Ask Curology: What is my dry skin trying to tell me?

What your skin can reveal about your health

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Curology Team
Aug 29, 2019 · 4 min read

Woman rubbing in skincare cream on her face
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Medically reviewed by: Nancy Satur, MD

Written by: Curology Editorial Team

Welcome to Ask Curology, a series on our blog where one of our in-house licensed dermatology providers answers your questions about all things skincare. Today we’re talking about how your skin can be indicative of underlying health concerns, and how to get better skin by making healthy changes and consulting your primary physician — as opposed to slathering on products that only treat the symptom, not the root of the issue.

Got a burning skincare question of your own? Come hang out with us on Instagram and keep your eyes peeled for our provider takeover series on our stories. We answer your questions in real time!

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Dear Curology,

I’ve got seriously dry skin on my face. I’ve tried drinking more water and moisturizing, but I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle! Is my skin trying to tell me something about my overall health?

Sincerely,

Thirsty Face

Dear Thirsty,

This is such a great question. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this — I know from experience just how frustrating chronically dry skin can be! But I’m proud of you for putting your health at the forefront of your mind. Of course, you’re naturally concerned about your skin’s appearance, too, which we know isn’t a good feeling. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

First of all, we’ve got a rich moisturizer to recommend that should help you out. The rich moisturizer by Curology is a creamy, deeply hydrating moisturizer for dry or aging skin. Our dermatologists formulated this creamy moisturizer to work twice as hard: first, hydrating your skin, then keeping that moisture locked in. Packed with 6 hydrating ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and shea butter, it keeps your skin soft and protected all day (or night). You can get it with your custom formula and Curology cleanser as part of the 3-step set, so you can get everything you need for happy, hydrated skin in one simple box!

For new Curology members

When signing up as a new member, you can choose between the moisturizer and rich moisturizer according to your skin’s unique needs.

For existing Curology members

If you’re already subscribed to the 3-step set, you can edit it to include the rich moisturizer instead of the current moisturizer at no additional cost. If you’re subscribed to just the custom formula, you can upgrade to a 3-step set anytime.

What causes dry skin?

To understand dry skin, let’s first dive into what makes healthy skin: a combination of water content and fat. Normal skin contains a healthy amount of both. The most common culprits of dry skin include reduced water content, lipid content (the building blocks of fat), or both. Some people simply have dry skin, possibly due to genetics. Sometimes, dry skin can be caused by external factors, such as the products you’re using — ingredients like alcohol can dry out your skin, so check the ingredients list of any product you’re using. If you’ve ruled that out already, it might be time for a checkup with your local doctor.

Possible health-related causes of dry skin include:

  • dehydration

  • skin conditions such as eczema

  • nutritional deficiency (especially zinc and essential fatty acids)

  • certain medications, especially isotretinoin (Accutane) and diuretics

  • hypothyroidism

  • inherited and acquired forms of ichthyosis

If your chronically dry skin hasn’t been responding to the usual dry skin remedies, such as drinking enough water every day (about a gallon a day is recommended!), you might want to talk to your primary care doctor and see what they think. Dry skin could be a side effect of a medication you’re taking, or it could be due to a nutritional deficiency. There are products you can use on your skin (moisturizers with ceramides, as well as certain face oils, are a great help), supplements you can take, and foods you can eat to help replenish essential fatty acids and other nutrients your body might be lacking. But remember, it’s always recommended to check with your doctor before you begin taking a new dietary supplement.

Also, take into consideration that dry skin incidence increases with age. As we age, the sebaceous glands (aka oil-producers in the skin) naturally slow down production.

Meanwhile, here are the best things you can do to care for dry skin.

  1. Moisturize liberally. Our rich moisturizer both moisturizes and keeps moisture locked in! Apply it as needed in the morning and at night.

2. Make sure you’re drinking enough water. It might help to reduce or avoid dehydrating drinks such as caffeinated beverages and alcohol, too.

3. Learn more about dry skin and how to deal with it with our Dry Skin Guide!

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When in doubt, custom skincare is what it’s about

Curology’s cleanser and moisturizer are designed to work well for dry skin: the cleanser cleans without stripping the skin of moisture, and the moisturizer locks in moisture with hydration hero hyaluronic acid. Sign up for a free trial of Curology (heads up: you pay $4.95 in shipping and handling) to get the all-in-one skincare set for yourself, including your very own custom acne-fighting and/or anti-aging cream. And remember, we’ve got your back!

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

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