Dry skin can be a total nightmare — not only does it look bad, it can also be sore and uncomfortable. As per Women’s Health, dermatologist Jamie Davis explains that the worst thing about having dry skin is knowing which products to pick, as often products that “promise to give you a gorgeous glow” include ingredients that make dryness worse.

According to Coveteur, dry, red, itchy skin is completely avoidable, if you are aware of the ingredients that you should avoid using on dry skin, that is. Joanne DeLeon, skin therapist, explains that, “It’s imperative to use moisturizers morning, night, and every time after you shower. This isn’t just for the face—this is for your whole body.” She also recommends using generous slatherings of products to help ensure that your skin is getting all of the nourishment that it needs.

As per Healthline, Shawnda Dorantes explains that there are several main causes of dry skin. These are the environment, hard water, genetics, medical conditions, excessive washing, and, of course, exposure to irritants, such as certain ingredients in skincare products.

The good news is that, according to Healthline, a 2010 study showed that a consistent skincare regime — using the right products — can lead to visible changes in skin health (via Journal of Dermatological Treatment).

What ingredients should you avoid if you have skin that's prone to drying out?

As per Sharecare, according to Dr. Ellen Marmur, if you have skin that is prone to drying out easily, it’s best to avoid products containing certain ingredients.

She reports that the most problematic ingredients tend to be isopropyl alcohol and sodium chloride, in addition to surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, AHA acids, salicylic acid, and the natural version of salicylic acid known as willow bark. Soaps made from sodium tallowate or cocoate can also be problematic for dry skin and are best avoided.

While, as per Women’s Health, Davis reports that ingredients like retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, salicylic acid, and fragrances and preservatives are exceedingly damaging to skin that tends to dry out easily.

Davis explains that while retinoids have a range of fantastic skincare qualities, they can be too harsh for dry skin, and the same goes for salicylic acid. She also suggests that while benzoyl peroxide can be great for treating acne, it can be too harsh on skin that’s sensitive and can cause worse dryness to occur.

With regards to alcohol in products, which is something that both Davis and Marmur suggest avoiding, it’s worth noting that most skincare products do contain some level of alcohol. However, Davis explains that usually it’s gels and lotions that have a higher percentage of it, and thus should be avoided.

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