10 Expert-Recommended Products to Prevent Dry Skin
We all know how irritating dry skin can be. As soon as the weather begins to change, inflamed and itchy skin feels like it can only be remedied by a vat of moisturizer. In the moment, hydrating might seem like a lost cause—after all, the damage has already been done, hasn't it? It's important to soothe your dry skin, but it's even better to take steps to prevent it from happening in the first place. Whether you're dealing with dry skin on your face or your heels (or anywhere in between), we're here to help. Here, skincare experts share the best products to help mitigate all of your dry skin concerns.
While taking a shower or bath is a necessary part of everyone's hygienic routine, the practice can lead to uncomfortable dry skin. The reason? Bathing too long or too frequently can strip your skin's natural oil and cause dryness. That's why Dr. Ashley Magovern, the owner, founder, and dermatologist of Manhattan Dermatology and Dermstore's medical director, is a proponent of taking just a daily short bath or shower. "Use a gentle soap or cleanser in the shower, a non-soap cleanser is best, and don't scrub the skin," she says. After your bath or shower, she says to apply a ceramide-based moisturizer. "Ceramides are a type of fat molecule found naturally in the top layer of your skin and play a key role in helping your skin retain moisture," the pro explains.
Meanwhile, dermatologist Dr. Hillary Baldwin states the importance of continuity when it comes to moisturizing: "Moisturizers are best used on a regular basis, as avoiding dry skin is easier than repairing a deficient skin barrier." With this in mind, explore our expert-approved products to prevent dry skin and make it the softest it's ever been.
Hydrating Face Wash
"After ascertaining patient preference, I recommend gentle cleansers with or without hydrating agents such as emollients and occlusive agents," says Dr. Baldwin, who, along with Dr. Magovern, recommends this hydrating face wash.
Shop Now: La Roche-Posay "Toleriane" Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser, $14.99, ulta.com.
Oil-Free Hand Moisturizer
Dr. Magovern likes this oil-free hand cream thank to its non-sticky texture and ability to help heal and prevent dry skin.
Shop Now: Elta MD "So Silky" Hand Crème, $20, dermstore.com.
Heel and Elbow Moisturizer
For often ruffed up heels and elbows, Dr. Magovern recommends Glytone Ultra Softening Heel and Elbow Cream to prevent dry skin. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates dead skin cells while vitamin E protects the skin from free-radical damage, according to the product.
Shop Now: Glytone Ultra Softening Heel and Elbow Cream, $54, dermstore.com.
An easy to use option to keep your lips from painful cracking, this lip treatment, recommended by Dr. Magovern, features glycerin and shea butter; both offer rich hydration and promote elasticity.
Shop Now: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy, $12, dermstore.com.
Face Moisturizer with SPF
"Now with new technology and so many options, some products can be watery, silky, creamy, [or] oily," says Dr. Baldwin. "Having said that, most patients need and are more willing to use more viscous products on their legs, feet, and elbows than on the face where cosmetic elegance is paramount." She suggests this moisturizer, which we also love thanks to its dual-purpose. Moisturize your skin while protecting yourself from harmful rays of sun with this lotion's broad-spectrum SPF.
Shop Now: La Roche-Posay "Toleriane" Double Repair Facial Moisturizer with SPF, $19.99, ulta.com.
Dr. Magovern suggests using this moisturizer right after you get out of the shower. "Pat yourself dry and apply moisturizer immediately," she says. "Moisturize the skin every day, even on days that you are clear, moisturizing keeps your skin barrier intact and limits irritants and allergens from disrupting the skin."
Shop Now: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, $13.99, ulta.com.
Moisturizer for Your Feet
The "SA" in this effective cream stands for salicylic acid—a helpful ingredient for preventing dry skin. "For extra dry elbows, knees, and feet I like moisturizers that also contain agents that aid with desquamation such as salicylic acid," explains Dr. Magovern.
Shop Now: CeraVe SA Cream for Rough and Bumpy Skin, $19.99, target.com.
Hydrating Body Wash
"For the body, I like to keep it simple with Dove Foaming Body Wash", says Dr. Baldwin. "In general, bathing should be quick and soap should be applied only to the areas of the skin that actually got dirty in the course of the day."
Shop Now: Dove Foaming Deep Moisture Body Wash, $7.49, walgreens.com.
Exfoliating Pads to Remove Dead Skin
According to celebrity esthetician Shani Darden, the key to preventing dry skin lies in removing old, dead skin cells from the surface, allowing your products to be applied more effectively. "If you're not removing that dead layer of skin on the surface, your hydrating products won't be able to properly absorb," she says. "I love a chemical exfoliant like the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads."
Shop Now: Dr. Dennis Gross "Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel" Packets, $88, dermstore.com.
Moisturizing Facial Serum
For those that want a serum instead of a cream or lotion, try this luxurious blend of ingredients. "Vintner's Daughter Active Treatment Essence is a great product to micro exfoliate, tone, and hydrate the skin. It can also replace the hyaluronic acid serum you're using," says Sarah Akram, a celebrity esthetician.
Shop Now: Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum, $185, violetgrey.com.