No doubt about it -- chapped hands and itchy elbows are definitely annoying, but when it comes to sheer irritation and unsightliness, nothing comes close to dry skin on your face. Dry flaky skin hurts to shave, makes you scratch, and is impossible to hide. It’s important to address the most likely dehydrated skin head-on with the right methods and the right products.
Dry Skin on Face | How to Deal with It Once and for All
1. Beware of the Boomerang
If the skin on your face is dry, it’s more than likely that you’re trapped in the “boomerang.” Some dudes end up with a vicious cycle of acne, dry patches, and angry red splotches. How? By trying to over-correct a problem like greasy skin.
Attacking a small amount of oiliness and the occasional pimple with harsh soap is sort of like taking a blowtorch to a single mosquito -- you do more harm than good.
What you’re really doing is stripping your skin of all its protective natural oils. That makes the oil glands work extra hard in some spots, producing pimples while drying out your skin entirely in others.
For most guys, the forehead and the eyebrow area tend to get flaky from over-washing. Cheeks can also get dry patches.
The solution is simple: at all costs, avoid these harsh products in favor of a gentle cleanser.
2. Stay Away from Scented Soaps and Washes
Washing your face can be a tricky balance. You’re trying to achieve both cleanliness and moisture at the same time. The trick is to use the gentlest possible facial wash -- if anything.
Heavily scented liquid or solid soaps contain fragrance oils. Fragrance oils tend to dry out the skin, which causes flakiness.
No matter how “manly” the scent of a face or body wash is, resist the urge to use it. Unscented, gentle products are still better for great skin care, especially for dry skin.
If you want to be sure of your choices, try both the no-cleanser method and the gentle cleanser method to figure out what’s right for you.
Whatever you do, don’t reach for the bar soap or strong body wash that’s formulated for the rest of your body. Unless it says “face and body,” it’s guaranteed to strip your natural oils.
3. Embrace Exfoliation
Any moisturizing product you choose for soothing dry skin on your face won’t be nearly as effective if it’s sitting on top of all those flakes.
A gentle exfoliating product is an ideal pre-moisturizing step. It removes dead skin cells, an especially important step for men with dry skin.
Exfoliating your skin can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines, as well as a muddy, rough-looking complexion.
If you have sensitive skin, choose an exfoliating product that’s mild. It’s often one with fine particles.
On the other hand, if your skin is coarse you may need more scrubbing, so a gritty exfoliant is a much better option. In the end, it may take a bit of experimenting to determine the one that’s best for you.
Regardless of your selection, wash your face first. Then rub a bit of the exfoliant into your hands and apply it to your face in gentle circular motions.
Rinse all of it off with plenty of water and then pat your face lightly with a clean towel. Next, you’ll move on to shaving and then to moisturizing. Use your facial scrub about twice a week.
4. Enlist Your Razor
Shaving also provides beneficial exfoliating action. Not only are you removing facial hair, but you’re also peeling off the dead skin cells that sit on the surface and cause dry, itchy skin.
Obviously, you can’t shave your entire face, but shaving can make a big difference to your cheeks and chin.
Even if you have a beard, neatening up your facial hair should include a bit of skin-planning along the perimeter of that beard. Again, this step ideally comes after cleansing and/or exfoliating, and before moisturizing.
5. Remember, When It Comes to Dry Skin on Your Face, Toners Aren’t Just for Printers
Also, with exfoliating and cleansing, toners work well at removing dead skin cells. They also help increase the level of moisture by evening out your skin’s pH levels, so both cleansing and hydration happen at the same time.
Unless the product you choose says otherwise, toners usually go on after shaving but before moisturizing. Swab a small amount over your face with a cotton ball.
There are different kinds of toners for different skin types. If you have both dry and oily sections on your face -- the dreaded “combination skin” -- you should be able to find a men’s toner that’s formulated for your skin type.
Make sure the toner you choose doesn’t have alcohol, which is better suited for all-oily skin rather than dry or combination faces. Natural toners for dry skin, meanwhile, often have aloe vera liquid and/or witch hazel rather than alcohol.
6. Choose the Best Moisturizer for Your Skin Type
Obviously, moisturizing products are the real superheroes when it comes to treating dry skin on the face and body.
For facial dryness, a light daytime gel is better than a thick lotion, which can clog pores. Look for a moisturizer that’s infused with healing ingredients such as vitamin E and aloe vera. Ideally, your daytime moisturizer will also contain sunscreen to protect you even in the winter.
Use a moisturizer in the morning and before you go to bed. If you want, use a different type at night -- one that’s a little more intensive and doesn’t have sunscreen.
Oils with hyaluronic acid provide both moisturizing and wrinkle control. Creams tend to have a higher concentration of ingredients such as glycerin, for overnight skin cell repair.
7. Fight the Chap
Winter’s winds hit your cheeks the hardest. Look for a wide-mouth chap balm rather than a “stick” that’s just for lips. A great anti-chap product will have a blend of natural ingredients such as aloe vera and beeswax, as well as shea, olive, cocoa and/or coconut oils.
Essential oils like healing calendula and chamomile are also ideal ingredients for soothing chapped cheeks and lips.
8. Take Note: Some Like It Hot -- But Your Skin Won’t
Avoid long hot showers most mornings. Your face will thank you for it. Like harsh soaps, hot water robs your skin of its natural moisture.
Lukewarm water is the way to go with showers so you don’t undo all your other moisturizing treatments.
9. Cover the Signs of Irritation and Dryness
Those red patches that lurk under the cheek, nose, and forehead flakes can be extra unsightly. Borrow a trick from women and use a unisex daytime moisturizer that has a bit of tint to it.
It will help mask uneven and red patches while it heals your skin. These subtle products do have a cosmetic advantage, but they’re not so obvious you’ll feel like you’re wearing makeup. Most tinted moisturizers also offer SPF protection.
10. Consider a Face Mask
Sometimes exfoliants, toners, and regular moisturizers just don’t seem to conquer dry skin. Pamper yourself -- yes, real men do indulge in special hydration treatments -- with a weekly mask.
It can be as simple as a homemade egg yolk and/or honey mask. Both of these ingredients nourish and moisturize the skin. Just slather them on, allow to dry for about 20 minutes, then rinse, and pat dry.
Alternatively, go for a quality commercial mask. If you have sensitive skin, look for one that says “gentle,” and both nourishes and hydrates.
In addition to a weekly mask, consider adding a serum to your daily routine. This deeply hydrating product goes on just before a moisturizer. It penetrates more deeply than moisturizers do and delivers nutrients to your skin cells to help them fight off the elements that lead to dryness and irritation.
11. Change with the Seasons
What works for you during the humid days of summer may not deliver the same effect during winter. The colder months bring drier outdoor air, especially when the cold winds are howling. Inside, it can get even worse, with indoor heating systems robbing skin of moisture.
Just when you find something that soothes all that sunburn flakiness, autumn and winter roll around, and that great product doesn’t seem so great anymore.
That’s why you need to scrutinize labeling on store-bought products to see exactly what the product is addressing. Also, pay attention to how your own facial skin reacts to different products under different conditions.
Dry skin on your face can also happen if you’re not taking good care of your beard properly. Alex Costa shares how to grow your facial hair naturally and take care of it at the same time:
Do all these methods, taken together, seem like more trouble than they’re worth? You don’t need them all. Usually, a combination of a few products and methods will work wonders for the dry skin on your face. Just learn how to avoid the things that rob your skin of moisture. When you’re short on time, just patting on some moisturizer after you rinse your face can be the difference between irritated, flaking skin and a smooth, youthful complexion.
How do you deal with dry skin on your face? Share your tips in the comments section below.
Up Next: The Solution To A Healthy Beard