Dry skin is a challenge to deal with, no matter if it’s your complexion type, or if you’re afflicted due to dermatological ailments like eczema and psoriasis. You probably go through hydrating products like sand, with results often being extremely hit and miss. Instead of purchasing a moisturiser and thinking, “maybe this time”, we’ve enlisted the help of Dr Heng Wee Soon of IDS Clinic to provide medical advice on how one can alleviate dry skin, from quick tips to specific ingredients you should be looking out for.

dr heng wee soon tips for dry skin
Dr Heng of IDS Clinic | Photo: IDS Clinic

Lifestyle Asia (LSA): What are some key ingredients in skincare that might aggravate dry skin? 

Dr. Heng (DH): Some aggravating ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acids, and beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acids. Frequently, people with dry skin notice flaking, and in such situations, it is best they cut down or avoid retinoid-based products, as retinoids tend to increase peeling.

LSA: Are there any big no’s when it comes to a skincare routine that those with dry skin will want to avoid?

DH:  Be very careful with the frequency of face washing. About twice a day is more than enough for most people. And be wary of cleansers that are too ‘clarifying’. More often than not, these cleansers remove too much of the natural lipids from the skin, and you will feel that your skin becomes even drier. People with dry skin should also control the type and amount of toner that they use. Toners that contain too much alcohol will act as an astringent, further drying out the skin. I usually tell my patients to go easy on scrubs, or avoid them completely until the hydration status of their skin improves.

moisturise dry skin care tips

LSA: Are there any fixes for issues like recurring dry patches or skin flakiness?

DH: At the clinic, we typically check that the patient does not have any medical condition that causes skin flakiness and dry patches. Conditions like severe atopic eczema, psoriasis or even ichthyosis, have to be considered and treated separately. For the average person with dry skin, it is usually a matter of poor product choices resulting in an imbalance of skin hydration that causes these symptoms. A well-formulated moisturiser should be incorporated into their daily skincare regime. Those looking for more hydration and perhaps, desire a dewy, glowing complexion, treatments involving hyaluronic acid should be opted for, given that it that makes the skin more supple, hydrated and allows for repair of the epidermal barrier overtime.

Dr. Heng Wee Soon’s top six skincare tips for managing dry skin:

  1. To prevent dry, chapped lips, use a lip balm daily. If the lip balm comes with SPF protection, even better.

  2. Choose an ointment over lotion. Ointments are much more effective in retaining moisture within the skin, and they are potentially less irritating than lotions. 

  3. Apply moisturiser right after showering to retain as much moisture as possible

  4. Sun damage is one of the main causes behind dry chapped skin as well as wrinkles, so try to wear a broad spectrum physical sunscreen daily before leaving the house.

  5. Try to avoid scented products or products with fragrance. More often than not, they contain chemicals that can be harsh and irritating, and can worsen dry skin.

  6. Try washing your face with a non-soap liquid cleanser, preferably one with ceramides to replenish the skin’s outer layer.
Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.