Dry Skin on the Face: Causes, Treatments, and More. Pt 1

Dry skin is a common skin issue, especially during the cold and windy months.

If your facial skin is rough, flaky, or thirsty, there are ways you can help rehydrate and prevent dry skin from taking over.

Read on to learn the top tips for keeping the skin on your face soft, supple, and dewy all year round.

What causes dry skin on the face?

Dryness occurs when your skin doesn’t have enough water or oil.

Dry skin is known in the medical world as xerosis or xeroderma. It usually comes from a loss of fats that keep the skin moist. It can also occur due to a lack of natural moisturising factors, like lactic acid, sugars, and urea.

Dry skin can affect anyone at any time, and it doesn’t usually just affect the face. You may have dry skin year-round or just during cold weather months, when the temperatures drop and the humidity lowers.

You may also notice dry skin when you:

  1. are residing in a dry climate or using dry indoor heat
  2. are traveling, for instance going to a low humidity area or experiencing dry air on an airplane
  3. come into contact with chlorine in a swimming pool
  4. experience excessive sun exposure
  5. are exposed to wind or cold
  6. use harsh alkaline soaps
  7. take frequent long, hot showers
  8. come into contact with an irritant or allergen
  9. experience dehydration

Learn more about your skin types

Medical reasons for dry skin can include

Skin conditions, thyroid or endocrine disorders, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, certain medications

Severely dry skin can lead to superficial cracks in the skin. This increases the risk of getting an infection on the skin. If you suspect you have an infection, you should consult a doctor.

Symptoms of infection include:

  • Skin tenderness
  • skin that’s warm to the touch
  • redness
  • cracked skin that may ooze pus
  • fever (rarely)

Other symptoms of dry skin:

If the skin on your face is dry, it may flake or itch. Sometimes, it can feel tight to touch or even hurt. 

  • scaling
  • peeling
  • feeling flushed
  • warm cheeks
  • an ashy look for those with a darker complexion
  • rough or sandpaper-like skin
  • bleeding (rarely).

Dry skin can generally be treated by tweaking your skin care routine or changing some environmental factors.

Sometimes dry skin is a sign of an underlying medical condition that should be treated by your doctor.

If your dry skin won’t go away with some tweaks to your skin care routine, you may want to speak with a dermatologist.

What is dry skin a symptom of? 

As mentioned above, dry skin can be a symptom of many things, including:

Environment, Aging, Medications, Skin conditions, Dehydration, Metabolic or endocrine disorders, Vitamin or mineral deficiencies


Dry skin can be a symptom of advancing in age.

As you age, your skin naturally produces less oil, which can result in your skin becoming drier.


If your skin is unexplainably dry, the answer could be lurking in your medicine cabinet.

Medications Source that may cause skin dryness include:

  • Statins
  • Isotretinoin, also called Accutane
  • Retinoids
  • Prolonged use of topical steroids
  • Diuretics
  • Cholesterol-lowing drugs
  • Calcium channel blocker
  • Beta blockers
  • Anti-rheumatic drugs
  • Birth control
  • Cytostatic agents
  • Radiation from cancer treatment
  • Anti-androgens
  • Antihistamines


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