Busting The WILDEST Dry Skin Myths We’ve Heard Around
Ever slapped toothpaste on a pimple? Or walked around with no sunscreen on a cloudy day? Well, you shouldn’t be doing either… Truth is, it would take us months to demystify all the wild skincare myths floating around, so we’ve decided to take it one skin type at a time, starting with dry skin.
Here to the rescue, we welcome New York-based dermatologists, Dr. Doris Day, Dr. Colbert, and Dr. Dennis Gross to the group chat – they’re about to spill some hard facts. Prepare your camera roll for some shocking screenshots.
Myth #1: You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
It’s easy to assume that dry and dehydrated skin are the same thing, but that’s just not true. Dr. Day explains that “dry skin is related to the outermost layer of the skin, namely the stratum corneum,” and occurs when the skin lacks natural oils (AKA sebum). On the other hand, “dehydrated skin is skin that has had excess water loss due to both internal and external factors” and is a condition. She continues to explain that “You can drink all the water there is and still have dry skin.” Wild.
The solution: Since your sebaceous glands aren’t producing enough natural oils, make sure you have a rich emollient cream in your skincare routine to protect your skin from further moisture loss. Check out our derm-approved routine for dry skin for our faves.
Myth #2: You Shouldn’t Be Exfoliating
Time and time again, dry skin cuties have been warned against exfoliating and its alleged skin-weakening abilities. There is some truth to this statement – dry skin typically has a weakened and sensitive outer layer, and OVER-exfoliation can ultimately worsen this. We’d recommend gentle, controlled exfoliation instead – “With dry skin, it’s important to exfoliate because [not exfoliating] can lead to clogged pores, but stay away from scrub cleansers as they can be too harsh on dry skin,” Dr. Gross confirms. We’d also cap the exfoliation to twice a week to be safe.
The solution: Use gentle exfoliators, like our WISHFUL Yo Glow AHA & BHA Facial Enzyme Scrub, $39, to gently buff away any dead skin cells without irritation. This will allow your skin to properly soak up the moisture from the mega-hydrators in your skincare routine – find the tea on exfoliation here.
Myth #3: Retinol Is Your Enemy
In the world of skincare, retinoids reign supreme. This cult active ingredient is backed up by endless scientific evidence. However, some *normal* notable reactions (including red skin, sensitivity, peeling, flaking, breakouts, and dryness) will occur as your skin purges and gets used to the potent ingredient.
The solution: Introduce a small but effective dosage, like The Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum, $22, into your routine two times a week. If your skin’s not reacting positively, try layering it on top of your moisturizer, so your skin has a barrier. Or, try Short Contact Therapy, where you apply and then rinse off the formula after ten minutes, allowing it to work its magic without causing irritation.
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Myth #4: More Product = Better
We’ll be honest, we believed this when we were younger, but now that we’ve read the derm terms, we know that slapping on excess serums or a huge scoop of moisturizer doesn’t fix dry skin concerns. If anything, it can make dry skin worse by increasing the chance of product pilling (when formulas gather into little balls), which essentially means the product won’t be absorbed into your skin properly anyway.
The solution: Pay attention to how much product you use; the order in which you layer them is just as important too! Screenshot our easy guide here if you’re having trouble figuring it out.
Myth #5: There’s No Such Thing As Washing Your Face ‘Too Much’
Nothing kicks the midday blues harder than a splash of water on our faces, but this ain’t it for dry skin. Dr. Colbert says you shouldn’t “overwash dry skin because it upsets the natural skin barrier that holds in moisture and protects the delicate equilibrium between dry and oily.” Translation: overwashing strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving it drier than before. Big yikes.
The solution: Limit washing your face to twice a day max – use warm water as hot temperatures can make your skin even drier. Swerve foam cleansers and opt for cleansing oils, balms (like our WISHFUL Clean Genie Cleansing Butter, $35), or cleansing milks, which keep your skin feeling soft and supple post-rinse as they don’t strip away your natural oils.
BTW, we debunked some insane skin trends and myths with a TikTok derm here too.
Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.