The Best Ingredients for Dry Skin

It’s summer, and odds are your skin is thirsty! Heat, humidity and, of course, the sun can have a dehydrating effect, but the right ingredients can make a big difference. By helping your skin hold on to essential moisture, you can keep it feeling great and looking healthy. But before we get started, it’s important to know your true skin type, so take our free questionnaire at!

The main purpose of moisturizer is to provide your skin with hydration, but the barrier of truly dry skin lacks the essential components that are necessary to hold this moisture in. Think of dry skin like a brick wall without mortar… Without this seal between the bricks, any moisture you slather on can seep right back out.

The best way to reinforce your skin’s mortar is with ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids such as stearic acid. These work by filling the gaps, and keeping much-needed moisture where you need it. While you’re at it, look for moisturizers that contain glycerin as well. This helps bind moisture into your skin and prevent water from evaporating. Glycerin also has the unique ability to move from one skin cell to another, spreading the love so to speak. Safflower oil is another great option for dry skin, because it’s rich in linoleic acid that actually helps the skin produce its own ceramides.

A few products that fit the bill include Aveeno Positively Nourishing 24-hour Hydrating Whipped Souffle", Ponds Cold Cream and MD Formulations Moisture Defense Treatment Masque.

While you’re adding ingredients to your dry skin regimen, there are also a few you should take away. Anyone with dry skin should avoid surfactants (look for sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and sodium sulfosuccinate on your product labels). These ingredients strip your skin of any oils it does have and residual surfactant (detergent) on the skin can make it feel tight.

Instead of foaming cleansers, opt for a creamy cleanser like Burt's Bees Deep Cleansing Cream, Soap Bark & Chamomile or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser to keep your skin comfortable and prepare it for hydrating serums and creams that follow.

And since it’s summer, don’t forget the sunscreen! Be sure to apply your SPF after moisturizing every morning. This helps seal in the hydrating ingredients we mention above, and protect skin from sun damage that can compromise your dry skin’s barrier further. Following these easy steps is key to keeping skin happy, healthy and looking its best not only during the summer, but also all year round.


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Dr. Baumann is the author of the New York Times best-selling book,The Skin Type Solution. Look for the new edition in bookstores  Nov 23rd 2010. 

To discover your Baumann Skin Type®, visit her Web Site,  


Once you know your Baumann Skin Type®, you can shop by your skin type and choose from hundreds of brands at     


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