Why Is My Skin So Dry Even When I Moisturize?

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Rough, parched skin is often inevitable, especially during cold winter months when the air (both indoors and outdoors) is lacking moisture. Taught, flaky skin isn’t just a problem for those with dry, sensitive or mature skin types. Even people with oily skin can experience occasional dryness. Sometimes even lotion applied throughout the day doesn’t help, which ultimately begs the question, ‘why is my skin still dry even after I moisturize?’

The most common reason why skin may still feel dry post-moisturizer is dehydration. Dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same thing. Dry skin lacks oil where as dehydrated skin lacks water. So, no matter how much lotion you apply, if your skin is dehydrated, it will still feel dry. Therefore, you must know what foods to eat, liquids to drink and products to use in order to stay hydrated and relieve excessively dry skin.

Now that you know skin dryness can still be a problem even after moisturizing, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below. We’ll discuss whether (or not) too much moisturizer can cause dry skin and what the effects of over-moisturizing are. We’ll also discuss what deficiencies cause dry skin as well as what to eat and drink to prevent dehydration. We’ll also explain how to properly hydrate the skin and which moisturizers work best.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about keeping skin well-hydrated and properly moisturized, then let’s get to it!

Can Too Much Moisturizer Cause Dry Skin?

The answer is yes, too much moisturizer can cause dry skin. Moisturizers are designed to be used sparingly and too much can have an adverse effect on the skin. Over-moisturizing doesn’t allow enough time for the skin to absorb the product completely and then ‘breathe’ between applications. Common indicators of too much moisturizer include clogged pores, blemishes, blackheads, uneven texture, and excess oil production. And, in some cases, even parched or flaky skin reminiscent of dryness will result.

What are the Effects of Too Much Moisturizer?

While moisturizing is essential to skin health, it’s important not to overdo it! According to Dr. Brei PhD, too much of a good thing will negatively affect how the skin looks and feels. If you moisturize too much overtime begins to act like a barrier not letting the skin breathe anymore.  Also according to an article that was published, you moisturize too much or too frequently, skin becomes over time, producing less and less of its own natural moisturizer, which is sebum or oil. Over-moisturizing triggers skin to stop producing oil, thinking it has enough water, lipids, and proteins. This slows down the absorption of these vital nutrients, resulting in excessive dryness.

How to Avoid Moisturizing Too Much?

The best way to avoid over-moisturizing is by ensuring your skin is exfoliated and free of dead skin cells. Dead skin makes it harder for a moisturizer to penetrate and do its job, which is to soften and nourish deep down! Sloughing-off the top layer of the epidermis regularly allows the skin to accept topically applied moisturizer better. This enables you to use less and thus reap the full softening, smoothing and nourishing benefits of your moisturizer.

You don’t want to suffocate skin so be sure to use moisturizer sparingly and only as often as you cleanse your skin, which should be no more than twice a day (preferable once in the morning and then again in the evening). Follow the simple steps outlined below for best results:

Step One: Cleanse Skin

Using an all-natural soap or mild facial wash, gently yet thoroughly cleanse the skin with warm water (never hot, as this will dry-out skin even more). Pat dry lightly but leave a little bit of water on the skin for exfoliating purposes.

Step Two: Exfoliate the Skin

Slough off dead skin cells using a homemade scrub. Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with ¼ cup of grapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply to the skin in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water followed by a splash of cool. Pat dry gently.  

Step Three: Tone the Skin

After exfoliating, follow with an all-natural toner. Take 1/2 cup of witch hazel and combine it with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar and ½ cup of coconut water in a bottle and shake vigorously. Apply the liquid to a cotton ball and then wipe it all over your face, avoiding the delicate eye and lip areas.

Step Four: Moisturize the Skin

Apply a moisturizer suitable for your skin type (preferably one that’s water-based, all-natural, fragrance-free and dye-free). Give it time to penetrate completely before applying makeup in the morning or going to bed at night. For a good product to try, see below under the subheading entitled What is a Good Moisturizer for Dry Skin?

Just a word of caution. Before applying oils or any homemade skin formulas, it is important to perform a patch test on your skin. Even if you have never had a prior history of any skin irritation issues you may find that concentrations and different mixtures may cause slight irritation like rashes, swelling, itching or even burning. To learn how to perform a patch test on your skin CLICK HERE  

Why Is My Skin So Dry All of a Sudden?

If you experience dry skin ‘out of the blue’, then likely the culprit is something minor, like changes in the weather, reduced moisture in the air or taking too long, too hot baths/showers. Applying rich-hydrating moisturizers as well as avoiding harsh, irritating soaps will help alleviate skin dryness. If it gets worse and dryness gives way to skin itching, flaking, scaling, cracking or peeling, then perhaps a more serious chronic condition such as eczema or psoriasis is the cause and should be looked at by a dermatologist.

Why Does My Skin Feel Tight After Moisturizing?

If your skin feels taught and dry after moisturizing, then chances are it doesn’t contain enough (or the proper type) of emollients for your skin type. Aloe vera, for example, is an ideal lightweight moisturizer for oily skin but can dehydrate dry skin, if used too often. The enzymes in the gel act as an exfoliator, which can make dry skin feel even worse by stripping it of essential oils. Not all moisturizers are created equal, so make sure to choose one specifically suited to your skin’s needs.

How Do You Treat Extremely Dry Skin?

Treating dry skin need not be difficult or stressful! And it shouldn’t ‘break the bank’ either. The easiest (and best) ways to comfort and soothe extremely dry skin are also affordable and include the following:

  • Moisturize accordingly. Applying the right moisturizer for your skin type twice a day after cleansing is the best way to keep skin healthy and hydrated. Drier skin needs the intensity and hydration of oils or serums whereas oily skin can make do with lightweight creams or lotions.
  • Use warm (not hot) water for bathing. Long, hot showers or baths will only make dry skin worse. So, instead of hot water, use warm water and limit your time to only 10 minutes once or twice a day, if possible.
  • Avoid harsh soaps. Cleansers containing fragrances, dyes or other chemicals can irritate the skin and make dry skin even drier. Therefore, choose one that is all-natural and use it with warm or lukewarm water preferably twice a day (once during the day and once at night).
  • Use a humidifier. Hot, dry indoor air can strip skin of moisture and make it itchy or flaky. A portable home humidifier (or a unit that attaches to your furnace) will increase moisture in the environment, thus reducing skin dryness or sensitivity.
  • Wear clothes made from natural fibers. Choosing fabrics such as cotton or silk that allow the skin to breathe can help prevent dryness and irritation. Synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester should be avoided.
  • Use mild detergents. Laundry soaps and fabric softeners containing heavy perfumes or dyes can exasperate dry skin and cause irritation. Choose brands that are fragrance-free and colorant-free whenever possible.
  • Apply a hydrocortisone cream. In cases of extreme dryness, prescription hydrocortisone creams may be the only solution. They help reduce inflammation and promote skin healing. Consult a physician or dermatologist if symptoms persist over time.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated internally is just as important as moisturizing externally. Drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water per day will help your skin better retain moisture while improving its elasticity. Your skin will look and feel smoother, softer and healthier.

Also, there was a six-week study performed on the clinical improvements for very dry skin using a moisturizing cream that has a natural ingredient base that is colloidal oatmeal.

What is the Best Way to Keep My Skin Hydrated?

To ward off dry skin, you must keep it well-hydrated. This includes using products that provide the skin with the right amount and type of moisture in the right manner. The best ways to do this include the following:

  • Use water-based skincare products. Consider using a water-based moisturizer. They penetrate the skin quicker and nourish deep down, rather than simply ‘coat’ the surface like many oil-based moisturizers.
  • Apply moisturizer to wet skin. Using moisturizer on damp skin is far more effective than on dry skin. A bit of water on the skin’s surface helps lock in hydration and keeps it from evaporating too quickly.
  • Use a serum along with a moisturizer. Excessively dry skin often requires ‘a little something more.’ Applying a serum after cleansing and before moisturizing will help enhance the hydration-retention properties of almost any topically applied cream or lotion.
  • Try a weekly facial mask. Treating yourself to a moisturizing mask once a week will provide the skin with extra nourishment and intense hydration. There are many varieties to pick from so be sure to choose wisely. Look for one that’s specifically designed for your unique skin type.
  • Spritz on a facial spray. Try using a facial mist throughout the day to refresh and rehydrate dry skin. You can even make your own version by combining ½ cup of rose water with 2 tablespoons of jojoba and 1 tablespoon of glycerin in a spray bottle and taking it with you on-the-go!

What Deficiency Causes Dry Skin?

If your skin still feels tight and uncomfortable even after applying moisturizer, perhaps it’s more of an internal (rather than external) issue. B-vitamin deficiencies, especially of the B3, B6 and B12 varieties, can cause excessive skin dryness, itching, and irritation.

Lack of vitamin C can also affect collagen production essential to skin health and hydration, causing dryness. As well, low levels of vitamin A (or retinol) will slow skin cell production and regeneration, thus making it feel dry and rough.

What Can Dry Skin be a Sign of?

If you notice your skin no longer responds well to topically applied moisturizer, then perhaps the reason is of a more serious nature. Apart from vitamin deficiencies, dry skin can also be a symptom of the following:

  • Allergies. Skin dryness and irritation are often the results of environmental factors, such as dust, wind, and changes in weather, especially the onset of colder temperatures. Exposure to high heat and sunlight can also make skin feel dry.
  • Dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis (often referred to as eczema) is a chronic skin condition that can result in extremely dry/irritated skin, rashes and redness. Both genetic and environmental factors are often the cause.
  • Psoriasis. This chronic skin condition is a type of autoimmune disorder and results in dry, red, itchy skin that peels and appears scaly. The cause is largely unknown although most doctors believe it has to do with genetics and/or a weakened immune system.

What Should I Eat for Dry Skin?

Using moisturizer on dry skin is only half of the battle! To truly combat it, you must nourish the body from the inside out. Foods to eat that will help (if cream/lotion alone no longer does the trick) include the following:

  • Fish
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coconut
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Cucumbers
  • Berries

And don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids as well. The recommended amount, on average, is 8 eight-ounce glasses (or ½ gallon) of water per day and an additional 40 ounces of other richly hydrating liquids including green tea, coconut water, and electrolyte-infused water, if possible.

What is a Good Moisturizer for Dry Skin?

The best moisturizer for dry skin is one that is all-natural! It should also be dye-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and nourish (as well as moisturize) the skin. A great example is Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Daily Face Moisturizer (on Amazon). It’s rich in vitamins A, B, C and E and is non-comedogenic, sulfate-free and hypo-allergenic. It’s also 97% naturally derived!

 It’s affordably priced and, best of all, can be delivered right to your front door. Go online and check it out today! Trust me, your skin will thank you for it!

Or, if you prefer a water-based moisturizer, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel  (on Amazon) is a good brand to try. It absorbs quickly and hydrates deeply. It’s also dye-free, fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. It contains purified hyaluronic acid which is found naturally in healthy skin. As well, it’s dermatologist-recommended.


To conclude, the typical reason why skin often feels dry (even after moisturizing) is dehydration. Contrary to popular belief, dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same thing. Where the skin lacks oil, dehydrated skin lacks water. Therefore, regardless of how much cream or lotion you apply topically, your skin if dehydrated will still feel dry. But don’t despair, there are easy, natural ways to treat and relieve excessively dry skin!

To ward off dehydration, you should use the proper cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing products for your skin type. You must also eat and drink the right foods and liquids daily. The most common causes of dry skin are usually minor, such as changes in weather outdoors or surrounding environment. However, chronic skin conditions and allergies can also be responsible for excessively dry skin and may require special treatment and a visit to your doctor or dermatologist.

Hopefully, this article has been both interesting and informative. Thanks for reading. Here’s to skin health!