If you have dry skin, you probably know how difficult it is to take care of it and moisturize it effectively. Tight pores, flaky patches, redness, millia, signs of premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles…even though it’s challenging to keep your skin healthy and glowing, there are some cosmetic ingredients that help you in the battle against all the symptoms of dry skin.
Let’s see them!
What natural oils are good for dry skin?
As the dry skin lacks oil, the best way to reintroduce moisture to it is to use products rich in natural oils. However, not all oils are good for dry skin because some types may extract the sebum from the skin and contribute to even drier appearance.
Here is a list of effective natural oils (rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E) which can deeply nourish your dry skin. 
- Argan oil. Can moisturize the skin, strengthen the natural skin barrier, improves the water retention capacity of the skin and improve its elasticity.
- Cranberry oil. Apart from moisturizing, it may protect the skin from UV radiation, soothe irritation, and prevent skin aging. 
- Jojoba oil. Can moisturize, soothe dry patches, reduce premature aging signs and inflammation.
- Coconut oil. May protect the skin from UV radiation, as well as hydrate and nourish it deeply. Just keep in mind that it has fairly high comedogenic index and may block your pores if you are predisposed to such skin issues. 
- Shea butter. Can introduce moisture to the skin cells, boost their replenishment, relieve inflammation and protect the skin from external irritators.
Those oils can be used as part of a skincare product, or simply by themselves. Apart from oils, there are multiple ingredients beneficial to dry skin, which can be found in cosmetic products.
What cosmetic ingredients are good for dry skin?
We have a list of ingredients that can help your dry skin to repair its lipid barrier and receive deep nourishment:
- Vitamin E. Can detoxify the skin, stimulate collagen production, and introduce healthy oils to it. This way, vitamin E can be an effective ingredient for fading and preventing signs of aging. 
- Ceramides (lipid molecules). This ingredient can help the skin cells to bond and stay together. Dry skin can be often flaky, which means that the lipid barrier of the epidermis (top skin layer) is damaged. The ceramides take the place of the missing or damaged lipids and play a role of skin cells to repair and strengthen the barrier.  This enables the skin to retain moisture more effectively and to appear less dry.
- Cholesterol. Yes! This is the same cholesterol, which you are thinking of. As it is a lipid it plays an important role in the formation of epidermis (top skin layer). It is used as ingredient in some moisturizers as a substitute to (or together with) ceramides to introduce fatty acids, improve the moisture retention mechanism and strengthen the skin barrier. There is no health risk when cholesterol is applied topically, as it does not affect your blood cholesterol levels. 
- Glycolic acid. In short, this acid acts as an hydrating exfoliator, introducing moisture and boosting the natural exfoliation process of the skin. Besides, it can boost the production of collagen, elastin, and new lipids to make the skin young-looking, strengthen its protective barrier and improve water retention mechanism. 
- Aloe vera. It can soothe the skin, relieve inflammations, and restore the strength of the epidermis (top skin layer). Aloe Vera is also used for improving the elasticity of the skin and making it look more fresh and vibrant. 
- Dimethicone. You should be careful with this ingredient, as it is very controversial. When applied to the skin, it creates an artificial barrier that limits the contact between skin and external environmental factors (dust, pollution, smoke, allergens). At the same time, dimethicone improves the moisture retention mechanism by “trapping everything” inside the skin. This is beneficial for dry skin because the oils stay inside the skin layers. On the other hand, if any bacteria or germs are also “sealed inside”, this can cause inflammations, clogged pores, and breakouts. So when applying a moisturizer with dimethicone, be sure that you have cleansed your hands and face properly.
- Glycerin. It can be used for quick and effective moisturizing. It is a strong humectant ingredient, which means that glycerin pulls water from the environment or your dermis (second skin layer) and “delivers” it to the epidermis (top skin layer). This way, glycerin soothes flaky and dry skin, and makes it look more fresh and nourished. Glycerin can also be substituted by ingredients like urea. 
What ingredients are bad for dry skin?
Here are some ingredients which are highly unsuitable for dry skin because they can make it reactive and sensitive. As a result, it may become even more dry, textured, red, and tight.
- Alcohols. They can help the other ingredients in your moisturizer to penetrate the epidermis. However, when the skin is absorbing cosmetic alcohols, they may have a drying effect and even cause allergies. However, if your skin is dry without active irritation or eczema, not all cosmetic alcohols are bad for you. You may still include products with fatty alcohols (like cetyl and cetearyl) in your skincare. 
- Retinoids. They boosts the production of collagen and replenishment of skin cells. However, retinoids may be unsuitable for dry skin, as they may cause irritation, additional peeling, and dermatitis. 
- Salicylic acid. This ingredient is usually used as a treatment for acne and tends to regulate sebum production and peel off the outer skin layer. Besides, Salicylic acid may make the skin thinner and drier. If you already have dry skin, you probably don’t want that effect. 
- Sulfates. Those are foaming agents (mainly found in cleansers and soaps), which remove all kinds of oils from the skin (both natural and artificial). As a result, they can be very drying and irritating.