In the Northeast US, we have entered that time of year that can be trying, or should say, drying on your skin. The air is cold and dry and we are exposed to forced heat indoors which can be even more irritating to your skin.
From your face to your lips, and your elbows to your feet, there are many drugstore skincare treatments to help soothe and replenish your skin. Luckily, the drugstore has many reasonably priced products that can heal your skin. Most of the products that I will discuss today are targeted to the face (and hands) but I’ll also provide a few options for the body as well.
Before we get into the products, I want to clarify the difference between two skin concerns: dry skin and dehydrated skin.
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The Difference Between Dry and Dehydrated Skin
You learn something new every day. At least that’s what I told myself when I was researching dry skin issues. Did you know that there is a distinct difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin?
In a nutshell, if your skin is dry, this is referring to your skin type, while if your skin is dehydrated, it is a skin condition that can happen to anyone. Dry skin doesn’t have as many oil-producing glands as normal skin, while dehydrated skin is lacking water in the top layer of the skin. As it turns out, you, unfortunately, can have oily skin that is dehydrated as well.
To make matters worse, as we age our lipid barrier decreases, so you will notice that your skin may become drier as you get older. The lipid barrier prevents water loss in the skin, so we want to keep this barrier as strong as possible. So what are the signs of dry and dehydrated skin?
Signs of Dry Skin
You may have dry skin if your skin is rough, flaky, and itchy. Your skin may even look a bit leathery. The areas around the eyebrows, nose, and mouth are often hit hardest, but you’ll notice that skin all over your body is also dry. Dry skin can be red and irritated.
Treating Dry Skin
Dry skin is a skin type that is typically genetic, so your best bet is trying to manage your skin’s appearance. Oil-based cleansers and face oils will help nourish your skin. Products containing ceramides will help restore your lipid barrier to protect your skin from dryness. Eating foods with healthy fats such a salmon, avocado and olive oil or supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids may also help dry skin.
Signs of Dehydrated Skin
Your skin may be dehydrated if it is dull, tight, red or inflamed and fine lines and wrinkles are more noticeable than usual. You also may find that dark circles are more prominent. This can all be thanks to environmental conditions such as weather, stress, sun damage, medications, lack of sleep, or your diet.
You can do the pinch test to check for dehydrated skin. Pinch the back of your hand using your thumb and index finger and if your skin quickly returns to its normal appearance this will indicate that your skin is hydrated. If skin slowly returns to normal, your skin could be dehydrated.
Treating Dehydrated Skin
First and foremost, you must ensure that you are drinking enough liquids, especially water. You can even enjoy the benefits of water in your fruits and vegetables. I eat an apple every morning and remind myself that it’s helping me stay hydrated.
Interestingly enough, your skin is the last organ in your body to receive the water that you drink so be sure that you drink at least 64 oz of water per day.
Also, consider introducing a humidifier to your indoor space. This will increase the humidity in the air which will help your skin retain its hydration.
Drugstore Skincare Products for Dry and Dehydrated Skin
The drugstore has many high-quality skincare products that will help treat dry and dehydrated skin, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay hydrated and support your skin’s barrier. These products are formulated to help and heal your dry and dehydrated skin.
Cream or lotion cleansers are much gentler on your skin than foaming cleansers that strip the skin of their natural oils. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion not only removes dirt, oil, and makeup but is also formulated with hyaluronic acid and Barriercare cleansing technology. This technology uses larger molecules to cleanse the skin without penetrating the skin’s barrier. Barriercare removes excess oil while leaving the necessary elements in place to keep the skin balanced and protected.
I really like this cleanser. It is the perfect step two of a double cleanse. I’ll use an oil-based cleansing balm to remove the top layer of oil, dirt, and makeup and follow up with this no frills oil-free cleanser. It’s unscented and very gentle on the skin.
Dead skin cells can get in the way of all of those great treatment products that moisturize and replenish your skin, so gentle exfoliation is an important prep step in treating dry and dehydrated skin.
I prefer chemical exfoliation to physical exfoliation. Since my skin tends to be sensitive at times, I lean toward gentler chemical exfoliators such as lactic acid.
My favorite chemical exfoliation product, and really, one of my favorite skincare products ever, is a fantastic lactic acid treatment to get rid of those pesky dead skin cells. It preps your skin for the skincare treatments that hydrate and replenish your skin.
Sunday Riley Good Genes is definitely not a drugstore treatment though, so some great affordably priced lactic acid serums are The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA and The Inkey List Lactic Acid Serum. I compared the two in this post on The Inkey List vs. The Ordinary.
Hyaluronic acid is a very popular skincare ingredient that helps skin retain water, so using this ingredient is a no-brainer when you need hydration. In fact, hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This all-star hydrator improves skin elasticity and helps skin appear younger.
Sweet Chef Vitamin B Serum Shot is a new discovery for me. This is a milky essence that works well as the first treatment following exfoliation. It contains Vitamin B, which attracts and holds moisture, and kale, which is rich in antioxidants. This serum works well under other serums and leaves my skin super dewy and hydrated.
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid contains 2% hyaluronic acid. It plumps the skin and can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles due to the inclusion of Matrxyl 3000 peptide. It sinks in quickly, leaves no stickiness and works well with makeup.
Another option comes from The Ordinary. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, contains low, medium, and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, plus H.A. crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for hydration and to support water density. Vitamin B5 adds another boost of hydration to the formula.
This next step of your skincare routine will really help dry and dehydrated skin. There is no shortage of moisturizing skin creams at the drugstore, but which ones will really help your skin? These six creams/balms are formulated to help quench dry and dehydrated skin.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream with MVE Delivery Technology contains many of my favorite actives: ceramides to help protect and restore the skin’s natural barrier, hyaluronic acid to attract hydration and retain moisture in the skin, niacinamide (one of my favorite ingredients ever), to support a weakened skin barrier and improve skin’s appearance, and biomimetic peptides to improve the appearance of tired-looking skin.
Ceramides are very important to your skin health. They are lipids that make up 50% of the skin’s barrier. They support moisture retention and help protect skin from environmental pollutants and aggressors.
When removed from the jar, the cream looks a bit waxy but once applied, it sinks in and you can almost feel it going to work to protect your skin barrier. Rich and non-greasy, this cream is ideal for the winter.
L’Oreal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Honey Night Balm is a real-deal treatment balm for your skin. This thick balm for very dry/mature skin is rich in oils and Manuka honey extract. It immediately improves skin moisture levels and helps the skin to retain moisture for 48 hours! Non-greasy and non-sticky, this balm penetrates and works its way into the skin’s surface layer to hydrate skin.
This is definitely the thickest product of the group here and it’s what you think of when you hear the word balm, but without the greasiness that comes along with some skin balms. For such a thick product it sinks in quickly without any stickiness.
I would use this on the driest of the dry skin days. Actually, I would use it in the evenings since it does form a thick layer on your skin. The balm is scented, so please take note if you are sensitive to scent.
Hello Hydration! Face Cream (now called Holy Hydration! Face Cream) with hyaluronic acid and peptide complex is formulated to seal in moisture, brighten, even and plump the skin. The list of key ingredients is impressive: hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, squalane, peptides, and vitamin B5. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin stay hydrated, niacinamide brightens and evens skin tone, squalane supports moisture retention, peptides help with collagen production, and vitamin B5 hydrates and calms the skin.
Hello Hydration! Face Cream has a surprisingly light texture for its rich formulation. This is another cream that sinks in quickly and leaves no greasy feel and creates with a bright dewy complexion.
This cream is probably the most affordable of the bunch and it is filled with not only some fantastic ingredients for dry skin but also some serious anti-aging ingredients. Very impressed!
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is a lightweight water gel formulated with hyaluronic acid for hydration. It sinks in quickly without any greasiness and is clinically proven to keep skin hydrated for 48 hours. It also contains Olive Extract which works with the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss.
Although I am generally not a fan of gel moisturizers, this is a nice one. It wears well under makeup and my skin is so incredibly soft after application and stays hydrated all day. I don’t love the blue color of the gel, but it is what it is. Please note that this product is scented.
Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream Moisturizer is formulated with Olay’s Amino-Peptide Complex which will penetrate and deliver moisturizing ingredients 10 layers into your skin’s surface. It has exfoliating properties to support cell turnover. It also contains niacinamide and antioxidant Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract.
I think this is the most versatile cream of the group. I can wear it both day and night. My skin just drinks it in. It leaves a soft glow and is not greasy. I really like the pump which dispenses the cream from the top center of the container so that you don’t have to use your fingers to remove the product. I plan to continue to use this moisturizer year-round.
Yu-Be was first formulated back in 1957 in Japan and today it remains one of their best-selling skincare products. This glycerin-based cream is enriched with Vitamin E, vitamin B2, and camphor. The camphor creates a somewhat medicinal aroma, but the results make the nuisance scent worth it.
Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream is a product that I used to sell in my bath and body shop, Bathologie. I remember having a very rugged man come into my store to purchase it because it was the only thing that helped his dry cracked hands during the winter. I would hear again and again from customers how well it worked but I already knew since I used it myself.
Yu-Be is a true multitasker. Dry, chapped skin from your hands and face to your elbows and knees don’t stand a chance when you use Yu-Be. I spend many hours at the computer, so my elbows get particularly dry, red and inflamed and Yu-Be has helped reduce redness and irritation. It’s great for your hands too!
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 is the perfect cream for dry irritated skin. Soothing ingredients found in this cream treat dry skin such as panthenol, shea butter, glycerin, and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.
This fragrance-free cream leaves a matte finish that is non-sticky and non-oily. It’s even safe for babies aged one week and up. This cream can be applied not only to your face but also your lips and body. I like this for my face since it truly leaves a matte finish. It is ultra-moisturizing for dry, red and irritated skin.
Hydrating face masks are an extra step that you can take in your skin care routine when your face really needs extra hydration. Burt’s Bees Hydrating Sheet Mask with Clary Sage is 99% natural and helps to balance the skin’s Ph and improves skin texture with kiwi fruit water, willow bark extract and clary sage extract.
I like that this makes only takes 5 minutes and you can get a quick hit of moisture from it. The fabric masks also stay put on my face a little better than some sheet masks. A nice soothing and relaxing at-home facial treatment.
When I saw this new hand mask from Aveeno at the drugstore I had to give it a try. Aveeno Repairing Cica Hand Mask is enriched with prebiotic oat and shea butter to balance the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Prebiotic oat soothes and nourishes (think itchy dry skin) and your hands are left soft and smooth.
The one-time-use pair of plastic gloves are lined with moistened sheet masks. The gloves are quite large except for the middle fingers which may be a little snug on some fingers. The gloves come with sticky tabs to secure them around your wrists.
I forced myself to sit down and use the hand mask for the 10 minutes suggested on the package. I would have preferred that the disposable gloves weren’t plastic, but the plastic keeps the moisture in and the sheet masks from getting messy. After application, there is no need to rinse. You can massage the remaining product into your hands.
This hand mask left my hands baby soft and very moisturized. Talk about a spa treatment at home!
For the Body
Let’s not forget the skin on our body which could always use a little extra TLC. I’ve been loving Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Deluxe Moisture Body Creme. It’s formulated with sustainable cold-pressed hibiscus flower, meadowfoam oils, liquid shea butter and has a lovely French citrus Orange Absolute scent. While Beauty Pie does require a monthly subscription, you get luxury products without the crazy markups, which means you end up paying drugstore prices.
For a quick drugstore fix, try Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Body Gel Cream. Like their Hydro Boost face products, this gel-cream contains hyaluronic acid to help your skin stay hydrated. It sinks in quickly and dries quickly too.
Related: Beauty Pie Luxury Skincare Review
Final Thoughts on Treating Dry and Dehydrated Skin
Since rotating through these products for dry and dehydrated skin, my skin has never felt so moisturized during this time of the year. I don’t have a dry skin type, but I often have dehydrated skin, especially in the winter months and these products are living up to their claims.
To treat my dehydrated skin, I am following my own advice and trying to drink more water and eat a healthy diet. Using these cleansers, serums and moisturizers are also helping to keep my skin balanced and hydrated.
Have you tried any of these products for dry and dehydrated skin? I’d love to know.