healing peeling skin overnight without needing to pay $300 for a La Mer moisturizer.

Prioritize hydration.

When it comes to skin health, taking the time to drink enough water each day can make a HUGE difference on how your skin looks and feels. The last two times I’ve walked in to an appointment with my esthetician, she immediately said, “You’re dehydrated.” She can tell just by looking at my skin! Not only does drinking plenty of water ensure your skin remains adequately hydrated, but it also helps transport nutrients for healthy collagen production. In turn, reducing wrinkles, age spots, and acne, and promoting the rejuvenation and replacement of those dead, peeling skin cells.

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered why your fine lines look so much more pronounced than usual, it’s likely because you aren’t hydrated enough!

Pat skin dry after bathing.

It’s important to consider best practices for caring for your skin’s health. After a nice bath or shower, try patting your skin dry rather than rubbing it. Doing so may help in preserving the texture, tone, and elasticity of your skin. Rubbing too hard can cause abrasion and irritation which can weaken the outer layer of the skin. Leading to itching and potential damage like peeling.

Apply moisturizer on a regular basis.

In other posts, I’ve talked about my skincare routine during the winter while struggling with dry skin. When my skin is dry, it becomes irritated and more prone to further damage, particularly around my eyes. Using a thick night cream and facial oil has helped keep my skin hydrated when the air is significantly cold or dry. I also make sure to use a hydrating but gentle eye cream.

Applying body butter has also helped my skin stay hydrated and healthy by forming a barrier against the elements that could otherwise cause further irritation. I use body butter on my body, not my face!

Ingredients to look for that are soothing and hydrating are aloe vera gel, vitamin E, grapeseed oil, shea butter, or ceramides. Applying generous amounts of moisturizer after taking a shower while still damp can help lock in moisture. I recommend reapplying every few hours when treating your peeling skin. I often pat face oil onto my face in the afternoon if my skin is feel extra tight.

See my full roundup of dry skin tips, HERE.

Sleep with a humidifier.

Air humidity is an important part of maintaining a comfortable home environment and in some regions, the air is naturally low in moisture – leaving your home feeling oh-so very arid. (Even though I live in the humid South, I often get alerts from my son’s baby monitor that the humidity is below 25%!) Low humidity affects my skin, especially in winter, leading to chapped lips, cracked hands, and peeling skin.

To counter this dryness, I have a humidifier in my bedroom and office at all times. (And yes, my son’s room too. He is VERY prone to dry, irritated skin.) It’s the best way to keep humidity levels up. During especially dry spells of weather, you even move the humidifier around the house with you if you don’t want to buy multiple.

Use gentle exfoliants that are formulated for dry skin.

When my skin becomes flaky or begins peeling, it helps to speed up the healing process by gently exfoliating any dead skin. Getting rid of peeling skin by using a gentle exfoliant helps to remove dead skin cells and promotes new cell growth. As long as my skin is not already tender or irritated, using items such as a dry brush before a shower helps to eliminate extra skin cells and improve overall circulation and blood flow. I’ve noticed that exfoliating once a week is all I need to get that smooth, soft texture back.

However, if your skin is dry and peeling, be careful not to over exfoliate, thinking you need to scrub the dry skin off. That will lead your skin to be even dryer as you strip it and make the peeling even worse. Instead, exfoliate just once a week and focus on loading your skin up with hydration.

Read more about my skin cycle and the exfoliants I use (I alternate between two) here.

Opt for natural home remedies.

Over the years I have tried a few natural remedies that help restore my skin’s overall health and appearance. Coconut and jojoba oil are excellent choices for moisturizing, which helps to promote healing and prevent further irritation. Applying honey is known to help reduce inflammation and soothe the skin, as it contains anti-inflammatory properties (but to be fully transparent, I haven’t tried it. Sounds entirely too sticky. But if you’re desperate, it’s a good backup plan). I’ve also heard that oatmeal is a great home remedy for sunburn!

Soaps can also aggravate already weakened skin. So, use caution when selecting products to help. Opt for an unscented soap-free option such as an oatmeal-based cleanser or simple homemade soap. (There’s no way I’m making soap, but there are great options at most farmer’s markets).

Take cooler baths and showers.

I know showering or bathing in cool water is uncomfortable at first. But it’s so beneficial for your skin (and hair!!!). The benefits of cool water for peeling skin delay the negative effect from dryness, especially with sunburns. I don’t know about you, but when I take a cold shower after a sunburn – I can literally feel the heat leaving my skin. It’s like an instant pain reliever.

Cool water also increases blood circulation and affects how nutrients are brought to the surface of the skin. Like a cascade effect, circulating nutrients can impact the skin’s cellular functions and turnover, leaving positive results for peeling skin. After I take a cool shower – being sure I pat – I apply a moisturizer immediately. Usually I choose a lighter moisturizer in the summer and a heavier one in the winter.

Okay, let’s get into some product recommendations!

13 Best Products For Peeling Skin

Moisturizers

1. Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream by Beautycounter

This night cream is SUPER thick and ultra hydrating. It’s made with a retinatural complex of bakuchiol and swiss alpine rose, which gives similar results to retinol but without any harsh or harmful side effects (and it’s not dying at all). It also contains a tetrapeptide which helps increase the skin’s skin elasticity which ultimately makes it less prone to irritation and peeling. I’ve tried a LOT of night creams and none hold a candle to this.

However, if you have very sensitive skin or your skin isn’t used to anti-aging ingredients, you may need something more gentle. While the Supreme Cream is very hydrating, it does still contain active ingredients. If you want something more neutral, try the Counterstart Cocoboost Moisturizer (a lighter weight moisturizer… best for very sensitive skin) or OSEA Advanced for Protection Cream (more hydrating, but pricier).

Countertime Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream

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2. Counterstart Cocoboost Moisturizer by Beautycounter

Like I mentioned above under the Supreme Cream section, if you have sensitive skin, I recommend using a moisturize that does not contain active ingredients. So many of the hydrating night creams on the market are super effective because of their active ingredients, but if your skin isn’t used to them, it may do you more hard than good in terms of healing peeling skin! This Cocoboost Moisturizer is a perfect option if you fall into that camp. It’s Beautycounter’s most basic option for hydration and incredibly calming for sensitive skin. This moisturizer uses coconut oil, aloe vera, and vitamin E, which all help with hydration, soothing, and protection from environmental stressors.

Counterstart Cocoboost Moisturizer | How to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

3. OSEA Advanced Protection Cream

Another good option for hydration if you have skin on the more sensitive side is the OSEA Advanced Protection Cream. This moisturizer is slightly more hydrating than the Cocoboost option above, and pricer because of that. However, it’s long-lasting and is clinically proven to instantly increase skin hydration by 121%(!!!) The formula is protective and nourishing, which is exactly what we’re looking for when our face seems to be flaking off, right???

OSEA Advanced Protection Cream | How to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

4. Countermatch Recovery Sleeping Cream By Beautycounter

This overnight anti-inflammatory cream has two forms of hyaluronic acid that create a protective layer to shield the skin from moisture loss while sleeping. It has hyaluronic acid, squalane, plum oil, and phytic acid and is hydrating without being heavy. If you don’t like a heavy night cream, you’ll like this better than the Countertime Supreme Cream.

Cleansers

5. Radiant Cleansing Balm by Colleen Rothschild

My everyday cleanser is this cleansing balm by Colleen Rothschild. It’s formulated with loofah seed and moringa oil which both renew the outer layer of skin cells while restoring flexibility and balance. You can use to remove eye makeup and it doesn’t sting at all. I love that this doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight at all. Read my full review here.

Radiant Cleansing Balm by Colleen Rothschild

6. Counterstart Cococream Cleanser By Beautycounter

This gentle daily cleanser is ideal for removing makeup and impurities without stripping away moisture. It’s made with a blend of coconut oil and aloe vera gel that nourishes and soothes the skin – making it perfect for those with sensitive skin. I recommend this to anyone who is starting a skincare routine for the first time or has very sensitive skin. It’s a basic cleaner, but very hydrating. I honestly prefer it over the more expensive Beautycounter Countermatch foaming cleanser, but I linked it below in case you prefer a cleanser that slightly lathers.

7. Countermatch Refresh Foaming Cleanser By Beautycounter

This creamy foaming cleanser has squalane, plum oil, and phytic acid to remove face and eye makeup. It washes away impurities without stripping it like many foaming cleansers do. Not that it will NOT foam as much as drugstore foaming cleansers since it doesn’t have SLS (an ingredient Beautycounter never uses).

Countermatch Refresh Foaming Cleanser

Toners, Serums, and Oils

8. Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence

I’m a big fan of this “milky” toner because it leaves skin feeling hydrated after every use. It’s made from ingredients that help the skin barrier perform its proper functions, leaving your skin moisturized and full of vitamin-rich nutrients. It also contains fermented sugars, which slow the signs of aging by increasing hydration. Any time hydration is increased, peeling skin heals more and more.

Countertime Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence

9. Face Oil N°9 by Colleen Rothschild

Face Oil N°9 serum contains nine oils for an intense moisture boost. For those with extra thirsty skin, like me, this oil is a must. Apply after cleansing and before or after moisturizing. I personally like using it under my moisturizer, at night time. I think it’s ideal for  evening routines to allow the skin to heal overnight and stop peeling, but it can also be used in a morning routine.

10. Vitamin C Nourishing Cream by Colleen Rothschild

This moisturizing cream has moisture-binding Hyaluronic Acid (a must-have for dry skin), which works to replenish moisture loss and strengthen the skin barrier. This helps to create a plump, hydrated appearance while improving the skin’s overall texture. It’s designed for the face but it can also be used on hands that crack from dry air. Note: I find the smell of this a little strong but I am particularly sensitive to smells.

Body

11. Goodbye, Dry Body Duo by Beautycounter

I love love love this set. It has their Body Butter that looks like whipped butter, which is incredibly hydrating but never greasy. It also has my favorite Sugarbuff Body Polish, which has finely milled sugar that gently exfoliates skin, stops peeling, and removes any dry flakes. The best time to use this set is during a weekly self-care routine. The set may seem like a splurge, but it quickly became a must-have in my routine.

12. Primally Pure Whipped Body Butter

This is my absolute favorite body butter of all the ones I’ve tried. It’s made from clean ingredients like organic mango, shea butter, and coconut oil, and I love the natural scent. The lavender + Eucalyptus scent is relaxing and puts me in such a calm mood. The best time to apply and really seal in the moisture is a few minutes after exiting the shower. In my opinion, this is really the best body butter for dry skin! However, it does leave skin a bit greasy which is why I prefer to use it at night or just use something else on my arms unless I’m wearing long sleeves.

Primally Pure Whipped Body Butter | How to Heal Peeling Skin Overnight

13. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier

As mentioned before, a humidifier helps to fight dry air around you. This is the one I use at home and I like it because it’s equipped with user-friendly controls that make it easy to get the settings just right for your bedroom (or any other room in your home or work space for that matter). If you suffer from chronic dry skin, this could be a worthwhile solution to try.

Please note: If you’re experiencing severe skin peeling due to an underlying health condition – like psoriasis, contact dermatitis, or eczema – I recommend seeking professional medical advice from a board-certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment options. This is the first step in tackling the issue of chronic skin peeling, and the first step in better managing your skin care. Seeking advice from a dermatologist is the best way to tell if there may be a chronic condition involved in your dry skin.

When you have dry and peeling skin, what works best for you?

I sincerely hope these tips, home remedies, and products give you as much comfort and relief from dry and peeling skin as they have done for me. If you have any suggestions to add, or any questions about my skincare methods for dry skin, drop them below!

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