What ingredients should you avoid with dry skin?

Alcohol. In skincare, that is, not the gin in your coupe glass (that’s a story for another time). As anyone who’s obsessively hand-sanitized lately will know, alcohol dries the skin out almost immediately. Antibacterial soaps do the same. Avoid perfumes/fragrances, which might be in laundry detergent/softener lingering on your clothes, rubbing against the skin, or any fragrance added to a skincare product, including essential oils (their concentrated form can really irritate the skin).

Benzoyl peroxide “can cause irritation and itching, redness, peeling, all of those things,” adds dermatologist Dr. Hope Mitchell, noting that she sees patients who use a high percentage of it thinking it’ll fight pimples that much stronger, but it ends up drying out the skin. There’s a fine line with salicylic acid, where a high percentage can dry the skin, but a small amount might help chemically exfoliate and soften the skin. Sulfates, which are in most body washes to make them lather up nice and bubbly and remove oil and dirt from the skin can also disrupt the epidermis, warns Dr. Mitchell. “That’s why a lot of us use sulfate-free shampoos, because they actually can be quite drying and disruptive of the scalp. You can become more susceptible to irritants getting into the skin when you’re using products with sulfates.”

Contributing Experts

Dr. Hope Mitchell, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Hope Mitchell is a board certified dermatologist, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of the Skin of Color Society. She is the CEO and founder of Mitchell Dermatology, which has two locations in Northwest Ohio.

Endorsement Disclaimer: Soft Services works with experts to strengthen the information provided on Mass Index. Please note that they do not endorse our products.

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Dry Skin

Skin that's losing more moisture than it's able to maintain.

Also Called

Dehydrated skin, xerosis

Looks Like

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Frequently Found On

Arms, legs, feet, hands

Learn More: Dry Skin