Best Products for Washing Your Face If You Have Dry Skin

And the Surprising Product You Should Avoid

Finding the right facial cleanser is not always easy if you have dry skin. The key is to look for a product that offers the right balance of cleansing and moisture retention. Sometimes you need to try a few different skin cleansers before choosing the one that's right for you.

There are several options you can try, including fragrance-free washes, cleansing cloths, and products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin. And the good news is that most people with dry skin don't need high priced or fancy products—drug store cleansers should be perfectly fine.


Skip the Soap

Cropped shot of a woman washing her hands with soap


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Not all cleansers contain soap. If you have dry skin, most regular soaps are probably too harsh for you. They can strip your skin of its natural moisture and oil, leaving it dry. Dry skin can flake, and may also break out in pimples.

Over the long run, drying your skin with unnecessary soap leaves it vulnerable to damage and signs of early aging.


Fragrance Free Washes

Bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This is a water-soluble facial cleanser that is mild enough to be used on dry or eczematous skin, and it doesn't contain any fragrances or preservatives— that can irritate your skin. Cetaphil cleanser is a non-lathering lotion, and it rinses off without a washcloth. It doesn't remove makeup all that well, so you may need a makeup remover if you use waterproof makeup.

Cetaphil is a line of skin care products from Galderma Laboratories in Lausanne, Switzerland, The company was founded in 1981 in a joint venture between Nestlé and L'Oréal.

This cleanser is fragrance-free, non-foaming, and does not contain irritating ingredients. It is a good everyday choice if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Neutrogena is a line of skin care products based in Los Angeles and was one of the first to market a clear cleansing bar soap back in 1954.

This cleanser is a nice choice for dry skin because it is fragrance-free and is made with a mild, water-based detergent. It also contains a small amount of plant oil to help dissolve makeup, as well as a cucumber extract which helps hydrate the skin, according to the manufacturer.

Almay was founded in 1931 as a line of skin care products made specifically for sensitive skin. It is today owned by Revlon and based in New York City.


Cleansing Cloths

Olay Daily Facials Cloths


Many people like cleansing cloths because they feel refreshing. They are also handy if you travel or like the convenience of a face cloth when you are out for a long day.

These cloths can be a good choice for dry skin because they don't contain any drying ingredients and are fragrance-free.

Olay was founded in Durban, South Africa in 1952 and is today based in Los Angeles as part of the Proctor & Gamble family of companies.

These cleansing cloths work as a basic, non-irritating facial cleanser. They don't contain any special ingredients but are mild enough to use on dry and flaky skin.

Founded in 1955, Dove is today owned by Unilever and based in the United Kingdom.


Deep Cleansing

Phisoderm Deep Clean Cream Cleanser


Sometimes you need a deep cleanser for your face—especially if you wear makeup or if your skin is exposed to dust, dirt, or other pollutants.

This cleanser contains a high percentage of mineral oil that helps remove makeup and adds moisture to the skin. It is also fragrance- and detergent-free, making it a good choice for dry or sensitive skin.

Phisoderm was a product developed by Dr. B. Thurber Guild back in the 1950s as a means to cleanse skin for persons who are typically allergic to soap.


Tips for Washing Dry Skin

Cropped shot of a young man washing his face in the bathroom


PeopleImages/Getty Images 

If you have dry skin, warm water may be enough to cleanse your face at night, especially if you don't wear makeup. If you shower in the morning, you might not need to separately cleanse your face at all, because washing in the shower may be enough to remove any excess oil or dirt.

Keep in mind that frequent face washing, even with water, can contribute to dry skin.

Avoid rubbing your skin with harsh washcloths, and try to let your face air dry after washing. A gentle moisturizer, particularly in cold winter weather, can help prevent dryness and flaking.

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