Ingredients to Avoid If You Have Dry Skin

Ingredients to Avoid If You Have Dry Skin

 Shopping for new skin care products is always a daunting task. Now, more than ever, the market for branded skin care is huge and offers consumers a wide selection of products for a variety of concerns and skin types. Skin care is not cut-and-dry and what may work for one person may not work for another. This is why it is important to understand your skin type and the ingredients that work best for it.

Among the toughest skin types to care for is dry skin. When it comes to dry skin, there are specific ingredients you should try to avoid to get the most out of your skincare routine. Check out this blog post to learn 5 things you should know about dry skin.

What to Avoid


Surfactants are cleansing agents that are responsible for making products foam and lather. Sulfates are a type of surfactant that helps remove excess dirt and oil. Sulfates, however, are not the best ingredient when caring for dry skin. Dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD has said that cleansers that are particularly harsh can damage the top layer of your skin. This is the layer responsible for keeping your skin hydrated. When looking for a cleanser, make sure that on the packaging it says sulfate-free. If the bottle does not outright state if it is sulfate free, you can check the ingredients list. The most common sulfate used in cleansers is sodium lauryl sulfate.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common treatment for people who suffer from acne. Its properties allow it to remove excess oil and dirt from your skin. However, it has been shown that salicylic acid is too harsh on dry skin. When used on dry skin, it can lead to redness, irritation, and inflammation due to a lack of oil.


Alcohols are commonly found in toners and, often, some cleansers as well. What the alcohol does is wears away at your skin’s hydration and strips your skin of moisture. When looking at the list of ingredients in a product, keep an eye out for the names SD Alcohol 40 and isopropyl alcohol. Minneapolis-based dermatologist Jamie Davis, MD suggests that you look for products that do not list alcohol until the very bottom of the ingredients list, since a lower position denotes a lower concentration.


The use of fragrances in skincare products has been up for debate for a while, with many dermatologists divided on whether it should be avoided or not. However, a common consensus is that if you have dry or sensitive skin, it is best to stay away from it. Fragrances are common skin irritants and are infamous for being the leading cause of skin allergies. While not a problem for everyone, having dry skin will make you more susceptible to irritation, so it is best to stay away from fragrance in your skincare.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a popular ingredient used to combat blackheads and clearing blocked pores. Because of its use in oil control, it is not recommended for people with dry skin. As with most ingredients on this list, glycolic acid can cause irritation if you have dry skin due to its exfoliating properties that work to strip away dead skin cells. 

Before you start your next skin care regimen to treat your dry skin, make sure to do your research on specific products and brands to get informed on the ingredients used so that you can treat your skin the way it deserves to be treated.

Not sure about your skin type? Take this short diagnostic quiz to find out! Receive a skin diagnosis and personalized skin care routine.

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