Hydrating Skin Care Routine For Dry Skin

How To Create A Hydrating Skin Care Routine For Dry Skin

Reference Lab

JUN 03, 2023

A consistent skin care routine is essential for all skin types, but especially important for individuals with a dry skin type. Dry skin can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including itching, cracking, and flaking. Severely dry skin can make individuals more susceptible to environmental damage, such as UV radiation and pollution, which can accelerate skin aging and increase the risk of skin disorders. So, developing a skin care regimen for dry skin is essential.

01 How Can You Create an Effective Dry Skin Care Routine?

The first step in developing the best skin care routine for dry skin is to identify the root cause of the dryness. So, what are the causes of dry flaky skin? In some cases, dry skin is caused by genetics and can’t be changed. However, even when genetics is the cause, a skin care routine for dry skin can help reduce symptoms and prevent it from worsening.1

Other common causes of dry skin include environmental factors such as low humidity, harsh soaps and detergents, and long hot showers. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, and using certain medications can also contribute to dry and dehydrated skin. If possible, it’s best to identify and address the root cause.1

Once you’ve started tackling the cause of your dry skin, you can develop a regimen that will help alleviate the dryness. The following are a few basic steps to start you on your skin care routine for dry skin.


No matter how busy the day is, cleansing in the evening is a must. Cleansing removes impurities, makeup, pollution, and oil. For those with dry skin, opting for a mild, hydrating cleanser will help remove impurities without causing irritation or further drying out the skin. Choose a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils, which can exacerbate dryness.

Additionally, cleansing can help to prepare the skin for any other skin care product, such as moisturizers and serums. Cleansing creates a clean slate, allowing the following products & ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively and provide optimal nourishment. Finally, a toner is an optional step after cleansing to help balance pH. When using a toner, choose one that’s alcohol-free and made specifically for dry or dehydrated skin.
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Though entirely optional, exfoliating is beneficial for dry skin because it helps to remove dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin's surface, causing a dull, rough appearance. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliating can help to smooth and brighten the skin, improving its overall texture and tone.2

Exfoliating can also help to increase the effectiveness of other topical skin care products by allowing them to penetrate the skin more deeply. However, a gentle exfoliator is recommended because over-exfoliation can injure dry skin. A regular exfoliating routine (not more than once a week) can help individuals with dry skin to maintain healthy, radiant skin.


Serums and moisturizers are essential for those with dry skin because dry skin often lacks the natural oils and moisture needed to keep it soft, smooth, and supple. In addition, they provide hydration and nourishment to reduce dry skin symptoms like itching, flaking, and cracking.

These products also contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides that help to replenish the skin's moisture barrier and improve its ability to retain hydration. Most serums are lightweight, fast-absorbing formulas with high concentrations of active ingredients such as vitamin C, antioxidants, and peptides.1

Moisturizers are thicker, more emollient formulas that help to seal in moisture and prevent water loss. They typically combine humectants, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and occlusives, such as petrolatum and shea butter, to provide deep hydration and nourishment to dry skin.


Sun protection is necessary for all skin types, not just dry skin. Dry skin, however, is more susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation due to its often weakened skin barrier. This compromised barrier can make the skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. As a result, the sun can cause damage to the skin easily, including premature aging, wrinkles, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, which can help to protect the skin from harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of sun damage. Additionally, wearing protective clothing when possible, such as hats and long-sleeved shirts, and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun during peak hours can help to further protect the skin from sun damage.3


A peptide eye cream or peptide moisturizer is helpful for for those with dry skin because the delicate skin around the eyes is more prone to dryness and dehydration, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and a tired, dull appearance. Eye serums are specifically formulated to provide intense hydration and nourishment to this delicate area, helping to smooth and brighten the skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Eye serums typically contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, which can help to hydrate, depuff, and protect the skin around the eyes. Incorporating an eye serum into a daily skin care routine can help individuals with dry skin to maintain a vibrant appearance.

02 What Are the Most Important Products to Include In Your Dry Skin Health Routine?

As with any skin type, the ingredients you use in your skin care routine can make all the difference. For people with dry skin, products made for “all skin types” or specifically for dry skin are recommended. These products include ingredients that boost hydration, nourish the skin, and strengthen the skin barrier. In addition, look for products that contain a hydrating ingredient such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, natural oils, and glycerin.

03 How Should You Determine Which Products to Incorporate Into Your Routine?

“Moisture” is the word to look for when choosing products for dry skin. Ingredients that boost moisture and feed thirsty skin the best results. Here are some of the best ingredients to help soothe and nourish your dry skin:
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant. It’s an ingredient often found in serums and moisturizers for dry skin and the prevention of wrinkles.4
  • Glycerin: Glycerin is a natural humectant that helps to draw moisture into the skin and keep it there.5
  • Collagen-Promoting Ingredients: Collagen boosts elastin, laminin, and fibronectin, all critical for supple and smooth skin. Because collagen is often too large to penetrate the skin barrier, if products contain collagen, it may not be effective at increasing collagen levels in skin. Instead, opt for ingredients that help to boost skin’s natural collagen and elastin production, like OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide (shown in lab studies by increasing a key biomarker associated with collagen production in human skin samples (Zonari, et al))6
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps to reduce inflammation and improve the skin’s barrier function. It can help to reduce the appearance of redness and irritation associated with dry skin.7

04 What are products to avoid when creating your dry skin health routine?

Because dry skin may compromise the skin barrier, individuals with dry skin are often extra sensitive to harsh products. Those with dry skin may need to avoid the following:
  • Alcohol
  • Retinoids
  • Fragrances
  • Dyes
  • Sulfates
  • Rough exfoliants and scrubs
Avoiding the products and ingredients above can help prevent skin irritations and further dryness.

05 How Should Your AM vs. PM Routines Compare?

With a skin care regimen for dry skin, an AM (morning) and PM (evening) routine should focus on different goals. In the morning, the priority is to hydrate and protect the skin from environmental stressors. The routine should include a gentle gel cleanser, followed by a hydrating moisturizer, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

In contrast, the PM routine aims to repair and nourish the skin while you sleep. This routine should include a gentle cleanser, a moisturizer with nourishing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and potentially an additional facial oil or serum to lock in extra moisture. Using these products consistently can help improve dry skin’s overall health and appearance.

06 Choosing OneSkin to Help Alleviate Dryness

For a boost in skin hydration, consider incorporating the following OneSkin products into your skin care routine:
  • PREP: Prep has been shown to enhance a key biomarker associated with skin hydration, AQP3, when used together with OS-01 FACE (Shown in lab studies on ex vivo human skin samples).
  • OS-01 FACE: OneSkin’s OS-01 FACE is clinically validated to improve skin’s barrier function (+15% on average, shown by analyzing trans epidermal water loss in a 12-week clinical study performed by a third-party CRO). With a stronger skin barrier, your skin will be better equipped to retain the moisture that you introduce to it both externally (through topical products & your environment) and internally (through drinking plenty of water and a balanced diet).
  • OS-01 EYE: This eye serum has been shown to increase a key biomarker associated with collagen production, COL1A1, and reduce a key biomarker associated with collagen degradation, MMP1 (Shown in lab studies on ex vivo human skin samples grown from human eyelid skin). This could enable the skin around the eyes to produce and retain higher collagen levels, which may bolster its ability to retain moisture.
  • OS-01 BODY: OS-01 BODY has been shown to increase skin’s epidermal thickness (Shown in lab studies on ex vivo human skin samples). By bolstering your epidermal thickness, your skin could be better equipped to retain moisture throughout the day.
OneSkin simplifies the search for high-quality products that cater to dry skin. Why? Because OneSkin products work with all skin types. Gentle enough for dry skin but strong enough to make a visible and lasting difference, OneSkin can help promote healthy, radiant, and hydrated skin.

Key Takeaways:

  • The ideal skin care routine for dry skin includes the following steps:
    1. Cleanser and an optional toner
    2. Gentle exfoliation not more than once a week (also optional)
    3. Serums and moisturizers (before putting on makeup or sunscreen)
    4. Daily sun protection
  • For a skin care routine for dry skin, choose high-quality products with hydrating ingredients.
  • OneSkin products have been shown to improve key biomarkers associated with improved hydration, so skin can stay hydrated throughout the entire day. Designed with every skin type in mind, OneSkin’s products are gentle enough for dry and sensitive skin, yet effective at addressing the root cause of skin aging.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK565884/
  2. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/safely-exfoliate-at-home
  3. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5560567/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8824545/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6824628/
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