The Best Ingredients for Very Dry Skin
If you’ve ever dealt with very dry or dehydrated skin, chances are that you’ve spent a ton of time slathering on random moisturizers trying to stop the itching and flakes. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, chances also are that they haven’t worked.
This isn’t necessarily because you’re using bad products. The real problem is that dehydrated skin needs to be treated with a combination of humectants, occlusives, and emollients (plus some other good-for-your-skin ingredients). If you’re not using the right stuff, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of tightness and irritation.
Here’s what you need to know.
First Things First: Understanding Moisturizers
When we talk about moisturizers and hydration, we’re really talking about humectants, emollients, and occlusives. All moisturizers fall into at least one of these categories, and you need to incorporate all three into your hydrating routine to get lasting results.
- Humectant: Humectants are water-loving ingredients that work by attracting water molecules from the environment and from deeper within the body. This ultimately adds more water content to the skin. The most powerful humectant is hyaluronic acid.
- Emollient: These lighter, oil-based substances fill in the gaps between skin cells and replace missing lipids. That fortifies the skin, giving it an instantly smooth, soft feeling. The most popular emollients are light face oils and ingredients like aloe vera, squalane, and ceramides.
- Occlusive: Occlusives strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, help prevent trans-epidermal water loss, seal in moisture, and keep environmental aggressors out. Popular occlusives include beeswax, jojoba oil, and petrolatum.
Ingredients That Work
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant naturally found in the skin. It can bind 1,800 times its own weight in water, and it draws this water from its environment. Though it is produced naturally, hyaluronic acid levels in the skin tend to lower as you age. This can contribute to dryness and dehydration. For these reasons, it's an essential ingredient in the best anti aging serum for men.
When applied topically, hyaluronic acid:
- Helps fight visible signs of aging
- Prevents dehydration by penetrating deeply into the skin’s surface
- Improves skin’s texture and clarity
- Calms skin inflammation and redness
Peptides are proteins found naturally in the skin that work to trigger collagen production and promote plump, youthful skin. They support your skin by:
- Boosting collagen
- Regenerating the skin
- Decreasing inflammation
- Increasing hydration
- Contributing to elastin synthesis
Like hyaluronic acid, peptide production starts to decline in your twenties. So it’s a great ingredient to apply topically once it starts to decline. Despite that, peptides are not a one-size-fits-all ingredient.
There are many forms of peptides and peptide combinations. Matrixyl 3000 is one of the best for anti aging. Its blend of protein peptides specialize in diminishing wrinkles, improving elasticity, and replenishing dwindling natural collagen levels. It's a powerful ingredient in the best anti aging eye cream for men.
Like vitamin C and vitamin E, B vitamins are soothing and beneficial to the skin. Vitamin B-3, also known as niacinamide, can reduce signs of aging while calming skin inflammation. It is also known to fade dark spots and balance sebum production in the skin for better complexion and minimal acne. That makes it a powerful ingredient in a natural men's face moisturizer.
Shea butter is a fat, or lipid, extracted from African shea tree nuts.
It’s super rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids - all of which make it a powerful skincare ingredient in men's body lotion. Specifically, shea butter can:
- Reduce lines and wrinkles
- Soothe eczema and psoriasis
- Provide antioxidant protection
- Soothe sunburns
Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid
Glycolic and lactic acid are alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). These gentle chemical exfoliants slough away dead skin cells and encourage healthy cell turnover. The most studied AHA - and the smallest molecule - is glycolic acid. It's the most effective of the bunch, which also includes malic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acid.
Derived from sour milk and bilberry, lactic acid is antimicrobial and known to increase the skin’s water-holding capacity. That's why you'll find it in the best glycolic acid serum for men. The results for your skin include:
- Better skin texture
- Balanced skin tone
- Improved hydration
- Fewer fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduced signs of sun damage
Botanical oils like argan, jojoba, and borage oil restore moisture to dry skin, reduce inflammation, and control redness.
Many of these botanical oils are emollients that work similarly to your skin’s natural sebum, absorbing into your skin and softening the surface.
Plus, they usually contain antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins - all of which can help the skin. No wonder you'll find them in the best skincare products for men.
You may know it as a popular health ingredient or as a sunburn treatment. But aloe vera is also a powerful ingredient for dehydrated skin since it's packed with:
- Polysaccharides, which have powerful hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.
- Glycosides, which have antihistamine and regenerative properties
- Phytosterols, anti-inflammatories that can calm itchiness and prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
The polysaccharides and phytosterols, in particular, make aloe a powerful moisturizing ingredient. Antioxidants make the gel effective at fighting free radicals and environmental stressors, all of which can dry and aggravate the skin further.
The Perfect Dry Skin Routine
So now you know all the ingredients that work and what they do. But how do you combine them and put them together? For healthy skin and anti-aging results, try this comprehensive daily routine.
- Purifying Charcoal Face Wash - to keep your skin clean and blemish free
- Repairing Night Serum - to restore moisture and nutrients critical for smooth skin
- Smooth Finish Glycolic Acid Serum - to clean out pores, exfoliate, and keep a bright complexion
- Restoring Eye Cream - to prevent wrinkles in the sensitive skin around your eyes
- Element Defense Moisturizer With SPF 45 - to keep your skin hydrated while preventing UV damage