Ever wondered why you get such dry skin? We’ve got the answers…

An expert weighs in…

Content Producer / May 17 2024

We don’t know about you, but sometimes we wake up in the morning with the driest skin known to man. Genuinely the Sahara desert has called to make fun of us. But what actually causes this flakey affair? 

Whether you’re experiencing universally dry skin (from head to toe), the occasional patch here and there, or exclusively across your face, we need you to know. A) you’re not alone and B) we’ve got you covered. We (like everyone else) needed to get to the bottom of this parched predicament, and so we took our questions to an expert. 

BEAUTYcrew spoke to Dermal Clinician and founder of Viviology, James Vivian to find out what exactly causes dry skin…

What causes dry skin?

Okay so we hate to burst your bubble. But dry skin is not a one size fits all problem (and so doesn’t come with one solution). Vivian explains that “genetically, many of us do not produce satisfactory natural oils to keep our skin hydrated and protected”. Basically call your mum and put her on blast because bestie did us dirty. Okay, maybe we won’t be hitting call just yet, because Vivian goes on to explain that ‘environmental factors’ are also major contributors to drying out your skin. And winter is the worst time for it, because of all the OTT heating, freezing weather and clothing that doesn’t let your skin breathe. And lastly, we hate to say it, but overdoing the actives can have seriously negative effects. Yep, if your skin is screaming out for some hydration, Vivian recommends laying off the ‘exfoliation and vitamin A’ for a min.

Do seasons impact skin moisture levels?

We should’ve included a spoiler alert above, but the short answer is yes. Don’t worry, we’ll let Vivian explain more. Interestingly Vivian suggests that the shift in seasons actually impacts more than just moisture levels, as the “different seasons place different (environmental) pressures on (your) skin”. In the warmer seasons, the heat (and sun-exposure) can work against us, “depleting our natural moisture levels, leading to dehydration”. However there’s a positive side, as the warmer weather “naturally increases [the] cellular turnover” rate, so if you catch your skin looking it’s freshest in summer, remember we told you so. 

As for the cooler months, Vivian explains that because “moisture levels in the air can sometimes be lower, dryness and dehydration occurs more frequently.” This happens because we’re regularly “moving from warm, heated rooms into the cold outdoors, which places more pressure on the skin”, which can end up causing skin sensitivity. 

Are some skin care products more drying than others?

So, speaking with Vivian made us realise, we might be the problem. Oops! We’ve been out here blaming products for being overly drying and while some can be, Vivian wants us to realise that “some products are more hydrating than others”. And while it probably should go without saying, “products should always be selected based on the skin it’s being applied on”. So, before you rush out to purchase the next trending product, think about just how much it’ll benefit your skin type. Here’s what Vivian has to say about the types of skin care ingredients that will help to nourish, hydrate and protect your skin.

“Some skins will need more occlusive or emollient products that provide an artificial barrier on the skin as the moisturiser protects and nourishes throughout the day containing ingredients such as ceramides, omega oils and shea and mango butters, Whereas some skin (types) that don’t need so much hydration may find their serums sufficient to hydrate or may lock everything in with more of a humectant based moisturiser containing ingredients such as squalene, glycerine, amino acids and hyaluronic acid.”

Here are our top hydrating recommendations:

Hydrating serum:

Go-To Much Plumper Skin ($48 at Go-To Skincare)

Hard-hitting moisturiser: 

Viviology Ceramide Moisturiser ($50 at Adore Beauty)

Occlusive moisturiser:

CeraVe Advanced Repair Balm ($17.99 at Chemist Warehouse)

TBH, we wish we had an in-the-know dermal clinician in our pocket at all times. Just to give us some helpful tips and pointers, you know? But at least we’ll be able to carry around some of Vivian’s top tips for preventing dry skin…

Firstly, exfoliation. “Exfoliation [is a] year round key process to help our hydrating ingredients penetrate deeper into our skin, as well as keeping our skin smooth and bright”, Vivian explains. 

Secondly, find a cleanser that works for you. “Steer away from cleansers that leave your skin feeling tight and dry post-cleaning”, says Vivian. Because no one wants a consistently dried out face.

Thirdly, sun-protection. Vivian wants you to “remember that SPF is a 365 day a year proposition!” And while sunscreen is a must, remember that SPF alone isn’t enough to protect your skin. Be sure to wear protective clothing (as well as a hat and sunnies) and avoid peak UV times. 

Lastly, but definitely not least, moisturise. “Don’t be afraid of moisturising especially if you have breakout-prone skins as when these skins are dry it can lead to further breakouts and congestion”, Vivian shares. Understandably, moisturiser is the key to avoiding dehydrated, dry skin.

Well, now that we’ve got the inside goss to our skin, we’ll be able to take better care of it during the ultra-drying months. Oh and be sure to call your mum back and apologise for blaming her for your dry skin!

Main Image Credit: @kimkardashian
Looking to slough away your dead dry flakes? These are the dry skin-friendly exfoliators you need in your collection…

Emma Allcock began her career in the world of fashion and beauty in 2015, interning for various PR fashion houses. Naturally her love for style soon extended to beauty, and Emma landed firmly in the beauty and wellness world thanks to an internship-turned-role at local Australian fragrance brand Maison Blanche. One thing that remained consistent whether unpacking accessories or creating social content? Her commitment to an always-perfect manicure. Luckily, she’s since turned her talents to helping her readers achieve the same, writing about all things beauty and wellness. Emma is now a Content Producer for BEAUTYcrew, with her words and recommendations also appearing across beautyheaven. Emma loves the process of diving deep into the world of testing (and writing) about everything from haircare to fragrance. When she’s not slathering her skin in something new, she’s going for an early morning stroll to catch a stunning sunrise (coffee in hand, of course), because life’s all about that wellness balance after all.