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Why is My Skin so Dry Even When I Moisturize?

By Mariela
January 25, 2024
7 minutes

The top signs of healthy skin are glow, radiance, and elasticity. It shows that your skin receiving enough nutrition and is getting the kind of treatment it deserves. But the skin of some people does not seem to be getting healthy no matter how well they treat it and how regularly they moisturize it.

The dryness of skin even after moisturization becomes a source of distress for many people. It raises concerns about an underlying skin condition. 

So, did you find your way here while looking for the answer to “Why is my skin so dry even when I moisturize?”. Well, we listed all the possibilities for this skin condition here. 

Table of Contents:

Part 1: Why is My Skin so Dry Even When I Moisturize?

Why is My Skin so Dry Even When I Moisturize?Let us discuss every reason that might be causing chronically dry skin here.

Factors Contributing to Persistent Dry Skin

The wellness of our skin is a combination of several factors. Many of these determine its hydration as well. These factors are classified into 3 subtypes and are given below.

Environmental Factors 

The following environmental factors contribute to the dryness of the skin.

  • Low Humidity Levels: A low level of humidity in the environment affects the skin adversely by extracting the natural moisture from it and leaving the skin dry.
  • Extremes of Temperature: The lack of hydration along with increased sweating in the hot summer; and the dry and cold air in the winter along with low humidity are the main causes of dry skin.
  • Excessive Sun Exposure: UV rays from the sun dries the skin from the inside in addition to damaging its barrier.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle FactorsA bad lifestyle might be the culprit of extremely dry skin.

  • Harsh Skincare Products: Harsh skincare products whether they are expired, contain harsh chemical ingredients, or have fragrance can irritate the skin, damage the barrier, and interfere with the normal pH.
  • Hot Showers or Baths: Hot water might feel amazing on the skin but it strips the natural moisture from the skin leaving it cracked.
  • Frequent Handwashing: In contrast to the assumption that external water may hydrate the skin, it is rather a dehydrating agent as it removes the oil from the skin.

 Underlying Skin Conditions

Sometimes chronically dry skin indicates an underlying disorder. These are given as. 

  • Atopic Dermatitis: Atopic dermatitis is a condition associated with skin allergies that can irritate the skin, damage its barrier, and reduce its radiance.
  • Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder with the major symptom of dry and itchy skin.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormones can control the production of oils in the skin. So, under production of natural skin moisturizing agents because of hormonal imbalance is another cause of patchy skin.

Inadequate Moisturizing Techniques

Inadequate Moisturizing TechniquesLet us now talk about your skincare routine which might be enough for you but not really when it comes to adequate moisturization of the skin.

Inappropriate Product Selection

Every skin type is different and needs products customized according to it. It means you need to use enriched and thick products for dry skin in contrast to lightweight ones for oily skin.

Similarly, check out the ingredients in the products before buying to see if they contain alcohol, sulfates, alkalies, or parabens that have a dehydrating effect on the skin. 

Insufficient Application or Coverage

Under or over-application of the moisturizer can also cause dry skin. Yes, you might be moisturizing regularly. But are you using a small amount of the product or are you applying it wrong?

Additionally, over-application of the moisturizer can reduce the natural oil formation in the skin. In both cases, the result is dry skin. 

Over-reliance on Water-Based Moisturizers

Water-based moisturizers are made for oily skin to prevent the formation of comedones. However, our skin needs fats to be well-nourished. So, you might get scaly if your skincare routine only contains lightweight, gel, and water-based lotions and lacks oil-based products, especially in the winter. 

Lack of Consistency in Moisturizing Routine

Consistency is always the key when it comes to taking good care of your skin. You cannot apply a product for a week and then skin a few days and repeat the cycle.

It will do more harm than good in moisturizing the skin. Also, moisturizing only once a day is not enough.

Internal and External Factors Affecting Moisture Retention

Internal and External Factors Affecting Moisture RetentionIn addition to the topical factors, skin moisture also responds to some internal and external factors given as.

Poor Hydration from Within

When people say drink more water for healthy skin, they are not wrong. No matter how much moisturizer you apply on the skin’s surface, it will stay dry if it is not receiving enough hydration from the inside.

Diet Lacking in Essential Fatty Acids 

Skin needs fatty acids to produce natural oils and maintain its barrier. Additionally, fatty acids are an important component of the skin cells. So, a diet lacking in fatty acids prevents the supply of essential nutrients required for adequate moisturization of the skin.

Medications With Drying Side Effects

Topical as well as oral medicines can also lead to dry skin by several mechanisms. Some of the drugs implicated in drying the skin out include topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide oral beta-blockers, statins, contraceptive pills, and diuretics.

Excessive Alcohol or Caffeine Consumption 

Excessive alcohol or skin exerts a diuretic effect on the body. Diuresis means an increase in the excretion of water in the form of urine from the body. This results in dehydration. Consequently, the skin also becomes dry.

Part 2: How to Treat my Skin When it is Dry?

The ultimate treatment for dry skin that does not respond to moisturizers is removing the cause. So, let us discuss the treatments of above mentioned causes one by one.

Tips for Addressing Persistent Dry Skin

Choosing the Right Moisturizer

Choosing the Right MoisturizerFirst of all, determine your skin type and then buy the moisturizer that is specifically built for it. Some examples are provided in 12 Best Face Moisturizers to Buy in 2023 (Includes Every Skin Type)

It is important to note that the moisturizer for oily skin should be non-comedogenic but not entirely water-based to treat the dryness. Also, people with dry skin need thick body and face moisturizing creams.

Incorporating Hydrating Ingredients

Choose the moisturizer with well-balanced nutrients. A nutrient that does not have alcohol, parabens, and other drying ingredients can be the best fit.

Also, look for ingredients like glycerine, urea, hyaluronic acid, butter, oils, aquaporins, salicylic acid, vitamin E, and niacinamide to nourish your parched skin. You can find The 12 Best Lotions on Crepey Skin for Legs and Arms here.

Adjusting Cleansing Routine

If you are washing your face thrice or more times every day, give it up. Overwashing is damaging your skin. Only wash your face once at night with double cleansing and plain water in the morning.

You can also wash it twice every day using a gentle and moisturizing cleanser. Also, moisturize the face after washing it while the skin is damp for the best results.

Using Humidifier 

If you use an air conditioner at your home, office, or even in the car, its air is not humid enough. Therefore, get a humidifier for your living space and use it often to adjust the humidity of the environment and prevent the natural moisture of your skin from drying out.

Protecting Skin from Harsh Environmental Conditions 

Protect your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen liberally, from the hot weather by staying in the shade and wearing hats, and from the cold winter air by covering your body with clothes and face with a scarf.

Also, body lotions can help strengthen theallown barrier and allow it to protect the skin from environmental damage. Also, read Body Lotions: Benefits, Disadvantages, How to Use & FAQs.

Lifestyle Changes for Improved Skin Hydration

Lifestyle Changes for Improved Skin HydrationHere are some lifestyle changes for improving skin hydration.

Drinking Sufficient Water

Drinking sufficient water can be your best bet to treat the dry skin. Not only dry skin, it also reduces acne, improves skin rejuvenation, and adds a healthy glow to it. So, drink at least 2 liters of water every day. 

Consuming a Balanced Diet

A diet containing a well-balanced proportion of vitamins, fatty acids, fluids, minerals, and amino acids is the ultimate solution to lead your skin to a glowing texture with a radiant complexion.

So, eat more fruits, vegetables, and fish. Moreover, you can include supplements in the diet for extra yet required nutrition.

Avoiding Excessive Heat and Hot Water Exposure

Stop sitting closely by the fire and avoid hot showers in the cold weather as these might be causing dryness in the skin. Use lukewarm water instead.

Furthermore, if you have any underlying skin condition or your skin is itchy in addition to being dry, it is best to avoid chlorinated swimming pool water as well.

Practicing Gentle Skincare Habits

Build a basic yet nourishing skincare routine and use it consistently to prevent and treat dry, scaly, and parched skin. Include a gentle cleanser, a hydrating toner, a nourishing serum, and finally an enriched moisturizer in your skincare.

Also, use it at least twice a day and after hair removal as well. You can find the 10 Best Lotions to Soothe Skin After Hair Removal here.

Protecting Skin from UV Rays

Do not let the UV rays harm your skin in any way whether it is evaporating the moisture from the skin or causing premature aging. Therefore, you must apply sunscreen, wear UV-protective clothes, and use hats and goggles when you go out.


While people might blame the extremes of weather for making the skin dry, the truth is that it results from a combination of factors. These factors include the ones that withdraw moisture from the skin, damage its barrier, reduce the supplementation, and increase dehydration.

We discussed all these factors in this article. Furthermore, the solution to persistently dry skin is nourishing it from the inside out along with preventing the harmful effects of the harsh environment.

Therefore, we mentioned the fool-proof ways to treat dry skin earlier as well.


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