dry, cracked skin on hands.

6 Ingredients to Avoid for Dry Skin

Dry skin is a common problem, but it's also one that can be easily solved by knowing which ingredients to avoid. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that the ingredients in their skincare and beauty products could be causing their dry skin. 

Avoiding these six ingredients can help solve your dry skin problems for good. We'll also cover the other reasons you may suffer from dry skin.

Related: Textile Dermatitis: Understanding Allergic Reactions to Clothing

Symptoms of Dry Skin

Dry skin is common among most people at some point in their lives. Depending on the cause, dry skin can be itchy, chapped, or cracked. It can occur on any part of the body, but is most commonly found on the hands, arms, legs, and lips. 

Eczema can develop in severe cases of dry skin. While there is no cure for dry skin, there are several ways to manage the symptoms. Moisturizing regularly, using mild soaps, avoiding hot showers and baths, and using a humidifier can all help to relieve dry skin. In addition to these simple lifestyle changes, a dermatologist or doctor can also prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms if home remedies don't work. However, if the problem persists or worsens, it's essential to seek medical help.

When to Visit Your Doctor

In most cases, dry skin is nothing to worry about and can be treated at home with over-the-counter moisturizers. However, certain situations require you to see a doctor for dry skin. 

For example, if you have persistent dry skin that does not respond to home treatment, cracks or open sores on your skin, or any other more serious concerns, it's best to consult a doctor. They can then determine the cause of your dry skin and prescribe the best course of treatment.

Do you need help with eczema? Our clinically tested and doctor-approved products will help prevent flare-ups

What Might Be Causing Your Dry Skin

It's a common issue caused by various factors, from weather to skin care products. Below are the common reasons for dry skin:

  • Weather: Cold, windy weather can strip away natural oils from your skin, leaving it feeling dry and irritated. 
  • Skin Care Products: Many soaps and cleansers can contain harsh chemicals that strip away natural oils, leaving skin dry and tight. If you're using a product that's too harsh for your skin type, it could be causing your dryness. 
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as those used to treat acne or psoriasis, can cause dryness. Be sure to ask your doctor if your medication is a possible side effect of dry skin.
  • Health Conditions: Dry skin can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition, such as eczema or psoriasis. Discuss with a doctor to find out any medical conditions if you have chronic dryness.

There are many potential causes of dry skin. However, relief can often be found by taking a closer look at your lifestyle and skincare routine.

Risk Factors & Complications of Dry Skin

Often, dry skin comes from genetics or aging. But it can also result from an underlying medical condition, exposure to certain elements, or the use of harsh soaps or chemicals. 

While dry skin is usually not a serious problem, it can be uncomfortable and unattractive. In some cases, it can also lead to other skin problems, such as eczema, rashes, and infections. 

Therefore, being familiar with the risk factors and complications associated with dry skin is essential. By understanding these dangers, you can take steps to prevent dry skin from occurring or at least minimize its impact.

Related: 15 Common Skin Rashes to Know & Identify

6 Ingredients to Avoid for Dry Skin


If products are causing your dry skin problems, watch out for these ingredients when adding new products to your routine.

1.  Alcohol

Alcohol can have a serious impact on your skin. Not only does it cause your face to flush, but it also leads to dehydration, which causes dry skin and makes you look older. Alcohol also weakens the barrier that protects your skin from environmental damage, making you more susceptible to fine lines and wrinkles.


perfume bottle


2.  Fragrances

While it's true that fragrances can make you smell great, they can also have a drying effect on your skin. This is because most perfumes contain alcohol, which can strip away natural oils and leave your skin feeling dry and tight. Fragrances can also be irritating, exacerbating irritation from dry skin.

3.  Salicylic Acid

Many over-the-counter acne treatments contain salicylic acid. It works by dissolving the sebum that clogs pores. However, salicylic acid can also have a drying effect on the skin. This can lead to irritated, flaky skin more susceptible to breakouts.

4.  Parabens

Parabens are a preservative often used in cosmetics and personal care products. While they help to prolong the shelf life of products, they can also have a drying effect on your skin. This is because they act as a humectant, which attracts moisture from the surrounding environment and your skin over time leading to dryness and irritation.

5.  Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a known treatment for acne, but it can also dry out your skin. When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide breaks down into oxygen and benzoic acid. The oxygen kills the bacteria that cause acne, while the benzoic acid helps reduce inflammation. 

However, benzoyl peroxide can also strip away the natural oils that keep your skin hydrated. This can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation.


Harsh sulfates


6. Surfactants

Surfactants are common ingredients in cleansing products, and they're what give those products their foaming action. When you use a product that contains these above listed types of surfactants, it works by breaking up the oils on your skin, which can strip away your skin's natural moisture barrier. As a result, your skin can feel dry, tight, and irritated after using a product that contains surfactants.

Hydrating Ingredients to Use

When searching for a product to help with dry skin, be sure it has the right ingredients. The product should include one of the following:

  • Glycerin
  • Amino Acids
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Ceramides

The above ingredients help to lock in moisture and keep your skin from drying out. The product doesn't have to include every single one of these ingredients, but should have at least two.

Related: Hyaluronic Acid: What it Means for Skincare

Other Ways to Prevent Dry Skin

Making sure to stay hydrated is one of the most effective ways to prevent dry skin. You can do this by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary drinks.

Use a mild soap with no sulfates or alcohol when bathing or hand washing. Also, limiting your exposure to hot water and using warm water instead is wise.

Lastly, an air humidifier can help remove dryness and irritation from your skin by adding moisture to the air at home or the office. These simple tips can help ensure that your skin stays soft, smooth, and healthy all year.

Watch Out for the Six Ingredients Above To Help Combat Dry Skin

When searching for the right product, check the list above to ensure it doesn't include these six ingredients. Products containing alcohol, parabens, fragrances, salicylic acid, certain surfactants, or benzoyl peroxide dry the skin and may worsen the condition. Instead, look for a product containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin.