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Flakiness

Flaky skin is most commonly skin that’s too dry, although it can occasionally be a sign of another skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis. Most cases of flakiness come from skin that lacks moisture. Dry, flaky skin is especially common in the winter months when the air is dry and people spend more time indoors where their skin is exposed to dry heat.

What Causes It?

Dry, flaky skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the outermost layer of the skin called the epidermis. The epidermis consists of clusters of skin cells that are held together by lipids. These lipids help to prevent loss of water from the surface of the skin. Some people don’t have enough of these lipids or the lipid layer is damaged, which makes it difficult for their skin to hold on to moisture. When this is the case, skin cells in the epidermis aren’t shed in an orderly manner. Instead, they build up and cause skin to look flaky and feel rough to the touch.

Some people are genetically prone towards dry skin. For others, the lipid layer that protects the skin from moisture loss becomes damaged when they use harsh soaps and cleansing products. Damage can also come from bathing frequently in hot water or exposing skin to dry conditions and temperature extremes. Some medical conditions, medications and dietary deficiencies, especially a low-fat diet, can contribute to dry skin. Skin needs essential fatty acids to make lipids that protect the skin against moisture loss.

Treatment

To reduce flakiness, it’s important to treat the underlying problem - dry skin. People who live in a dry home will benefit from getting a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Other simple ways to reduce moisture loss is to avoid using soaps and harsh cleansers that damage the delicate layer that protects skin from dryness. Choose a product that gently cleanses and removes surface dirt and debris without stripping skin of its natural protective oils. Look for added ingredients that gently loosen and exfoliate dead skin cells that cause skin to look rough and flaky.

After cleansing, apply a gentle moisturizer formulated for dry skin. Many products contain natural botanicals that help to soothe dry skin and restore moisture balance. Many also contain antioxidants that protect skin against damage. Always apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays for added protection against the sun’s damaging rays. Sun exposure can worsen dryness and flakiness. Select a nourishing sunscreen with antioxidant vitamins that’s specifically formulated to meet the needs of very dry, flaky skin.

Gentle exfoliation instantly removes dead skin cells that cause skin to look flaky. Some people use exfoliating pads, but these can be too rough for some skin types. A gentler alternative is skin polishers which contain very fine particles of jojoba to lift away dead skin cells that cause flaking and reveal the healthier skin underneath. Look for ingredients like allantoin to reduce skin irritation and redness. Exfoliate once or twice a week in addition to your regular cleansing and moisturizing program to help skin look smoother and less flaky.

The Bottom Line?

Most skin flakiness comes from the build-up of dead skin cells in the outer layer of the skin. This happens when the protective lipid layer is damaged and skin loses too much moisture. Fortunately, this problem can be corrected by using a gentle cleanser made for dry skin and applying a moisturizer formulated for the special needs of dry, dehydrated skin. Using a skin polisher like SkinMedica Skin Polisher once or twice a week also helps to keep flakiness in check.

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Flakiness Products

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Provides an instant burst of radiance and keeps you looking and feeling fresh throughout the day.
$64.00 $67.00 value
CPPK03
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Soothes, refreshes and moisturizes the skin at any time of the day.
$34.00 $36.00 value
13.4 oz | CPPK02
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This lightweight hydrator leaves skin feeling fresh and dewy.
$60.00 $64.00 value
1.69oz | RC079
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A hydrating mist that refreshes the skin and senses.
$35.00
3.3oz | JQ008
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This hydrating skin protectant defends skin against environmental damage and free radicals.
$35.00
1.18oz | RC013
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Intensely hydrates and soothes all skin types, even the most dehydrated.
$49.00
1oz | CP105
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A natural, soap-free cleanser that removes makeup and impurities.
$28.00
5oz | CP133
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Gel-cream formula that instantly soothes, hydrates and fortifies.
$39.00
1.3oz | CP107
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$65.00
1.69oz | DC246
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Replenishment for dehydrated or depleted skin.
$42.00
1.17oz | RC029
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A soap-free cleanser that removes makeup effortlessly.
$28.00
6.7oz | CP134
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This eye balm is formulated as your nighttime emollient with hard-core hydrating botanicals and nutritives.
NOW $26.56 REG $37.95
0.5 oz | KI009
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A rich, nurturing moisturizer that repairs dry skin.
$98.00 $122.00 value
4.3oz | JQ022
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Soothes, refreshes and moisturizes the skin at any time of the day.
$18.00
6.7 oz | CP113
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Unique texture absorbs easily to restore dehydrated skin.
$47.00
1.7oz | JQ186
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An eye treatment that helps to correct and prevent dehydration.
$38.00
0.3oz | RC031
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An overnight antioxidant boost for skin.
$53.00
1.7oz | JQ135
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Revitalize, moisturize and soften your skin with this natural toner.
$28.00
6.7oz | CP136
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Ultra protection for very dry, dehydrated skin.
$39.00
1.3oz | CP109
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Relieves tightness, reduces redness and regenerates the skin's softness and radiance.
$39.00
2.5 oz | CP174
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An ultra-hydrating, anti-aging moisturizer for dry skin that helps protect from environmental damage.
$52.00
1.17oz | RC094
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Replenish dehydrated and depleted skin with this daily cleansing bar.
$42.00
4oz | RC002
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A comforting and creamy cleanser that removes make-up and leaves skin feeling supple and smooth.
$38.00
3.5oz | YK003
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A non-greasy oil that helps to moisturize and balance skin.
$50.00
1.6 oz | JQ098
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A lightly whipped, high performance cleanser that helps to moisturize the skin.
$24.00
3.3oz | JQ160
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This moisturizer hydrates and soothes skin continuously for 24 hours.
$39.00
1.5oz | NX116
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A restoring and replenishing treatment to counteract dryness.
$66.00
4.1 oz | JQ024
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A milky cleanser that effectively removes makeup and impurities.
$28.00
6.7oz | CP135
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This masque provides immediate and long-term hydration to leave the skin softer and smoother.
$59.00
1.7oz | YK080
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A lightweight cream that provides 24 hour hydration to oilier skin types.
$65.00
1.69oz | DC247
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This light-as-air daily moisturizing cream helps provide hyper-protection and healing relief for super-sensitive skin.
$55.00
1.7oz | SI018
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This cleanser has softening and soothing properties that leave the skin radiant and hydrated.
$27.00
6.76oz | DC242
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This toner helps to reduce dryness as it repairs the skin.
$27.00
6.76 oz | DC241
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A light, hydrating toner with the classic Jurlique rose scent.
$24.00
1.7 oz | JQ162
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Help address signs of dehydration and protect the skin’s barrier.
$50.00
1oz | JQ185
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This luxurious moisturizer is designed to brighten, firm and provide unparalleled hydration.
$45.00
1.7oz | OL082
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Restore tone and texture to optimal levels.
$65.00
1.98 oz | SI004
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Dry oil moisturizes, nourishes and enhances the skin.
$49.00
3.4 oz | CP117
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The rejuvenating effects of Bulgarian Rose Water strengthen and tone the delicate tissues of the skin.
$65.00
6.7oz | TX005
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This rose infused cleansing balm calms, soothes and purifies.
$48.00
5 oz | PQ001
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Balance skin's natural moisture for a fresh complexion.
$22.00
6.75oz | JB060
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A nourishing oil concentrate that restores elasticity and fights signs of aging.
$32.95
0.5oz | KI004
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Replenish moisture, protect against environmental damage and see instant luminosity.
$42.00
1.35 oz | JQ177
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Hydrate, protect and maintain your skin's natural moisture balance.
$29.00
2oz | JB105
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This multi-purpose gel moisturizes, strengthens and energizes skin.
$32.00
1.6 oz | NX103
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A rich hydrating cream that leaves dry skin fresh, supple and moisturized.
$39.00
1.5oz | NX118
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A spa-inspired gel mask that enhances cell turnover and hydrates skin.
$48.00
3.3oz | JQ159
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Non-oily and quickly absorbed, this anti-aging moisturizer leaves skin with a glowing, matte complexion.
$73.00
1.69oz | YK109
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