5 Active Ingredients to Help With Your Dry Skin

beauty and skin care concept - face of beautiful woman with dry skin examples

Having dry skin is no walk in the park and it seems like everyone has an opinion about what will help.  There is nothing wrong with sharing your secrets for relieving dry skin, but what is really going to work?

We researched and put together a list of 5 active ingredients to help with your dry skin.  While there are more than five things that can help moisturize even the driest skin, these ingredients seem to have the most consistent results.  Using products with these active ingredients have a high chance of working on your skin.

Knowing what to use on your skin is great and absolutely necessary.  It is also important to know what may be causing your dry skin.  There are many reasons this could happen and maybe the cause is one or multiple things.  Either way, finding the root cause can help you relieve your dry, cracked skin.

Why is Skin Dry?

If you are a person that has been battling dry skin for most of your life, it is unlikely that there is just one cause.  It is possible that it is just your soap or just your genetics but truly there are probably a few contributing factors.

We want to take a look at some of the most common causes of dry skin. These are not the only possible causes so don’t consider this a comprehensive list.

Causes of Dry Skin That May Surprise You

Suffering from dry skin can actually be pretty common and you probably know someone other than yourself that also struggles. Some of these causes on this list may surprise you while you may have already known the other reasons for dry skin.

  • Soap is actually the most surprising cause of this list.  At least it was for us.  We all like to be clean and soap is the way we wash our faces and bodies.  However, even the soaps that claim to be the most moisturizing can dry your skin out.  You may wonder why this happens.  Most soaps are actually formulated for the removal of not just dirt but oil from the skin.  When the oil is removed from the skin it will leave it tight and dry.  That doesn’t mean that you don’t use soap.  Look for soaps that are high in moisturizers and make sure you are using a quality lotion after the shower.
  • Genes are a cause that we can’t escape.  If you happened to inherit dry skin from your mom or dad then you are just stuck with it.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t treat it and use moisturizers.  That will help as will reducing the other dry skin causes.
  • Hard Water can be a contributing factor of dry skin because it keeps the skin from absorbing moisture when you shower, wash your face, or wash your hands.  Depending on where you live you may not have any control over the type of water you have. Using a water softener system can help but those can be pricey.  Limit the length of your showers and use quality soaps and lotions.
  • Fragrances make dry skin worse because they are irritating to that particular skin type.  They can often cause some contact dermatitis as well.  Make sure you look for fragrance-free products for all of your skincare needs.
  • Dry Air naturally takes the moisture from your skin.  If you live in a dry climate or it is winter time and the heater is taking all of the moisture out of the air, a humidifier will help.  You also may need to use moisturizers more often.  It is also advised to take shorter and cooler showers.
  • Acne Treatments If you suffer from acne and use pretty much any of the treatments that help reduce acne, it is likely you also have dry skin.  The active ingredients like retinol and salicylic acid cause your skin to become very dry.  Talk to your dermatologist about reducing the frequency of use or perhaps changing products.
  • Aging is also a culprit behind dry skin. As we age our skin produces less of the oils that naturally hydrate our skin. There isn’t much that can be done for this other than using products with hydrating ingredients.  Also using lotions multiple times a day and reducing the other risk factors will help tremendously.

5 Best Ingredients for Dry Skin

So what are the best active ingredients for people with dry skin?  No matter the reason for your dry skin using products that have at least one of these ingredients will do wonders for your skin.  It isn’t advisable to use all of them at once because that could do more harm than good, but maybe pick one to try and see what happens.

If you aren’t happy with the results you can always change ingredients or products. Give each thing that you try at least a week unless you are seeing negative reactions to the product, then stop use immediately.

As we said, this is not a comprehensive list of all ingredients that work well for dry skin.  These are simply the top five that we have chosen to include on this list.


Sitting down and drinking a nice, relaxing cup of tea can make anyone’s day.  However, it isn’t just for tea time.  Using tea in moisturizers will help keep even the driest skin hydrated.  The type of tea that the moisturizer uses does matter but there are many tea extracts that can be useful.

White tea is great for moisturizing but also for repairing and rejuvenating skin, while chamomile tea gives a calming effect to irritated or red skin. There are lines of skincare that use tea in every product they have but make sure you look at the label to determine if there are any ingredients that would harm your skin.

Aloe Vera

Most people have heard of aloe vera.  The problem is that most people only think about using it when they have a bad sunburn.  Aloe vera is great for dry skin in general not just skin that is damaged by the sun. What we love about this ingredient is hard to narrow down because there are so many things that are great about it.

This ingredient can be used in its natural form and requires so other substances for it to work.  It soaks into the skin quickly and doesn’t make your skin greasy and works fast.  It is also used to soothe any kind of irritation.

On top of these two benefits, aloe vera is good for all skin types so if you have sensitive skin on top of having dry skin, it is still a great ingredient.


Glycerin has many uses but one of them is treating dry skin. But how does it work so well?  One main way is by absorbing the water that is in the air and pulling it into your skin.  This will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth as well as looking healthy.

This active ingredient also fills in cracks and wrinkles in your skin which is how it makes it so smooth.  You can use this ingredient by itself but it is also found in many skincare products found at your local store.


This word sounds big, scary, and like it shouldn’t be good for your skin but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  This is one active ingredient that you shouldn’t run from if you have dry skin.

Ceramides are actually naturally occurring in the skin.  They are a fatty molecule and they hold the cells together making your skin smooth and soft.  As we age, we lose ceramides and the ability to produce them on our own.  That is why it is necessary to use skincare products that contain ceramides.

There are quite a few products out that there that contain this ingredient.  You are likely to find it in high-quality night creams. Once you find one you like you might want to get a good amount in case they stop making it or change the formula.  Night creams could be pricey but it is worth it to wake up with smooth, tight skin.

Hyaluronic Acid

Another active ingredient on our list that is naturally occurring in your skin is hyaluronic acid.  This acid is made up, at least partially, of sugars.  Because of this, it helps to retain the moisture that is in your skin already.

Using skin care products that contain this ingredient will actually help build up your skin barrier.  By doing this it will help keep your skin from getting dry.  You do still have to use moisturizers and reduce exposure to other dry skin risk factors but this is not an ingredient to forget about.

In the case of hyaluronic acid, there is no such thing as too much.  More is better and it can do more than keep your skin hydrated.  By keeping your skin cells healthy it can even reduce redness and soothe irritation caused by other products that weren’t the best for your skin type.

How to Choose a Product

Choosing a product for your dry skin may seem overwhelming but let’s consider the ingredient information we have given you above.  A general rule is that you should look for a product or a team of products that have at least one of these ingredients.  However, not all products are created equal.

Look for products that don’t have preservatives or harsh ingredients that could counteract the active ingredients that do help dry skin. This will be important.  Don’t be fooled by products that claim to be natural because that isn’t always better.

However, if the products truly help your skin maintain moisture or produce the molecules that hold moisture in your skin, then give it a try.  We love the active ingredients above and they do a great job.

But as always, if you have any questions or concerns about using a product with your skin type then you talk to your dermatologist.

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