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Does Dry Skin Cause Wrinkles? Debunking Skincare Myths

The belief that dry skin is the root cause of wrinkles is a common misconception—so you can let out a sigh of relief. While it’s true that dryness is often observed in aging skin, it doesn’t directly lead to the formation of wrinkles. However, there is an interesting connection between dry skin and wrinkles that’s worth digging.

The connection between dry skin and wrinkles

Here are the key points:

  • Dry skin doesn’t cause new wrinkles, but it can make existing ones appear more pronounced due to the lack of water content in the cells. When the skin cells lack sufficient moisture, the surface of the skin’s outermost layer becomes rough, which can accentuate the appearance of existing lines and creases.
  • Dry skin is less elastic and less able to bounce back from the expressions we make, which can make frown lines and smile lines more prominent at a younger age.
  • Dehydrated skin causes textural irregularities that can accentuate the appearance of wrinkles by reflecting light differently. 
  • Having dry skin doesn’t naturally lead to more wrinkles. Your skin can be genetically dry and still look radiant and firm if you maintain it moisturized, which can be done with a well-rounded skincare routine and healthy lifestyle.
  • Sebum is a key player in the equation. It’s an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands that acts as a natural moisturizer. People with lower sebum production often have drier skin and might experience wrinkles earlier than someone with oily skin, which naturally has more sebum.
  • Wrinkles do not result from dry skin, but dry skin is a characteristic of aging skin because sebum production decreases with age.

How to fight wrinkles if you have dry skin

  • Moisturize regularly. Use a moisturizer that is formulated for dry skin. Ideally, it should contain both occlusives (to reduce moisture loss) and humectants (to draw water into the skin). Apply moisturizer once in the morning and once at night.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. Sun exposure is the leading cause of premature aging, causing about 80% of facial wrinkles. Sunscreen protects against UV damage.
  • Avoid products containing dying ingredients. Alcohol, fragrances, SLSs, and salicylic acid can dry out your skin.
  • Add antioxidant-rich products to your daily routine. Antioxidants fight free radicals, the main culprits that age the skin.
  • Exfoliate regularly. Exfoliants like glycolic and lactic acids remove dead skin cells and reveal brighter, smoother skin underneath. 
  • Strengthen your skin barrier. If you have severely dry skin, there could be a chance your skin barrier is compromised. This barrier is what holds moisture into the skin. Barrier-strengthening products usually contain ceramidescholesterol, and fatty acids. We recommend using a night cream containing these ingredients regularly to maintain a strong and healthy skin barrier.
  • Drink more water and reduce caffeine/alcohol.
  • Consider a Mediterranean diet. Plant-based whole foods and Mediterranean diets are really beneficial for dry skin. Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, and moderate fish and meat consumption. These foods have high water and fatty acids content, and eating them can hydrate the skin from the inside out and reduce dryness.
Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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