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What Is Normal to Dry Skin?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 21, 2024
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Normal to dry skin is skin that is generally supple and healthy, but experiences occasional dryness. Skin dryness can be constant, or it can occur more sporadically, particularly in reaction to temperature changes, allergies, or relative air humidity. People with this skin type usually keep their skin healthy by making sure they drink enough water to maintain elasticity and by using creams or lotions when needed on dry areas.

Determining skin type is mostly a matter of observation. Dermatologists usually advise patients to look at their skin first thing in the morning, before washing, using cosmetics, or going outside. Normal to dry skin is skin that is mostly supple or elastic, but has patches of flakiness or roughness.

There are three main zones where skin type is measured: on the face, on the hands, and on the body more generally. Faces are usually where people see the most variation. The face has more oil and sweat glands than most other parts of the body, which makes it more susceptible to breakouts, blemishes, and dryness. Hands, too, are particularly prone to dryness, as they are exposed to the elements and washed repeatedly throughout the day, often with abrasive soaps. It is entirely possible for a person to have normal skin throughout most of the body, but oily skin on the face and normal or dry skin on the hands.

Cosmetics products designed for people with normal to dry skin usually indicate "normal to dry" on the packaging. Products usually come designed for a range of skin types, including oily skin, sensitive skin, or combination skin — and are usually labeled as such. Most people have normal skin, but occasional dryness is common. The designation “normal to dry” thus captures the majority of most markets, as it describes the most prominent skin type of most populations.

Selecting products for this type of skin is usually simple. Any product that bears no designation as to skin type is almost always designed for normal skin, which makes it suitable for people with normal to dry conditions, too. When in doubt, consumers should look for cosmetics that purport to be moisturizing, as these may restore moisture to the skin and heal dryness. Consumers with dry skin should avoid products that include astringents and other alcohol derivatives that can lead to even more dryness. Be sure to find skin care products that are made specifically for individuals with dry skin.

Normal to dry skin can be drier in some places than in others. Specific dry skin creams and lotions may be required to keep certain skin zones comfortable and moisturized throughout the day. Determining the type of product that is right for any given skin is largely a matter of trial and error. Normal to dry skin should never be uncomfortable for prolonged periods, and its dryness should always be treatable. Dry skin patches that persist and do not respond to even the richest creams should normally be evaluated by a dermatologist.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Jul 11, 2014

@Scrbblchick -- I stopped trying all these fancy moisturizers. I use the collodial oatmeal body lotion on my face. Yes, I do. I never break out or get a rash from it. I just put it on at night.

I have used a couple of moisturizers that were for sensitive skin and they worked pretty well, but why should I spend $45 on a jar of cream when I can get essentially the same results from a $5 bottle of lotion? It doesn't make sense to me.

The collodial oatmeal lotions are meant to be used for sensitive or irritated skin, so they're perfect for my normal to dry, fussy skin.

By Scrbblchick — On Jul 10, 2014

Dry or normal to dry skin is also usually sensitive skin. I have to be careful about what kinds of products I use because I can get a lot of irritation from a moisturizer if I'm not careful.

As annoying as dry skin can be, I think I still prefer it to the very oily skin I had as a teen. I wasn't too prone to zits, but my skin was still awfully oily. Makeup just slid off my face. It was bad.

Now, my skin absorbs makeup, which is still preferable, since the absorption process takes a good while, so my makeup does last a long time.

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