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dry skin skincare rulesSource: Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock

Possibly THE most important skincare rule that everyone should know to live in their best skin, is to understand your skin type. Skincare ingredients that can work miracles for some skin types could be a total disaster for others; so if you have dry skin, you should always avoid products targeted for oily skin. Dry skin is often sensitive as well, so you need to treat it extra carefully, which is why we spoke to celeb dermatologist, Dr. Colbert, aka the guy responsible for Sienna Miller and Naomi Watts’ glowing skin. But, before we get into how to treat dry skin, here’s how to know if your skin is dry:

What dry skin looks like: Dry skin is often dull, especially around the eyes, accentuating fine lines and wrinkles. If your skin is dry, your pores will most likely be small and barely visible (yay for you!). Your skin might feel tight and rough, it may even chap. Although, if your skin is extremely flakey, you’re also likely to have eczema or dermatitis.

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Why it’s dry: Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the corneous layer, which also makes your pores less visible due to the lack of sebum. The lack of moisture also means that your skin loses its natural elasticity, which is why it feels tight.

1. Don’t Overwash Your Skin

As much as we love soaking in a steaming hot bath or splashing our face with warm water, Dr. Colbert says its important not to “over wash dry skin because it upsets the natural skin barrier that holds in moisture and protects the delicate equilibrium between dry and oily.” In simpler terms, you’ll be stripping your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin drier than before. Instead, you should limit yourself to washing your face twice a day and immediately follow with hydrating skincare formulas such as a nourishing face oil or an overnight hydrating mask.

2. Don’t Let Your Skin Air Dry

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If you have dry skin, you need to avoid the temptation to let your skin air dry. Dr. Colbert explains that this is because the “evaporation further dries the skin.” Although he says that “water on the skin is fine,” but you should “pat off water and then seal in the surface water with a face oil like the COLBERT MD Illumino Face Oil, $150.” This will help your skin retain the moisture from the water and lock in extra layers of hydration.

3. Avoid Drying Products  

Dr. Colbert insists that you need to stay clear of any “drying, water-based products as they “evaporate off the skin unless one seals them in with an oil.” He continues to say if there’s one skin and body product you should avoid at all costs, it’s soap, because “soaps have a special molecule that finds oils and strips them from the skin. We need our natural oils for retaining moisture,” so make sure you never use soaps.

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4. Ditch the Toner

Although many people believe this is an essential skincare step, Dr. Colbert disagrees and recommends that people with dry skin  “skip using a toner, as they’re usually very drying and instead use an essence, like the NYDG Luminizing Skin Essence, $105.” For those of you who don’t know, an essence is a K-Beauty savior: it’s a super hydrating, mega lightweight formula that has a high concentration of active ingredients that can boost skin turnover, which will replenish dry skin. As most toners are astringent they draw oil and moisture from the skin, but if you’re set on using a toner (they’re great for removing those last bits of makeup your double cleanse couldn’t budge), try something like the soothing, hydrating and pH balancing Make P:rem Safe Relief Moisture Toner, $28. You can also look for toners that are alcohol-free, as alcohol is the most common astringent found in toners.

5. Never Scrub

We know it seems like a good idea at the time, but picking that flake of dry skin or scrubbing your face “clean” is actually not the best idea, in fact, it could be one of the worst. Over scrubbing or picking your skin can further aggravate its protective layer, and disrupt the oils in your skin, leaving your skin drier than ever. If you have dry skin, you should gently exfoliate once a week, and be sure to follow with deeply hydrating products.

Check out the following posts to find out what moisturizer, cleanser, and face oil will work best for dry skin.