Whether you’re attempting to survive the frigid conditions of winter or you’ve always struggled with solving the mystery of moisturized skin, there are plenty of factors that can lead to dry and damaged skin. Few things are more irritating than having rough, itchy, and flaking spots on your face and body. If you’re like me, you’ve searched for and tried countless ways to keep your skin from drying out. And if you’re really like me, then you’ve been frustrated and disappointed over and over when every remedy inevitably fails. The struggle is, indeed, painfully real.

But don’t despair. You are far from alone when it comes to combating dry skin. Everyone has made impulsive buys, from the expensive to the cheap, in hopes it will be the cure. For instance, Khloe Kardashian uses drugstore lotion for her moisturizing needs. Though everybody is different, there are some things that apply universally to skincare routines. Instead of breaking the bank on the “next big thing” in the moisturizer market for your dryness issues, why not practice some habits that can prevent your skin from even drying out in the first place? Check out these top hacks from skin and beauty experts on how to keep your skin soft and smooth.

1. Change The Air


Though you can't stop the drying, cold weather outside, you can actually make the air inside more skin-friendly. Dermatologist Whitney Bowe told Vogue that putting a humidifier in your home can help prevent dry skin by adding moisture to the air.

2. Use Facial Wipes Less


Cleansing wipes may seem like a miraculous quick-fix, but it turns out to be a major no-no when trying to keep skin moisturized. Dermatologist Peter Lio warned Glamour that facial wipes contain drying surfactants which rob skin of moisture if overused and not properly rinsed off.

3. Create A Barrier


Lotions and layers of clothes aren't enough to protect you from cold weather or dry air. Amy Forman Taub, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University, told Refinery29 that you need to use a barrier-type ointment (like Aquaphor) which will prevent water and moisture from evaporating off your skin.

4. Sleep Smart


You probably experience most of your dry skin issues throughout the day, but what you do at night could change things. Dermatologist Doris Day told Allure that your skin actually loses water overnight. To combat this, wear a hydrating facial mask or light lotion while you sleep.

5. Avoid Hot Water


In the winter months it can be absolutely tempting to relax in a hot bath or steamy shower. But it turns out that could be one of the worst things for drying out skin. According to The American Academy of Dermatologists, being in hot water zaps your skin of moisture and contributes to cracking and irritation.

6. Don't Be Afraid Of Scrubs


It's totally understandable to skip exfoliating in your routine for fear of irritating or hurting your already sensitive and dry skin. But most experts agree that's a myth. Annet King, director of training and development for the International Dermal Institute, told Marie Claire that a gentle scrub actually helps moisture sink into your skin by removing dead skin cells.

7. Go Easier On Your Hands


You use your hands for virtually everything, so it's no surprise that the delicate skin on your hands can be the first to show signs of drying out. Dermatologist Neal Schultz recommended to Total Beauty that you should cut down on washing your hands and use alcohol-free sanitizers instead.

8. Go Easy On Oily Skin, Too


Just because you might have oily facial skin doesn't mean that it's immune to being dried out. Noelle Herzog, brand president of Karin Herzog skincare, told Elle that over-washing or using harsh cleansers is actually stripping your skin of healthy oils which can cause your skin to simultaneously dry out and trigger and over-production of pore-clogging oil.

9. Moisturize At The Right Time


It turns out that simply using lotion may not be enough. When you hydrate your skin can make all the difference. Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner told Allure that studies have shown that it's significantly better to apply moisturizers directly after bathing, while skin is still damp, than at any other time.

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