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Image / Editorial

My skin was so dry it was flaking. This simple swap sorted it out in a day.


by Aisling Keenan
13th Feb 2020
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My skin was so dry I didn’t recognise it – how had I gone from hydrated to flaky so quickly? I figured it out, made one key skincare swap and my skin went back to normal in a day…


My skin is usually grand. Far from perfect, but I can pretty much throw any product at it, any diet flux, and the odd night forgetting to take my make-up off, and generally be fine. Unless I really go mad, sleep in make-up for a week and completely ignore hyaluronic acid, I’m in the clear.

Unexplained dryness

So last week, I realised that my skin had been feeling really dry lately. When I thought back, it dawned on me that it had been weeks since I noticed a glow. The penny really dropped for me when I looked at my skin close-up, after I’d applied my foundation.

It went on unevenly, caught in my hairline and around my nose, and there were even flaky bits of skin coming off in my eyebrows. Red alert!

Beauty knowledge

I put my thinking cap on. What was I doing that was causing this dryness? I figured out that the thing I was doing most often that could be behind the flaking was my cleansing. I was using a foaming gel cleanser every day, and as we know, foaming cleansers aren’t recommended for those with dry skin, or skin that’s very sensitive. My skin wouldn’t normally be that way, but I think winter weather had taken a toll.

Foaming cleansers (not all, but many) contain ingredients that allow your cleanser to make little bubbles, but they can be irritating for your skin. The most common ingredient that’s used to make foam is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, they act as surfactants in cleansers, shampoos etc. So when you see ‘sulphate free’ shampoo, they mightn’t be as foamy because they’re SLS free.

So immediately, I parked my foaming gel cleanser and moved straight on to a cream one. Within a day, two cleanses, my skin was already showing signs of improvement. And when I applied the cream cleanser to my face, my skin soaked it up before I could even move it around fully — an indication of just how starved for comfort my skin was.

Three cream cleansers I love…

These three are milky, creamy, soothing and comforting cleansers I love and have polished off full bottles of in the past.

skin was so dry

Lixirskin Electrogel Cleanser

€30.50 from johnlewis.com
skin was so dry

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

€10.95 from lookfantastic.com
skin was so dry

Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk

€17.95 from lookfantastic.com


Read more: The IMAGE Beauty Awards: This year’s best cleansers

Read more: Double Cleansing: Do I REALLY need to do it?

Read more: Milky cleansers: The best of them and why they might suit you

Photo from Unsplash