You Can Spot Treat Skin Dryness Just Like You Can Breakouts, According to Derms

Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold
We often think about spot treatments in terms of fighting breakouts. But newsflash: There are also spot treatments for dry skin, too. Think about it: It doesn't really make sense to apply a cream all over your face throughout the day if only certain parts of your complexion are parched (especially if you wear makeup and have to reapply that, too).

"Spot treating dry patches can help even out your skin tone, rather than applying lotion to the overall area," says Gretchen Frieling, MD, a Boston-based board-certified dermatopathologist, noting that this is particularly the case for people with combination skin types. "If your forehead is dry, you can apply a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid to just that area." The same applies to your cheeks (or your chin, or whatever is dry). As of late, this is getting easier than ever with the advent of serum sticks, which contain hydrating ingredients that are easy to deliver to skin and don't require your entire complexion to be doused with a product.

Dr. Frieling recommends looking for your MVP skin-hydrating ingredients to spot treat dryness, citing hyaluronic acid, ceramides, shea butter, and vitamin C as prime examples. "Skin replenishing ingredients like hyaluronic and glycolic acid help enrich the outer layer of the skin giving it a heavy dose of hydration," she says. "Hyaluronic acid is especially beneficial for immediate hydration, as it grabs onto water and holds it within your complexion." Ceramides, she adds, also help lock water into your skin. And antioxidants like vitamins C and E are also helpful as they "shield the skin's surface from further sun damage, which causes dry skin in the first place," she says. Keep scrolling for your spot treatments for dry skin.

Milk Makeup Cooling Water, $26

Replace moisture in your skin and cool yourself off with this portable cooling stick, which is packed with aloe leaf juice and sea water plus caffeine for instant de-puffing.

Photo: Milk Makeup


Julep You Got This Pressed Serum & Moisturizer, $16

Dr. Frieling loves this product for spot treating dryness since it's a "no-mess, no-fuss product that lasts for hours." It's got ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and camellia seed oil to give some love back to your skin's natural moisture barrier.

Photo: Julep

Tatcha The Serum Stick: Treatment & Touch Up Balm, $48

Tatcha just introduced this multi-purpose serum stick which is spiked with all of the best moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, squalane oil, algae, and lemon balm. Swipe it anytime, anywhere for a hydrating refresh.

Photo: Tatcha

Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Balm, $38

This skin-care line from Miranda Kerr includes a bring-everywhere balm you can spot treat dryness with. With one swipe, you'll give your skin coconut and rosehip oil, calendula extract, and antioxidants from noni fruit.

Photo: Kora Organics

For more intel on how to deal with skin that can't quite decide what it is, check out dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD's tips for how to treat combination skin:

For hydration at night, slather on one of these dry skin moisturizers. And this is why cholesterol in skin care can actually help with moisture, too. 

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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