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How to Bounce Back From Dry, Peeling Skin on Your Face

It’s the dead of winter, which means your skin is currently peeling off for the third time. And if it’s not, you’re probably on the brink of some redness and flaking. Besides, the only thing worse than peeling, itchy skin is raw, ultra-sensitive skin­— but it doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s right: Recovery is totally possible, and you don’t have to wait until spring to get your skin back to normal. Whether you’ve gone a little haywire with the retinol (remember: start weekly, then build up) or your barrier function—that’s the dermal layer that keeps moisturizing lipids safe from the cold—has just about had it, here’s your exact prescription to get rid of all the dry skin on your face. Glowy, dewy skin ahead!


First thing’s first: you want to switch your cleanser from the type that lathers to the type that doesn’t. Micellar water, which attaches itself to the dirt and grime on your face, gently cleanses the skin.

Simple Micellar Water
Image: Ulta

Simple Micellar Water, $7.99; at Ulta


Then, you’ll want to exfoliate to get rid of any existing flakes and dry patches. But instead of going HAM with a harsh apricot-shell exfoliator, opt for something gentle enough that you can use daily, like the rice-based exfoliator from Dermalogica.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant
Image: Dermalogica

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $55; at Dermalogica


Now that you’re all cleansed and exfoliated, throw on a mask if you’ve got the time. This one is soaked in bio-cellulose coconut gel that hydrates and lifts. Win-win.

LEADERS Lifting Recovery Mask
Image: Ulta

LEADERS Lifting Recovery Mask, $7; at Ulta


When you take the mask off—or, if you skipped the mask, after you exfoliate—spritz on this hydrating mist from Caudalie. It’ll help increase your skin’s natural moisture while protecting it from sensitivity. Plus, you’ll feel like you’re at the spa.

Caudalie Grape Water
Image: Sephora

Caudalie Grape Water, $13; at Sephora


When your skin’s peeling, it’s a sign it desperately needs hydration. Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it a great option for the winter and beyond. This serum by SkinCeuticals will keep you dewy all day.

Skinceuticals H.A. Intensifer
Image: SkinCeuticals

SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier, $98; at SkinCeuticals


Next up is a cream that’ll keep all that hydration in. Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin Cream has—you guessed it—ceramides that can form a protective layer on top of the skin to retain moisture.

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream
Image: Sephora

Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream, $48; at Sephora


Lastly, if your skin’s really hurting, seal it all in with an oil. This one from Tata Harper absorbs quickly, so you can use it during the day without looking like a grease ball by noon.

Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil
Image: Tata Harper

Tata Harper Beautifying Face Oil, $48; at Tata Harper

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