How to repair dry sensitive skin on the face

Updated March 23, 2017

Dry and sensitive skin is a common problem faced by many people, particularly during wintertime. The usage of harsh chemical-based soaps, lotions and cleaning products can strip away natural oils, causing skin to become flaky, dry and cracked. Furthermore, deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and vitamin A, may also cause dry skin. You can reduce your skin's sensitivity and keep it moisturised and healthy by taking advantage of some simple remedies and remaining cautious of certain factors.

Avoid using harsh soaps that remove natural skin oils, leaving skin dry and flaky. Mayo Clinic states, "The same products that keep your face looking fresh in the spring and summer may cause skin problems during winter. Choose a gentle, super-fatted, fragrance-free soap--bar or liquid--for cleansing. Super-fatted means the soap is loaded with oils." Use olive oil-based natural soaps available at many natural spa and health stores. Olive oil acts as a natural moisturiser and does not cause irritation to sensitive skin.

Cleanse and exfoliate your face before moisturising it. Cleansing the face thoroughly of dry and dead skin beforehand helps to retain any moisturiser applied afterward so that its effects are increased. According to WebMD, "To get the most out of your moisturiser, exfoliate. Clearing away dead skin cells lets a moisturiser better penetrate dry skin." A natural way to clean and exfoliate the face is to use an oatmeal scrub. Simply mix 1 tbsp of oatmeal with 1 tbsp of warm water. Apply the mixture to the face while gently scrubbing. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, and rinse with warm water.

Moisturise your skin with healthy, natural vegetable oils that help replenish the skin, making it softer and smoother. Some oils to consider using are almond oil, olive oil and jojoba oil. According to Mayo Clinic, "For very dry, cracked skin, oils are preferable. They have more staying power than creams do and are more effective at preventing water from evaporating from your skin."

Wash your face with warm water. Avoid using hot water as it can strip the moisture away from your face and make your face dry, cracked and sensitive. Mayo Clinic states, "Hot water and long showers or baths remove oils from your skin. Limit your bath or shower time to about 15 minutes or less, and use warm, rather than hot, water."

Use a humidifier in your home, especially during the winter season. The use of air conditioners during the winter can remove the natural moisture in the air, causing your skin to feel drier than usual. Mayo Clinic also states, "Hot, dry indoor air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. A portable home humidifier or one attached to your furnace adds moisture to the air inside your home."

Avoid using products with artificial fragrances and preservatives, which act as allergens and increase the sensitivity of the skin. Fragrances are added to skin care products to cover up other smells and increase their appeal. These fragrances are not natural, but are instead synthetic and often contain harsh chemicals. According to Mayo Clinic, "Fragrances in skincare products are the most likely cause of skin irritations or contact allergies." A better alternative to consider is the use of a mixture of natural essential oils with carrier oils, such as olive oil or almond oil, which is applied to the skin for improving moisturising and reducing sensitivity.

Eat healthy foods rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish your skin. According to Natural News, "Salmon--along with other fatty fish, walnuts and flaxseed--is high in healthy fatty acids that are key for achieving healthy skin. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3s help keep cell membranes healthy by keeping out harmful substances as well as allowing nutrients to enter cells and exit with waste products. Omega-3s also reduce the body's production of inflammatory agents that can damage the skin."

Things You'll Need

  • Natural oil-based soaps
  • Exfoliating scrubs
  • Oil-based moisturisers
  • Warm water
  • Humidifier
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Fatima Farakh has been writing professionally since 2001. Her articles have appeared in "The Gazette" newspaper in Maryland and in other publications. Her areas of specialization are health, technology and home improvement. She is currently a copywriter for businesses, including private and public schools and online corporations. She holds an Associate of Arts in journalism and history from Montgomery College.