Why Is My Skin So Dry Even When I Moisturize: 6 Reasons

If you’re dedicated to your skincare routine but even daily moisturization doesn’t seem to be enough to keep your skin comfortable, you’re likely wondering what the culprit is. 

“If your skin is dry despite proper moisturization, a lifestyle or environmental factor may be to blame.”

  • Shani Darden, Esthetician

You may find yourself applying moisturizer several times a day and may still experience tight and dry skin. When you want glowing, flawless skin, there may be a logical reason for the lack of moisture in your skin. 

1. Weather & Environment

During the cooler months, the air is less humid. This dry air can zap extra moisture away from your skin and leave it feeling tight — especially if it is chilly enough to turn the heat on. That extra heat in your home is another source of the dryness that can make your skin feel rough. 

When the temperatures dip outside, you may be drawn to hot showers. Like the warmer air, warmer water can also dry your skin out. Which doesn’t seem logical, as you might think spending more time in the water would make your skin extra moisturized. In the long term, hot water can cause your skin to dry out sooner.

Extra moisture is key during the winter, so I recommend using a humidifier and never skipping moisturizer at night. While a long, hotbath seems like the ticket to warming up when it is freezing outside, too many long baths can be extra drying. Try to take shorter showers or baths. 

After you towel off, apply moisturizer as soon as possible. Moisturizing while your skin is still damp is an effective way to lock in moisture.

2. You’re Over-Cleansing

While cleansing your face is already a part of your daily skin routine, you can overdo it if you are cleansing multiple times daily. While consistency is key with skincare, too much cleansing can be too much of a good thing. 

When you cleanse too much, you are removing oils from your skin and not allowing enough time for that natural barrier to reestablish itself. 

While clean skin is important, over-cleansing can exacerbate any issues you experience with acne or dry skin. Using a gentle cleanser ensures that not all the important oils and lipids are stripped from your skin. 

3. Your Cleanser Is Too Harsh

You already know all about choosing effective ingredients for your skincare concerns. The amount of an ingredient in your cleanser or moisturizer is just as important as what the ingredient does. Just like cleansing too much, an effective ingredient can become harsh when the amount is too high. 

This is especially true of salicylic acid cleansers, which can help exfoliate and clear out congestion. While ridding your skin of all the clogged pores and dead skin sounds amazing, salicylic acid can also strip your skin of the oils it needs to avoid drying out. 

If your skin becomes too dry, it may overcompensate by producing more oil. This will begin the unwanted cycle of having too oily skin, but after washing, your skin still feels taut and dry. When introducing new ingredients to your skincare routine, start with a lower amount and work your way up. While it may take some time to see a change, it will be easier to keep your skin moisture at a hopefully more manageable level. 

Using a gentle cleanser like my Cleansing Serum is perfect for feeling clean and refreshed. Your skin will feel silky and soft but still clean. It is formulated with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and oat bran extract to help attract moisture and repair the skin’s barrier.

4. You’re Using the Wrong Type of Moisturizer

You may moisturize multiple times a day and not even know that the culprit making your skin dry is what you are slathering on. If you’ve used the same moisturizer without fail for years, but now your skin is even more dry, it may be time for a change.

As we age, our skin changes, which may mean that this moisturizer isn’t as effective as it once was. If you have changed any of the other products in your routine, the ingredients in your moisturizer may not be playing nice with other ingredients. Be especially mindful of any fragrances or dyes as they can be drying too. 

If you are first starting with retinoids, take care to use the recommended amount and start slow. Every other day use can be sufficient, but you may find that applying every two to three days is your perfect starting point. 

After you hydrate your face, you’ll also want to hydrate the area around your eyes. This area has delicate skin and shows the effects of dehydration first. My Intensive Eye Renewal Cream is formulated to be extra hydrating for the thinner skin around your eyes. 

5. You’re Over-Exfoliating

Exfoliating is a great way to slough away dead skin cells that may make your skin look dull. It also leaves your face feeling smooth and allows hydrating products to properly penetrate the skin.

When you over-exfoliate your skin, it can cause irritation, redness, and peeling. Our skin is great at keeping pollutants and allergens away when it is healthy. Exfoliating is essential for healthy skin overall, but too much exfoliating can leave the skin raw and more susceptible to bacteria.

When your skin’s natural moisture barrier has been compromised, your skin will not be able to retain moisture naturally. This can cause your skin to feel flaky, and you may start to see dehydration lines or fine lines in your skin. 

6. Your Body Is Dehydrated

Achieving hydrated skin calls for a combination of using the right products and doing your best to keep up with the recommended water intake. While health professionals recommend at least 64 ounces of water a day, you can also count tea and juice towards your total daily intake. 

Being hydrated can help you retain that natural glow that makes you look refreshed from the inside out. Of course, you’ll need to moisturize on the outside as well, but put those together, and you’ll look and feel great. 

Final Thoughts

A skincare regimen is one of the best investments you can make, not only for the condition and look of your skin, but also for how you feel. When your skin is adequately moisturized and cared for, any cosmetics will apply better, and you can feel confident in your complexion.

While it can certainly be frustrating to deal with dry skin, especially if you’re certain you’re doing everything right, there are still ways for you to get your dream skin. Understanding why dry skin occurs keeps you prepared and able to recognize what the culprit may be. You’ll be able to easily identify the cause of your dryness and get back to being your glowing self once more. 

Check out more of my skin tips so you can achieve and maintain the skin you have always wanted. 


Dry skin management: practical approach in light of latest research on skin structure and function | NCBI

Effects of lipid extraction and soaking | National Library of Medicine

Tips to Combat Dry Skin in Winter | Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials