What causes dry skin on your face?

Many people suffer with dry skin, particularly on their face. While it is important to regularly wash, moisturise and exfoliate your face, the wrong skincare routine can actually make the situation worse. Before deciding on how to hydrate your skin, it’s important to get an understanding of the underlying causes of your dry skin. Below are a few of the most common reasons why people suffer with dry skin on their face.

What causes dry skin?

Skin conditions

Skin conditions are often the culprit for dry skin on the face and will present themselves as more extreme cases than other causes. It’s important to recognise which skin condition you are suffering from in order to deal with it appropriately. A dermatologist will be able to diagnose whether or not you have a skin condition and recommend appropriate treatment. Some of the most common skin conditions that cause dry skin on the face are as follows:

  • Eczema - Eczema is the most common long-term skin condition which causes the skin to become itchy, dry, sore and cracked. It can appear in small patches on the face or can be widespread across the whole body. If you have dark skin, eczema often presents itself as dark brown, purple or grey patches. For lighter skin tones, it presents itself as red.
  • Psoriasis - Psoriasis is a less common long-term skin condition which causes red flaky, crusty patches of skin and can vary in severity, with some people experiencing mild symptoms and others suffering from severe symptoms.
  • Dandruff - Dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is a skin condition which most people associate with the scalp only, but it can actually cause dry, flaky skin on the face, particularly in the creases of the nose, eyelids, eyebrows, lips and behind the ears. Dandruff is more easily treatable and is a short-term skin condition when treated appropriately.


Prolonged exposure to cold, windy weather or a low-humidity climate can cause dry skin on the face. Try to stay out of the cold and use a humidifier indoors, but don’t be tempted to rely on central heating and wood-burning stoves to solve your problems, as this kind of heat can also lead to dry skin.

Skincare routine

For many people, their skincare routine is actually doing more harm than good when it comes to skin dryness. By scrubbing the skin too hard, using harsh soaps that are designed to remove oil from the skin or having regular hot showers and baths, you are likely making your skin dryness much worse. You also have to choose your skincare products carefully too, as fragrance can contribute to dryness, as well as other harsh chemicals used in many skincare products. Try using skincare products with only natural ingredients such as Epara’s moisturising face cream or cleansing oil.


If you are currently taking any medications, check the box or pamphlet to find information on potential side effects. There are a lot of medications out there that can cause skin dryness, for example many acne medications contain salicylic acid, which is great for fighting acne but can make your skin dry out.

Cigarettes and alcohol

Lifestyle choices such as smoking or drinking alcohol also contribute to skin dryness. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, and skin dryness is a long term side-effect of smoking as smoking decreases blood flow and inhibits inflammation, therefore damaging the body's ability to heal itself.

What foods cause dry skin?

There are also many dietary choices that can cause skin dryness. Below are some of the foods you should try cutting down on to improve the appearance of your skin.

Salty foods

Salty foods such as crisps, chips, pretzels etc. can contribute to skin dryness as fluid is drawn from your body’s cells to help neutralise the salt. With less fluid in the body, skin can become dryer, so make sure you drink plenty of water when eating salty foods.

Sugary foods

If you are eating too much sugar in foods such as sweets, chocolate, cakes or fizzy drinks, you can end up with too much sugar in your bloodstream which can start to damage collagen, therefore weakening and drying out your skin.

Refined carbohydrates

If you’re eating a lot of high-glycemic carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice and white bread, your body will need to process this food in the same way it processes sugars, therefore resulting in potential damage to your collagen.


Similar to alcohol, coffee constricts your blood vessels, which means less fluid is passed around your body. This then results in dryer skin when coffee becomes a regular drink, so try cutting down and see if it helps with the appearance of your skin.

While there are many other causes of dry skin, these are some of the most common causes. By making healthy lifestyle choices and taking the time to research your skincare routine, you can start to combat dry skin on your face and get it feeling healthy and hydrated again.

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