Dry, flaky skin is a fairly common winter problem. This is because the cold air is almost always drier than the rest of the year. This leads to it naturally leeching moisture from your skin over time simply be exposure. It gets worse when the wind is up and whipping against your face. Fortunately, skin that gets that dry isn’t actually that hard to fix. You just need to learn how to be appropriately gentle with your skin. Working with it to help it heal will provide you with the most effective route forward. Not everyone knows what steps to take though. We’re going to review the best ways you can gently remove dry skin to help ensure you know what to do. That will help you be sure that your skin will remain as healthy as possible even if you notice a little flaking this winter or any time after.
Properly moisturizing your skin is honestly the best thing you can do if you don’t want to try any harsher techniques. Skin becomes dry and flaky due to a lack of being properly moisturized, after all. You’re going to want to find a thicker moisturizer than the one you usually use to help heal your skin though. What you’re going to look for necessarily varies depending on your usual skin type. People with “normal” skin can generally reach for any basic oil-based moisturizer to help improve their skin. This isn’t the case with more extreme skin types though. For instance, people with oily skin need to avoid oil-based moisturizers even if they’re the most effective for treating dry skin. They’ll want to reach for water-based lotions most of the time. People with already dry skin will want to look for the most potent products for dry skin though: oil-based moisturizing creams. Picking the right moisturizer will let your skin slowly recover and cease to flake.
Cleansers come in a lot of forms, but most of them are at least lightly acidic and capable of gently dissolving dead, dry skin. This does require you to know what you’re looking for though. Dry, flaky skin generally demands that you’ll want to find a product that advertises itself as “gentle” or “for sensitive skin”. If your skin is dry enough to flake, the general rule is to treat it like it is sensitized for its own sake. Gentle cleansers that use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or citric acid are particularly effective for this use. AHAs aren’t as harsh as their older sibling, salicylic acid, and yet are potent enough to help clean up the skin properly when used. The key here is to remember to moisturize after you’ve cleansed to counter any further drying cleansers might cause. You should be able to get rid of dry, flaky patches this way slightly faster than with moisturizer alone.
The fastest way to deal with dry, flaky patches of skin is exfoliating them, but this needs to be done carefully to avoid hurting the skin. Fortunately, you can do this if you’re willing to take things slowly and be gentle with your skin. A good key point to remember is that your skin should be wet when attempting to exfoliate a dry, flaking area. This will make it easier on your skin. The actual product or technique that you use for exfoliation can vary though. Some people recommend a gentle scrub with a washcloth, but there are plenty of scrubs and chemical exfoliating products available as well. When using a scrub, try to favor gentle ones such as rice powder products that are less likely to hurt the skin. Avoid salt and sugar scrubs due to the potential damage their use might cause. You can try to use a salicylic acid-based chemical exfoliator, but you must remember to moisturize right after to counter the pronounced drying effect of the ingredient. Don’t exfoliate more than once or twice a week either regardless of how stubborn the flaking spot is or you might make it worse.
Dry, flaking areas of skin are easy enough to deal with if you take the time to handle them carefully. You’re always going to need to have an effective moisturizer available to properly help the skin heal, but a good cleanser or exfoliating method can speed up the process. Pay attention to your skin when doing this though. If it gets red or feels sensitive to the touch after using one of the latter two methods, stick with just using a moisturizer for a week or two to let your skin recover.