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Battling Flaky Skin? That’s Because You Haven’t Tried These 8 Tips Yet

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The flaky-skin struggle is real. Between dry, indoor heat and frigid temperatures and wind, our skin is literally battling the elements. Which is exactly why you start to notice dry, flaky patches this time of year. Not only does your flaky skin make applying makeup nearly impossible (have you ever tried applying foundation over peeling skin?!), but it can also lead to increased sensitivity, which means even more irritation and more flaking. It’s really just an endless cycle—until now. Keep reading for eight pro flaky skin treatments (plus product recommendations from IPSY Glam Bag favorites!) that can help you deal with your flaky skin the right way.


About the Expert:

Jessie Cheung, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Cheung Aesthetics and Wellness dermatology in Chicago.

1. Gently (we mean gently!) exfoliate.

It can be tempting to slough off all those flakes with a harsh scrub or cleansing brush, but please, refrain. Your skin is already in a vulnerable state. Anything too harsh or aggressive can just make matters worse. But that doesn’t mean you just need to grin and bear those flakes. Instead, opt for a gentle peel, like ESSENHERB Black Tea Peeling Gel, which gets rid of dry skin cells without messing with your moisture barrier. We also live enzyme-based scrubs to gently exfoliate. KINSHIP Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser, which uses enzyme-rich papaya extract, a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to chemically exfoliate the skin.

“Chemical exfoliation relies on acid to dissolve the attachments between skin cells,” says Jessie Cheung, MD, board-certified dermatologist. As those attachments dissolve, your dead skin cells are able to easily wash away without much mechanical manipulation.

2. Don’t forget about dehydration.

Dry skin is totally a culprit when it comes to flakes, but dehydration also plays a big role (yes, these are two different skin conditions). One of the top ingredients to help you combat dehydration is hyaluronic acid. Think of the powerhouse ingredient like a big drink of water for your skin. It’s what is known as a humectant, meaning it acts like a sponge to attract water into your skin. In fact, hyaluronic acid molecules can hold up to 1,000 times their weight in water. Get that moisturized, bouncy glow by adding GRACE & STELLA Hyaluronic Acid Serum to your daily routine. Pro tip: pat it into damp skin to give it even more water to work with.

3. Make your moisturizer do more.

Now that you’ve dealt with the flakes, let’s focus on treating the skin and preventing new flakes from forming. It is not the time to slather on that random moisturizer you’ve been using since high school. Treating flaky skin requires a moisturizer with a few more benefits. We not only love FIRST AID BEAUTY Ultra Repair® Cream for its skin-healing colloidal oatmeal and antioxidants, but we also love that it contains moisture-boosting shea butter and calming allantoin.

If you prefer a lighter lotion to use on the reg, look no further than AMOREPACIFIC The Essential Créme Fluid.

4. Layer on some oil.

Adding a final layer of oil at the end of your a.m. and p.m. skincare routine is one of the easiest ways to lock in the benefits from your moisturizer. YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Superberry Hydrate + Glow Oil uses prickly pear and squalane oils to create a barrier on your skin, keeping much-needed moisture inside where it belongs. After your moisturizer has a chance to absorb (give it a full minute, the perfect amount of time for a beneficial facial massage), press three to six drops of oil over your forehead, cheeks, and chin, then work any remaining oil on your hands across your nose and down your neck.

5. Embrace the all-over balm.

Have a few areas that seem to be flaking the worst? Spot treat with a moisture-rich salve (like SUPER SATIVA WELLNESS Medicinal Hydrating Balm) before bed. Think of these multi-purpose balms like a face oil on steroids. They have the same nourishing benefits (thanks to a combination of A+ hydrating oils) with even more barrier protection. Nothing is getting through these balms, meaning no moisture is getting out either.

6. Create a mask routine.

You might reach for a face mask during your bi-weekly bubble bath or when the mood strikes, but regular mask use can make a big difference when you’re battling flaky skin. We love hydrating sheet masks (like HUXLEY Secret of Sahara Mask Oil Extract ) for their ease of use and ultra absorption powers. Their cotton, hydrogel, bio-cellulose, or foil material traps the beneficial serum onto your skin helping with absorption and preventing any of the beneficial liquid from evaporating.

7. Don’t forget your lips.

The thin skin around your mouth is extra vulnerable to dry, cold temperatures. To keep them in good, hydrated shape, look for a lip balm with a combination of oils, so you’re sure to get tons of benefits. Try COMPLEX CULTURE TIME PRESSED Lip Balm, which uses a trio of super-moisturizers, including vitamin E, squalane, and jojoba oils.

8. Protect your complexion.

You’ve done all the hard work to repair your flaky skin, so make sure to keep up with those glowing results by helping your skin’s moisture barrier with a gentle cleanser like THE NUE CO Barrier Culture Cleanser. It does everything you want from a cleanser (removes dirt, pollution, even makeup) all without stripping your skin because it’s soap-free and sulfate-free. In fact, it actually helps fortify your skin barrier with a blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.

Looking for more skin savers? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your very own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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Article Last Updated December 23, 2021 12:00 AM