Dry skin

Dry Skin 101: How To Identify This Skin Type

Reference Lab

JUN 01, 2023

There are many different skin types, but if you’re experiencing itching, flaking, or cracking skin, your skin type is probably “dry.” Dry skin is a common skin condition that impacts people of all ages. It can be uncomfortable, frustrating, and upsetting – especially when dry skin occurs on the face. So, how do you know if you have this skin type?

01 What is Dry Skin?

Dry skin, also known as xerosis, is a common skin condition characterized by a lack of water content in the skin. This lack of water content can be caused by dehydration, loss of natural oils which helps retain water in skin, or a combination of both. It can affect anyone anytime, but dry skin is more prevalent among older adults and people with specific medical conditions. For some people, dry skin occurs due to genetics. But for many others, dry skin stems from harsh cleansers, the weather, or dehydration.

When it comes to the skin’s appearance, dry skin can be very disruptive. Dry and dehydrated skin can significantly impact the skin layers, particularly the epidermis and the dermis. When the skin is dry, its water content is low, leading to a variety of issues. The skin’s outer and most visible layer (stratum corneum) becomes thickened and flaky. This can result in a rough texture and a dull, lackluster appearance.

Dry skin isn’t just worrisome visually, it can also compromise the health of the skin.This is because the stratum corneum serves as a barrier to protect the skin from external factors. When it’s too dry, this skin barrier is weakened, making your skin and internal system more susceptible to damage from environmental stressors.

Chronically dry facial skin can also reduce collagen and weaken elastin fibers, which causes the skin to lose its elasticity and firmness. This reduction can result in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Additionally, dry skin can cause the sebaceous gland to produce less oil, which often leads to insufficient lubrication and protection for the skin. Overall, dryness adversely affects the skin, which could lead to many other skin problems.1

02 What causes dry skin?

A variety of factors can cause dry skin, from genetics to the environment. To properly manage dry facial skin, it’s best to get at the root cause of the problem. The following are a few common sources of dry skin which can degrade skin's natural oils and/or lead to dehydration:
  • Skin exposure to alcohol-based products
  • Dry, windy, or cold climates
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Showering, bathing, or cleansing in hot water
  • Excessive cleansing or washing
  • Rough or too frequent exfoliation treatments
Recent studies also indicate that dry skin may have a genetic cause, especially as people age. The good news is that dry skin is treatable and can be managed.2,3
Skin Health Powered by Longevity Science. Learn more!

03 Characteristics of Dry Skin

Symptoms of dry skin can vary depending on the severity of the condition. However, there are signature signs of dry skin which include:1
  • Rough, scaly, or flaky skin
  • Itching or irritation
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Fine lines or cracks in the skin
  • Skin that feels tight or uncomfortable
Left untreated, some cases of dry skin can lead to the appearance of more wrinkles and accelerated skin aging. In addition, severe cases of dry skin may result in cracked skin, which opens the door to harmful pathogens and scarring.

04 How to Identify Dry Skin

How can you tell if you have a dry skin type? First, take a close look at your skin. You may be dealing with dry skin if it appears dull, rough, or scaly. You may also notice patches of redness or flaking, especially on the cheeks, hands, and arms. Additionally, if you have dry skin, you may experience itching and tightness, especially after showering, sun exposure, or washing your face.1

Second, pay attention to your skin’s texture. Dry skin will feel tight and uncomfortable, while hydrated skin should feel soft and supple. You may also notice that your skin is less elastic, which can enhance the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Third, consider your environment. Dry air strips water from the skin, so if you live in a dry climate or spend a lot of time indoors with air conditioning, you may be more prone to a dry skin condition. Additionally, if you spend a lot of time in the sun unprotected, your skin may become dry and scaly.4

Finally, watch for any changes in your skin’s appearance. If your skin is becoming increasingly dry and flaky, it’s time to take action. You can start by using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer to help bolster your lipid barrier and moisturize your skin. Additionally, consider using a humidifier to help add moisture to the air and protect your skin from dryness.

Combating dry skin can be difficult, but taking action quickly is important. If you are able to recognize the signs and symptoms, you can take steps to protect your skin barrier and keep it healthy.

05 What Are the Do’s and Don'ts of Dry Skin?

Caring for dry skin takes a little special attention, but skin health is worth it! The following are some do's and don'ts to remember when caring for dry skin.


  1. Moisturize regularly: The most critical step in caring for dry skin is to moisturize regularly. This will help bolster your lipid barrier so that your skin can retain water more effectively. Moisturizers often also contain humectants, which attract and hold onto water, thereby increasing the water content in skin. Apply a high-quality moisturizer and peptide body lotion at least twice a day.
  2. Use a gentle cleanser: It is important to follow essential face cleansing steps, however, be sure to avoid harsh soaps and cleansers that can strip the skin of its natural oil. Instead, use a gentle, hydrating gel cleanser free of parabens and other potential irritants, like sulfates and fragrances.
  3. Exfoliate gently: Exfoliation removes flakes, sloughs away dead skin cells, and promotes cell turnover. That said, it’s crucial to exfoliate gently. Over-exfoliating can further dry out the skin.
  4. Use a humidifier: Because dry air exacerbates dry skin, consider adding some moisture back into the air with a humidifier. A humidifier is especially helpful during winter or in areas with low humidity (like office areas or air-conditioned spaces).
  5. Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is not just crucial for skin health, but it’s also beneficial for your overall health! So drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin and body well-hydrated from the inside out.


  1. Use hot water: Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, so avoid using hot water when showering or washing your face. Instead, use lukewarm water. Pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel to dry.
  2. Over-exfoliate: Over-exfoliating worsens dry skin. Avoid using harsh scrubs or exfoliants, and avoid exfoliating too often. For most people this is more than once or twice a week.
  3. Use irritating skin care products: Fragrances, dyes, sulfates, and harsh alcohols can further dry out the skin and cause irritation. Avoid using skin care products that contain these ingredients and opt for fragrance-free, gentle formulas instead.
  4. Spend too much time in the sun: Sun exposure can further dry out the skin, so be sure to wear sunscreen and limit your time in the sun (you should even be wearing sunscreen in winter), especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In summary, caring for dry skin requires a gentle touch and a focus on hydration and moisturization. By following these do's and don'ts, you can help to keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and looking its best.

06 How to Take Care of Dry Skin with OS-01

OneSkin’s proprietary OS-01 peptide has been shown to increase key markers associated with hyaluronic acid production, shown in lab studies on ex vivo human skin models (Zonari, et al., 2023). This means that the peptide may increase your skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, allowing it to stay better hydrated on its own.

Consider adding the following OneSkin topical skin care products to your daily skin care routine for dry skin to boost hydration and moisture: All OneSkin products are free of fragrances, sulfates, and parabens – ingredients that can cause dryness and more skin concerns. Furthermore, the OS-01 peptide has been shown to promote a significant increase in skin’s epidermal thickness (skin barrier), shown in lab studies on ex vivo human skin samples (Zonari, et al. 2023). With an enhanced epidermal thickness, your skin is better equipped to retain the moisture you introduce to it externally (through topical products & your environment) and internally (through drinking plenty of water and a balanced diet).

Key Takeaways:

  • A lack of hydration (water content in skin) characterizes dry skin, also known as xerosis.
  • Dry skin can be caused by decreased water content in skin, degraded lipid barrier, or a combination of both.
  • Genetics, harsh skin care products, low-humidity environments, over-exfoliation, and dehydration can all lead to dry skin.
  • Without the proper care, dry skin can worsen the appearance of wrinkles and compromise skin health by weakening the skin barrier.
  • Dry and dehydrated skin can be managed through a consistent skincare routine using moisturizing and hydrating products that are gentle on the skin, along with drinking plenty of water.
  • All OneSkin products are free of fragrances, sulfates, and parabens – ingredients that can dry out your skin. Though gentle, OneSkin’s products are potent hydrators and moisturizers.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565884/
  2. https://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(21)00227-X/fulltext
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6805713/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26449379/
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