Asian woman applying moisturizer on her cheek in front of a mirror.

Flaky skin is a common issue that can range from tolerable to debilitating on the nuisance scale. Often a symptom of dryness, flakes can form on the top layer of the skin and make it prone to irritation and other issues. It can be a persistent problem that, if ignored, will lead to discomfort and pain. As much as you might be tempted to treat it with the most potent products, it’s best to go with more gentle options. Here are some tips on how to address flareups.

What Causes Dry and Flaky Skin?

A variety of factors can contribute to flaky skin, with environmental conditions playing a significant role. Exposure to harsh weather, particularly and low humidity, can strip the skin of its natural moisture, leading to dehydration and a rough, flaky texture. Excessive heat and , especially without proper protection, can also lead to dryness.

On top of these, lifestyle choices and habits can make your skin dry and flaky. The double Ds– dehydration and diuretics, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption – can contribute to skin dryness by disrupting the body's natural hydration mechanisms. The latter can also put you at risk of such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and eczema.

Harsh skincare and household products containing alcohol, fragrances, or certain chemicals can also strip the skin of oils, leaving it prone to flakiness. 

Dealing With Flaky Skin

Dealing with flaky skin is a three-fold process: soothe, replenish, and protect. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this approach can give your skin what it needs without making matters worse.

Moisturize the skin.

First, you must address the symptoms, such as flaking, scaling, itching, and pain. Your dermatologist will recommend a with urea, , or lactic acid to repair your skin. To prevent further sensitivity, choose one that’s also alcohol- and fragrance-free. If your flaky skin is severe, you may need to use a prescription product.

If you have flaky skin on your face, use Dove Facial Cleansing Mousse Moisture Care. It has 40% Activ-boost Serum, , and ceramides that help soothe and repair the skin while locking moisture in. For extra nourishment, apply POND'S Bright Miracle Day Cream. It keeps the skin hydrated while delivering instant brightness. Warm the product between your palms and press it into the skin gently.

Treat underlying skin conditions.

Persistent dry and flaky skin may be a symptom of underlying conditions like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. If you’ve never been diagnosed, see a doctor before self-medicating. The flakes and scales will only keep returning (with a vengeance, usually) if you ignore the root of the problem.

Address other external factors.

What are the other factors that contribute to dry skin? Perhaps your is lacking moisture. In that case, use a humidifier at night. Are you exposed to AD triggers at work? Wear rubber gloves and carry a moisturizing handwash to remove chemicals from your skin. Are you unable to reach areas that you need to moisturize, such as your shoulder or back? Ask your dermatologist for a spray-on alternative.

Stick to your skincare routine.

Being consistent with your regimen is the key to success. Your products need time to work – yes, even prescription ones. So, practice each step at the right time each day and follow instructions for the best results. You may also want to avoid potential irritants while your skin heals, such as exfoliants, harsh toners, and perfume. P.S. It’s also not the best time to experiment with new products. Save that for later and your skin will thank you.

Dealing with flaky skin requires a light touch, gentle products, and a whole lot of patience. You won’t get anywhere by picking at flakes or trendy hacks. Talk to your doctor about the methods above and trust the process.