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Dryness of Face

By Miguel Cavazos ; Updated July 18, 2017

Dryness of your face occurs when the skin cells on your face lack water and skin cells that are normally plump become shriveled. You can remedy most cases of dryness on your face by taking steps to help keep moisture on your face. Soaps, detergents, bath or shower gels and bubble baths remove dirt, body oils and bacteria but may cause overly dry skin and cause flaking, itching or irritation.


Dry skin on your face may occur more in the winter or cooler months because there is less humidity in the air. Central air conditioning and heating systems may remove humidity from the air and dry out the skin on your face. Your face may dry out if you take long, hot bathes or showers, especially if you run hot water over your face for extended periods of time. Soaps and detergents can remove lipids and water from your skin. Skin can dry out with repeated exposure to the sun.


The skin on your face may feel tight, especially after showering or bathing. The skin may look shrunken or dehydrated and feel rough. Dry skin on your face may itch, flake or peal. You may develop fine lines or cracks and your skin may turn red. You should visit your doctor if dryness on your face occurs with large areas of scaling or peeling, redness or if your dry skin interferes with your sleep.


Dryness on your face can lead to other complications. You can develop atopic dermatitis, a condition that is also known as eczema. Eczema occurs with redness, cracking and swelling. Facial dryness can also damage hair follicles on your face such as those around your lips. Damanged hair follicles increase your risk for developing infections like folliculitis. Cellulitis is a complication associated with dry skin that signals a potentially serious bacterial infection of your skin’s underlying tissues.


According to the American Academyof Dermatology, facial cleansers and moisturizers are important for preventing facial dryness. Use a mild cleanser on your face and bathe or shower with cool water with minimal water contact. Apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing while your skin is still slightly wet. Moisturizers and cleansers that include petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin or dimethicone can help stop water lost via the skin on your face. Moisturizers and cleansers that include glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins or urea can help attract water to your skin.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Consider using a humidifier to keep the air in your environment moist to help avoid dryness on your face. Avoid soaps and cleansers that leave the skin on your face feeling tight or dry. Cleansers should leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. Always apply sunscreen to your face or use cosmetics that contain SPF to help reduce exposure to the sun that can dry out your face.

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