Skincare simplified: The best routine for oily, dehydrated skin (2023)

Having oily skin can be a pain. From the five o'clock shine on your oily T-zone to the inevitable foundation slippage as the day goes on, there's a whole bunch of qualms us oily types have to battle against.

Of course, there's the upside that oily skin is more wrinkle-resistant. Still, it would be nice to not worry if your forehead shine is going to reflect camera flash like a mirror. Just once 😂.

Before you ask, yes, it is true that oily skin can be hereditary, but that doesn't mean there aren't skincare products we can use to help.

Whatever your woe, from a shiny T-zone to enlarged pores, there are moisturiser, toner and serum solutions. Plus, we've whittled down all the best options to save you time.

In just six to eight steps, with these products, you can work to minimise shine, reduce the appearance of pores AND help to prevent acne, all while hydrating the skin. So say goodbye to drying foam cleansers and say hello to products your skin with actually love 👋.

CHECK OUT: The best products for oily skin

Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.

First up...

1. First cleanse/make-up removal

Before you get stuck in with your active ingredient skincare, it's really important to remove your make-up with a first cleanse. You can probably skip this step in the morning, or if you don't wear make-up BUT, if you do wear SPF then you're going to want to do a primary cleanse regardless.

SPF can cling to pores like glue and, if you don't remove it, you could encourage an unwanted bout of acne. No, thank you.

One of the best products to help break down SPF is an oil-based cleanser.

But wait...

Can you use an oil-based cleanser on oily skin?

As aesthetic practitioner Nalan Aksahin (of Rejuv Lab London) explains, "Using an oil-based cleanser as a first cleanse/make-up remover on oily skin is great as part of your evening routine.

"Simply wash away the excess with your second cleanser."

Oily dehydrated skin

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CREDIT: Amazon

Before you even LOOK at cleansers, you are going to need at least eight flannels in your arsenal (one for each day of the week + another for laundry day). This is a tip from skincare guru Caroline Hirons and it's one you should get on board with, stat. Washing away your make-up with a splash of water just won't do the job, and you'll be left with residue product. These cotton flannels will wash like a dream, they're soft to the touch and, most importantly, they'll wipe away all the day's make-up and grime no problem. This pack includes 12 flannels for less than a tenner - a bargain, if you ask us.

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Best high-end cleanser for oily skinThis no-nonsense cleansing balm is one of the best in the business. It transforms from a solid balm to a satin oil between your fingertips and, with a quick massage into your lashes, it'll do away with waterproof mascara in seconds. Plus, it's fragrance-free for sensitive skin.

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Best budget cleanser for oily skinRecommended by the one and only Caroline Hirons, M&S' Pure cleansing balm is a delight to use, especially for just £12. It's vegan and cruelty-free, and it's pretty darn similar to the Clinique balm, just with an added rose scent (which smells delightful if you don't mind fragranced skincare). Also, it comes with its own muslin cloth - a compact alternative to flannels and great for travelling.

(Video) Skincare Routine for Oily, Dehydrated Skin in 5 Steps! | #SKINCARE with @Susan Yara

2. Second cleanse

After removing your make-up and/or SPF, a second cleanse, or 'skin cleanse', is your first chance to really get in contact with the skin. Because of this, the ingredients in your second cleanser are arguably more important.

According to Nalan, a good ingredient to look out for in cleansers for oily skin is salicylic acid.

She says, "The salicylic acid breaks down oils that can lead to breakouts and penetrates right down into the pores. It also acts as an exfoliator so cuts down the need for scrubs or cleansing brushes."

Cleanser and toner for oily skin

CREDIT: Beauty Bay

Best high-end cleanser for oily skinOskia's Renaissance cleanser is renowned in the industry, and for good reason. It combines vitamins A, C and E - to encourage skin regeneration and healing - with lactobaccilus, or pumpkin enzyme, to clear pores and rid the skin of dead cells.

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Best budget cleanser for oily skinTaking on board Nalan's salicylic acid recommendation, CeraVe's Smoothing cleanser is a great shout and it comes at a great price, too. According to the brand, it uses SA to "exfoliate without disturbing the skin's natural barrier," and it's also packed full of hyaluronic acid to encourage hydration. A real hero product, if our opinion.

3. Toner

Once you've cleansed, a toner is a really good point in your routine to try and target skin congestion. This can mean excess sebum (oil) and dead cells on the surface of the skin which, if left, could go on to clog pores and create acne.

As, senior aesthetician Fatma Gunduz (of Skin and Sanctuary) explains, salicylic acid is the "oil loving" acid, so oily skin types should look for both this and glycolic acid in their toners.

Cleanser and toner for oily skin

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CREDIT: Amazon

The best high-end toner for oily skinAnother cult industry classic, the Paula's Choice BHA toner combines our fave, salicylic acid, with green tea extract to calm irritation and redness while targeting and clearing congested pores. Apply every other day until skin adjusts to the formula, at which point increase use to every day.

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Skincare simplified: The best routine for oily, dehydrated skin (9)

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(Video) An Esthetician's Anti-Aging Skincare Routine for Dehydrated, Oily Skin | Skincare Expert

CREDIT: Beauty Bay

Best budget toner for oily skinFor £5.40, this is a real powerhouse product. It pairs glycolic acid to remove dead skin with a gentle PHA to smooth and brighten complexion. Plus, it's vegan and cruelty-free.

4. Spray hydrate

An optional step, but one that can help to boost hydration (a big tick if your skin feels tight after cleansing) and, at the end of the day, feels a little luxurious - think spa, wellness retreat.

Nalan says, "As well as salicylic acid, keep an eye out for hyaluronic acid. These two ingredients work so well together as the hyaluronic acid replaces moisture and keeps your skin hydrated.

"It will prevent your skin from feeling tight or dry in the way that many oily skin products can."

Skincare for oily dehydrated skin

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CREDIT: Look Fantastic

Best mid-range face spray for oily skinNot quite high-end at £16, the Pixi spray uses hyaluronic acid and black oat extract to pump the skin with moisture while soothing any redness and/or inflammation. All in all, it's a truly enjoyable product to use.

CREDIT: Cult Beauty

Best budget face spray for oily skinAs Caroline Hirons says, a spray should ideally have, "glycerin or hyaluronic acid in there somewhere but a good quality rosewater etc is fine. I mean good quality." The Heritage Store spray ticks two of those boxes with rebalancing rosewater and glycerin to help the skin retain moisture - a win, win.

5. Eye cream

Yet another optional step, an eye cream is a luxury that sometimes time and money can't afford, but if crow's feet and fine lines are your nemesis, it might be something to start considering.

Oily t zone products

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CREDIT: Feel Unique

Best high-end eye cream for oily skinSkin-type regardless, you're probably going to want to something creamy and calming to put on your eyes, especially if you're a fan of day-to-day eye make-up. With its moisturising avocado and shea butter formula, the Keihl's eye cream is just that. It was a huge hit around 2014, and we see no reason why it shouldn't be now, too. Definitely a treat worth buying.

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(Video) Minimal Skincare Routine for Your Skin Type- Dry Skin, Oily Skin, Combination Skin, Normal Skin

CREDIT: Feel Unique

Best budget eye cream for oily skinIf you're conscious of oily eyelids, this is the eye product for you. It has a thin, water-based formula and combines caffeine and pomegranate extract to 'wake-up' and brighten your under-eye area.

6. Serum

Now THIS is where the magic happens. Save all your money for this step because the serum stage is where you're going to target your skin's real problem areas. From acne to dryness (yes, oily skin can still by dry), a serum can pinpoint those concerns and, trust us, it's going to be your best friend.

For blemish-prone skin, Fatma recommends Niacinamide at this stage.

She says, "Niacinamide, also known as B3, is great for enlarged blemish prone-skin with discolouration.

"It also helps with dullness and repairing a weakened skin barrier."

Skincare for oily T zone

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CREDIT: Feel Unique

Best high-end serum for oily skinIf you're one of the really lucky ones that's been blessed with oily and dehydrated skin (irony...) then you'll love this serum, even if it is a little pricey. It brings together niacinamide with hydration-boosting hyaluronic acid (along with rose water and a whole bunch of other skin-loving ingredients) in a water-based serum that's just picture perfect for oily skin. Can't recommend it enough.

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CREDIT: Beauty Bay

Best budget serum for oily skinIn a nutshell, this is a niacinamide blemish zapper with added copper to help regulate oil production and, in an ideal world, help to prevent future blemishes. At £5, it's an entryway to active skincare and we're here for it.

7. Moisturiser

Contrary to popular belief, your moisturiser isn't necessarily where you should be splashing your cash. Yep, according to the one and only Queen Caroline Hirons, your moisturiser is like "a good coat."

She explains, "Think hydration and protection, not the second coming of Jesus."

In fact, it's your serum where you want to prioritise your spending, says Caroline (so give that Murad serum a go 😉).

Best products for oily T zone

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Best high-end moisturiser for oily skinNow this is a real one. Clinique Moisture Surge has been around for over two decades, and for good reason. Its water-based formula is jam-packed with hyaluronic acid and its texture is light as air on the skin. It'll leave your skin hydrated to the max and, because of its light feel, it's the perfect product to layer over a serum AND under an SPF.

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(Video) Glowing Skin Morning Skincare Routine ✨ Oily / Dehydrated Skin ✖ James Welsh

CREDIT: Superdrug

Best budget moisturiser for oily skinWe're not going to overdo it, this is Clinique's Moisture Surge at a lower entry level. It's a bargain £12.99 and uses hyaluronic acid in a light formula to hydrate the skin. Simple and very much effective.

8. SPF

Last and definitely not least, sun protection factor.

Now, before you hit us with, "SPF breaks me out," or, "It makes my T-zone greasy," you need to face the facts: SPF is the biggest weapon we have in our arsenal against ageing. You don't want to miss this step.

Plus, we've found the SPFs that absolutely won't add to your T-zone shine. And, remember, you should be wearing SPF every day you leave the house, not just when it's sunny.

Moisturiser with SPF for oily dehydrated skin

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CREDIT: Feel Unique

Best high-end SPF for oily skinA water-based formula (big tick for oily skin types) with added anti-pollutants and anti-blue light extracts which all boils together to provide you with a light as air, all-singing, all-dancing daily SPF. Plus, Caroline Hirons uses this sooo...

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CREDIT: Feel Unique

The best mid-range SPF for oily skinNot quite affordable enough to sit in the 'budget' category but pretty good in terms of finding an actually non-greasy SPF. Designed for oily skin, La Roche-Posay's Anthelios SPF has a dry to the touch texture and leaves no white marks ud83dude4c.

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Does oily skin need moisturiser?

Yes! Oily skin most definitely needs moisturiser, you just need to find the right one.

Oily skin can still be dehydrated and in need of moisture. Note, dehydrated skin isn't the same as dry skin; the first denotes a lack of water in the skin, while the second describes a lack of oil.

Alas, oily skin types are best-suited to a water-based moisturiser to boost hydration without adding to the skin's natural sebum, or oil, production.

Of course, not all oily skins are dehydrated, but excess oil production can be the skin's way of letting you know that it's in need of moisture, AKA she's thirsty, hun x.

Should oily skin types use face oil?

Yes and no. Generally speaking, oily skin types should stick to water rather than oil-based products, to minimise the appearance of shine, a.k.a excess sebum production.

That said, there are lighter oils (particularly oil-serum hybrids) that can work well on oily skin, you just need to know how to apply them.

Is my skin dehydrated or oily?

The best way to tell if your skin is merely dehydrated or actually oily is to examine the state of your pores, says Katherine Daniels Cosmetics.

Dehydrated skin pores will present as open and grey at the base, but not full - they are often confused with blackheads. Whereas oily skin pores will present as waxy and, where there are blackheads, they will be almost like 'plugs', slightly raised and clearly filled with sebum and dead skin.

It's also important to note that dehydrated skin may look dull - this is a good tell that you need to up your water intake, both topically and by glugging a good 'ole glass 'o H20.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us

(Video) Is Your Skin Both Oily & Dry? 5 Basic Skincare Rules for Oily Deyhydrated Skin | Do & Don't


What is best for oily dehydrated skin? ›

Jojoba, acai, rosehip, and almond oil are all effective options. We recommend: Acai Skin Balancing Face Oil Ideal for all skin types, especially oily skin with balance concerns, this nourishing oil can replace moisturiser to improve tone, calm, and hydrate while regulating oil flow.

What is the best skin care routine for dehydrated skin? ›

How to treat dehydrated skin
  • Use gentle, yet effective, cleansers that don't leave skin feeling tight, dry, or greasy.
  • Never use harsh scrubs and/or rough cleansing brushes.
  • Use a rehydrating toner instead of skin-stripping, alcohol- or witch hazel-based versions; toners should give back, not take away from skin.

Can skin be oily and dehydrated at the same time? ›

Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is a lack of water, not oil. For this reason, the skin can be combination, oily or normal and, at the same time, also dehydrated.

What is the simplest skin care routine? ›

  1. Step 1: Cleanse. During the day, your skin goes through a lot. ...
  2. Step 2: Exfoliate. ...
  3. Step 3: Hydrate. ...
  4. Step 4a:Treat. ...
  5. Step 4b: Moisturize. ...
  6. Step 5: Protect.
31 May 2021

How long does it take to fix oily dehydrated skin? ›

Keep in mind though, it takes about two weeks to heal your skin. Be patient and remember it's truly about keeping it simple!

How often exfoliate dehydrated oily skin? ›

Don't exfoliate harshly, but gently and don't do it too often. This can lead your skin to become thicker, it is recommended to exfoliate 1-2 times per week. Use a cleanser that doesn't strip everything away, but just gets rid of the unnecessary waste of your skin.

What is the fastest way to hydrate your face? ›

Derms Say “Moisturizer Layering” Is the Fastest Way to Hydrate Skin That's Dry All the Time. Using a moisturizer is the most important step in any dry skin routine. It delivers hydration, seals important natural oils into the skin, and strengthens the barrier so that it can better defend itself from the (harsh! cold!)

What does dehydrated oily skin look like? ›

Dehydrated oily skin can generally feel tight and look dull, but this isn't always the case. Your skin might even slightly wrinkle when you pinch it instead of holding its shape or you might find little dry patches around your brows or nose.

What is it called when you have both oily and dry skin? ›

Combination Skin

Based on its location, it presents characteristics of both dry and oily skin since the distribution of sebaceous and sweat glands is not homogeneous. The area with more oil is usually the T- zone (forehead, nose, and chin), while the skin on the cheeks is normal or dry.

What are the 7 steps of skincare? ›

Your Daytime Skin Care Routine: A Step-by-Step Guide
  • STEP 1: CLEANSER. ...
  • STEP 2: TONER. ...
  • STEP 4: EYE CREAM. ...
  • Step 7: SUNSCREEN.
28 Sept 2022

What are the 5 basics of skin care? ›

The Basic Skincare Rules Everyone Should Know
  • Cleanse Once and Then Cleanse Again. Double cleansing requires washing your face not once but twice. ...
  • Always Layer Products in the Right Order. ...
  • Know Your Skin Type. ...
  • Take the Time to Exfoliate. ...
  • Always Wear Sunscreen.
15 Jan 2020

What are the 3 most important skin care products? ›

Three Essential Elements in a Basic Skincare Routine
  1. Step 1: Cleanser. Choosing a cleanser that's specifically formulated for the face (rather than the body) is the first essential step in a basic skincare routine. ...
  2. Step 2: Moisturizer. ...
  3. Step 3: Sunscreen. ...
  4. 3 (or 5) simple steps to beautiful skin.

Should I exfoliate dehydrated skin? ›


It might seem counterintuitive to exfoliate dehydrated skin but removing dead skin cells from skin's surface can help. You will refresh your surface skin and get rid of any dead and dehydrated skin cells which may be keeping your skin from absorbing your moisturizing products properly.

Does dehydrated skin need oil or water? ›

8. Fact: Dehydrated Skin (That Produces Enough Oil But Needs Water), Requires Gentle Products. Avoid using harsh skincare products on dehydrated skin, which can contribute to a tight feeling and leave you with what seems like dry skin but really isn't. Instead, look for products that contain water-based hydration!

Does dehydrated skin lack water or oil? ›

Dryness and dehydration may look (and even) feel similar, but they're two very different things: Dry skin results from too little oil, while dehydrated skin is due to a lack of water.

What is the best exfoliator for dehydrated skin? ›

The Best Exfoliators for Dry Skin in 2022
  1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. ...
  2. Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. ...
  3. Murad Age Reform Aha/Bha Exfoliating Cleanser. ...
  4. Origins Modern Friction Exfoliator. ...
  5. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. ...
  6. Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher. ...
  7. Burt's Bees Peach & Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub.
31 Aug 2020

Can over exfoliating cause dehydrated skin? ›

Dryness and Flakiness

Similarly, over exfoliating the skin can cause dehydration, flaking, and dryness. If you start to notice patches or flakes after exfoliating, cut things back.

Is it better to exfoliate wet or dry skin? ›

Dry exfoliating is considered to have more benefits because the removal of dirt and dead cells is more efficient when the skin is dry. Water pumps up the skin, which makes wet brushing a bit less effective.

How can I super hydrate my skin? ›

Eat more water- and antioxidant-rich foods.

Fruits and veggies aren't just great for your health—they're excellent for your skin too. “Water- and antioxidant-rich foods increase the total water content of your body, and in conjunction with daily hydrating moisturizers, will make your skin supple and healthy,” says Dr.

How I heal my dehydrated skin? ›

How to treat dehydrated skin
  1. Drink alcohol in moderation only (if at all).
  2. Drink less coffee and other sources of caffeine.
  3. Stop smoking.
  4. Exercise regularly.
  5. Drink water while you work out (the Nemours Foundation recommends taking a few sips every 20 minutes at minimum).
  6. Replenish fluids after you work out.
2 May 2018

How do dermatologists fix dehydrated skin? ›

But to treat dehydrated skin more directly, dermatologists may also recommend cosmetic dermatology treatments. Exfoliation is essential for removing the dead skin cells that have built up on the skin. Clearing this old skin can also make your skin more receptive to topical treatments.

What actually hydrates skin? ›

Humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea pull water from both the air and the deeper layers of skin into the stratum corneum to add moisture. Occlusives like beeswax, soybean oil, and lanolin form a barrier that prevents water from evaporating.

How can I hydrate my face overnight? ›

The best way to replenish water to dehydrated skin is to apply humectants like Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin.
  1. Take a lukewarm shower. ...
  2. Pat your skin to remove water droplets. ...
  3. Immediately apply a Hyaluronic Acid or Glycerin based Serum. ...
  4. Follow with a gel-based, moisturizing face mask, and leave it on overnight.
21 Feb 2019

What hydrates your face best? ›

How to Hydrate Skin
  • Use a humidifier. Low-humidity environments often lead to dry skin. ...
  • Hydrate skin with lotion, ointments, or face creams. ...
  • Try moisturizing serums. ...
  • Use a vitamin C serum for brighter skin. ...
  • Apply a facial toner. ...
  • Drink plenty of water. ...
  • Exfoliate a couple of times a week at most. ...
  • Use sunscreen.
8 Mar 2022

Should you hydrate oily skin? ›

Yes, oily skin still needs moisturizer because it helps regulate oil production.

Does oily skin age better? ›

For people with oily skin, breakouts may never stop as they age. But oily skin does have a plus: It wards off wrinkles better than dry skin because the oils keep skin moister and smoother. Using moisturizer is one way to lessen the impact of wrinkles before they appear.

Is hyaluronic acid good for oily skin? ›

Hyaluronic acid is an amazing ingredient that can help to regulate oil production, hydrate the skin, and improve the overall appearance of your complexion. Struggling with oily, acne-prone skin, you can incorporate a product with hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine.

What can you not use on dehydrated skin? ›

The most important thing you can do to take care of dehydrated skin is to assess your skincare routine, and stop using harsh, sensitising products. That means you must: Use gentle, yet effective, cleansers that don't leave skin feeling tight, dry, or greasy. Never use harsh scrubs and/or rough cleansing brushes.

What does dehydrated skin need? ›

For dehydrated skin, oral hydration is a must because it's adding water into complexion from the inside. You can also incorporate water-rich foods into your diet, such as watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, and celery.

What organ causes oily skin? ›

Oily skin is the result of the overproduction of sebum from sebaceous glands. These glands are located under the skin's surface. Sebum is an oily substance made of fats. Sebum isn't all bad since it helps protect and moisturize your skin and keep your hair shiny and healthy.

What hormone causes oily skin? ›

Androgens are the hormones mostly responsible for oil production, and sometimes they can fluctuate, stimulating an increase in sebum production. This often happens during puberty, just before menstruation, during pregnancy and during menopause.

How can you tell if your skin is dehydrated? ›

If your skin is dehydrated, you may notice itchiness, dullness, under-eye circles, sunken eyes, and/or more noticeable fine lines. Severely dehydrated skin symptoms may include dizziness, dry mouth, lightheadedness and/or weakness.

How do I know if my skin is dehydrated or oily? ›

How Can I Identify My Skin Type at Home?
  1. To start, wash your face with a gentle cleanser, then gently pat it dry.
  2. Wait 30 minutes.
  3. If your skin appears shiny throughout, you likely have oily skin.
  4. If it feels tight and is flaky or scaly, you likely have dry skin.

How do I rehydrate my dehydrated skin? ›

How to hydrate skin 8 ways
  1. Add hyaluronic acid into your skincare routine. ...
  2. Avoid harsh cleansers. ...
  3. Use a hydrating face cream. ...
  4. Protect skin from UV rays. ...
  5. Apply a weekly face mask. ...
  6. Drink plenty of water. ...
  7. Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake. ...
  8. Avoid steaming hot showers.
3 May 2021

Should you exfoliate dehydrated skin? ›

Avoid harsh skin care products. This isn't a time for rough exfoliating scrubs or cleansers that strip skin of moisture. Gentle products are best to help your skin look and feel hydrated and moisturized. Skip the use of exfoliating brushes or tools.

What dehydrated skin looks like? ›

Dehydrated skin means that your skin is lacking water. It can be dry and itchy and perhaps dull looking, too. Your overall tone and complexion may appear uneven, and fine lines are more noticeable. While dehydrated skin can be a nuisance, it's relatively easy to treat with the right lifestyle changes.

How long does it take to fix dehydrated skin? ›

While making any long-term changes to your skin takes time, you can start to repair your moisture barrier and notice a serious boost in hydration to the skin in just a few days. In fact, you can change hydration levels in the skin in just 24 hours .

What deficiency causes dehydrated skin? ›

What Happens If We're Deficient? A Vitamin B deficiency can wreak havoc on your skin, causing acne, rashes, dry and flaky skin, cracked lips, and wrinkles. It can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, personal care products, and other potential aggressors, and can accordingly lead to redness and irritation.

How do dermatologists hydrate skin? ›

To help heal dry skin and prevent its return, dermatologists recommend the following.
  1. Stop baths and showers from worsening dry skin. ...
  2. Apply moisturizer immediately after washing. ...
  3. Use an ointment or cream rather than a lotion. ...
  4. Wear lip balm. ...
  5. Use only gentle, fragrance-free skin care products. ...
  6. Wear gloves.

What vitamins are good for dehydrated skin? ›

Research has shown that taking certain vitamins and other nutritional supplements, including vitamin D, fish oil, collagen, and vitamin C, may help improve skin hydration and help keep your skin healthy and nourished.


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