Why is My Skin So Dry And Flaky All of a Sudden?

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If you usually have skin that glows but have recently noticed an itching or flakiness, then something is off balance. Dry skin is the result of your skin’s top layer being damaged in some way.

This is why just applying a harsher lotion or topical steroid cream won’t necessarily make your dry skin go away.

So the question you’re probably asking is why is my skin so dry all of a sudden?

There are a few possible reasons why your dry skin has triggered seemingly out of nowhere. In this article, we’ll dig into those issues, and give you some tips to solve them quickly!


Why is My Skin So Dry And Flaky All of a Sudden?

If your skin is itchy, scaly, rough, flaky, peeling, red, or otherwise irritated without a greasy finish, then you have a problem with dryness.

Other symptoms of dry skin include a feeling of tightness, a grayish, ashy look, and fine lines or cracks that sometimes bleed. It can even manifest as dry dandruff around eyebrows.

Whatever the cause, the main issue is the fact that there is an impairment in the skin itself.

The cause can be a whole range of things. But it tends to be either something external coming into contact with your skin which is stripping sebum and moisture from the skin, or something affecting the way your body works to produce sebum. The skin is not building an effective barrier.

This means the top layer of your skin isn’t functioning as it should, and there are many reasons why this is happening all of a sudden.

The most common reasons can include:

Radical Temperatures

Things like central heating, hot wood stoves, and cold windy climates, which reduce humidity, can dry your skin out.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s indoors or outdoors! If it is too cold, too hot, or too dry, then your environment can affect your dry skin.

A lack of moisture in the air, means a lack of moisture in your skin.

A humidifier will go a long way to helping things out here.

Hot and Bothered

If you take long, hot baths or showers, or you scrub your skin regularly, then this can remove your skin’s natural oils. The combination of heat and water from the faucet can cause your skin to become dehydrated, especially in places where the water is also hard.

Also, most personal care products like soaps, detergents, bubble baths, and some shampoos can strip your skin of its natural oils. These can cause dryness, itchiness, and overall irritated skin.

Chemical Reaction

Swimming regularly in chlorinated pools, or using industrial cleaners at work, or being an aesthetician working with beauty chemicals all day can all cause your skin to be stripped of its natural moisture.

Those chemicals can mess with your skin!

Or it may be something simple like the new moisturizer. foundation powder, or perfume you just bought.

Ingredients like sulfates, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, DEA, monoethanolamine and triethanolamine have the ability to cause skin irritation and dryness in many people.

And unfortunately, many of the personal care and beauty products on the market include these ingredients, which strip your skin of its sebum.

Age Play

As you age, your skin becomes thin and so doesn’t have the capacity to retain as much moisture.

Stress Test

Many of us have been living under stressful conditions over the past couple of years. This can also be a contributing factor for suddenly dry skin.

Stress can come in many forms, such as insomnia and overall body inflammation, which has the potential to also cause your skin to become itchy, flaky, and sore.

Let’s Talk About Skin, Baby

Your skin isn’t just a thin layer of material covering the rest of your body. It is in fact an organ unto itself, consisting of five layers of water, proteins, fats, and minerals that create a sort of matrix of cellular protection.

Skin is the largest and heaviest organ in the body, at about 20 square feet and about 15% of your body weight on average.

At about 2mm thick, it is made up of three layers:

Skin Diagram Source: Wikipedia
Skin Diagram Source: Wikipedia


The layer of skin that you can see. The epidermis is a barrier that repels water and contains melanocytes, which are the special skin cells that help to create your skin color.

Up to 70% of what you put on your skin is absorbed through your epidermis.

Your skin absorbs 70% of what you put on it. This means your body wash, scrubs, lotions, and oils.

So if these personal care products include ingredients like parabens, sulfates, petroleum, and sodium lauryl sulfate, then that means your skin will help to transport up to 70% of these into the layers of your skin, thus damaging the dermal layers.


This layer of skin lies just beneath the epidermis. It is held together by tough connective tissue and it’s where your hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands live amongst the fat tissue that surrounds them.

The sebaceous glands are where your skin produces sebum, the oily substance that lubricates and forms the waterproof top layer of your skin.


Also known as subcutaneous tissue, this layer of skin is comprised of fat and connective tissue that your surface veins use to run through.

Heal Your Dry Skin

Okay, so now that you’ve figured out why you have dry skin, now is the time to do something about it.

Besides putting a stop to what is causing it in the first place, the following are suggestions you can do to begin the healing process so that your skin gets back to tip-top condition.

Skin that has the right level of moisture is extremely important for its overall health. This means that it has to be moisturized daily to help your skin maintain its natural balance.

Moisturizing your skin daily is a necessity whether or not you have oily or dry skin.

  • If your skin is oily, then you should use a light lotion.
  • If your skin is dry, then using a cream will help more because of their oil content.

Moisturizing your facial skin also gives it a healthier and younger looking sheen, which can help to blend any blemishes, especially if you use a moisturizing self tanner, for example.

Moisturizing your skin daily is a necessity whether or not you have oily or dry skin.

And your skin will stay looking younger when you use an anti-aging moisturizer to plump and firm dry skin on your face.

The moisturizer you use should absorb well into your skin. It should not contain any ingredients that have the potential of causing more dryness or other irritation, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and petroleum.

Burt's Bee's Hydration Lotion

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion  is an anti-aging facial moisturizer that contains clary sage extract. Sage extract has the ability to soothe inflammation, balances the production of the skin’s natural oils, and helps retain its moisture.

It also helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

This smooth and light facial moisturizer absorbs easily and is free from toxic chemicals like parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate, which is found in many common skincare products.

It is dermatologically tested and has a 98.9% natural origin formulated to retain moisture for extra hydration.

Renpure's Coconut Body Lotion

Renpure’s Coconut and Vitamin E Body Lotion  is a smooth light cream lotion that absorbs easily into the skin and doesn’t leave a sticky or tacky residue.

It is a plant-based lotion that includes over 80% natural ingredients that will not only help make your skin more beautiful. And it also helps to slow down damage to the environment.

This body lotion is also free from parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, sulfates, and bad vibes.

What it does include are anti-inflammatory vitamin E, nourishing coconut oil and shea butter, antibacterial and antifungal tea tree, moisturizing argan oil, and soothing aloe vera to pamper your delicate dry skin.

What Else?

Other three things you can do to help heal your dry skin include:

1. Keep It Warm

Taking short (no more than 5 minutes) warm or cold showers will limit your water exposure, which is especially important if you live in a hard water area with lots of added chemicals.

The soap, cleanser, and body wash you use should be fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and not contain alcohol. Alcohol definitely causes the skin to dry out.

Make sure that you rinse off all soapy residue and pat dry your skin before applying your moisturizer while your skin is still a bit damp.

If you live in a cold climate, cover your skin when you’re outside in cold or windy weather.

So wearing hats, scarves, gloves, or mittens when you’re outdoors will help to protect your skin when out in the elements.

2. Clean Shave

If you shave your skin, this can cause the epidermis to release its top layer cells. Use a shaving cream or soap to add a lubricating layer between your skin and the blade. The blade needs to be sharp and moved in the direction of your hair growth.

Rinse with warm water after when finished and then pat dry with a towel. Finally, apply your moisturizer while your skin is damp.

3. Drink It Up

If you’ve heard the saying that it all starts from within, know that this also pertains to drinking water. Most of us get dehydrated at some point, especially if you live on coffee and energy drinks (ahem).

Our bodies are made up of 70% water, so keeping your cells and tissues hydrated is an important part of overall health.

The standard recommendation is to drink at least eight glasses of pure water every day. You can also get water by eating fruits with high water content, such as watermelons, grapefruit, cantaloupes, peaches, blackberries, papayas, and strawberries.

And try not to wait until you’re thirsty because by this time your body is already dehydrated.

Try to sip water throughout the day.


Now that you understand why your skin got so dry all of a sudden, you can use the advice given here to make sure your largest organ stays as healthy and moisturized as possible to keep your skin looking fresh and vibrant for longer.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).