Man with dry skin scratching his arm

Transform Dry, Flaky Skin to Smooth, Soft and Happily Hydrated

Posted by Sandra Scott on

Dry, flaky skin is never a good look for a man!

And it’s even worse in winter. Every skin type can develop dry patches when the temperature outside drops.

But don’t worry, relief is at hand.

Here’s what to do to keep your skin looking smooth, soft and happily hydrated all year round.


Man with dry skin scratching his arm

It’s hard to exaggerate how uncomfortable dry skin can make a man feel


Redness, flaking, itching - guys with dry skin have a lot to deal with.

And whether you go clean-shaven or opt for a beard, dry skin makes you more prone to razor burn, irritation, ingrown hairs and beard dandruff.

But there are solutions!

Keep scrolling for a simple step-by-step skincare routine to smooth and hydrate your dry skin - along with some lifestyle changes that will make a big difference.

But first you need to know the potential causes of dry skin, so that you can address them.


Why is my skin so dry? 

Dryness can occur anywhere on your body but since your face gets the most exposure to the elements - and to your razor – it’s the place most likely to show the unpleasant signs of redness, itching and dry, flaky skin.

And these are the main reasons why your skin reacts the way it does.

  • The weather - Skin tends to be dry in winter when temperatures and humidity levels drop.
    Whereas hot weather makes you sweat, leaving your skin dehydrated and irritated.
  • Indoor heating – any situation where humidity is reduced is going to make your skin feel dry.
  • Long, hot showers – Hot water can strip your skin of essential oils leaving it dry, flaky, and prone to irritation.
  • Harsh soaps and shampoos – These can also strip away the fatty lipids which keep your skin soft and hydrated and provide a protective barrier.

And in some cases

  • An underlying skin condition:
    • Eczema – dry, inflamed, itchy skin 
    • Rosacea – red skin, with swelling and noticeable blood vessels 
    • Psoriasis – rashes with patches of scaly, dry skin 

If you notice any of these symptoms it’s best to seek advice from a dermatologist. They can diagnose and treat the condition effectively. Or reassure you and look for potential allergens which are causing the dryness so that you can avoid them.


The best skincare ingredients to treat dry skin

The key to smoothing dry skin is being really choosy about the skincare ingredients that you use. You want ingredients that will deeply hydrate your skin, but without provoking any irritation.

These are the best ones to look out for:

  • Glycerin
  • Alpha-hydroxy Acids – mild exfoliating agents
  • Shea Butter
  • Aloe Vera
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • D-Panthenol
  • Jojoba Oil

Handsome black man washing his face with hydrating face wash, at white sink with chrome taps

Use a gently, exfoliating face wash to keep your skin clean and smooth - without causing dryness


ACTION PLAN: How to treat dry, flaky skin 

The following steps will go a long way to calming and soothing your dry skin.

  • Cut your time in the shower
  • Clean without over drying
  • Exfoliate away dead flaky skin
  • Invest in a nourishing shave cream
  • Get the best moisturiser for dry skin
  • Adopt a nutrient rich diet

Let’s break that down…



Long, hot showers strip away your skin’s essential oils making most skin types dry and flaky.

So always use lukewarm water in your shower – never hot.  Lukewarm water is a much gentler choice and won’t contribute to unnecessary irritation.




It’s really important to keep your face clean. 

But don’t even think about using a bar of soap to wash your face! Because it’s going to dry out your skin and have the opposite effect of what we’re trying to do here. You can see why here: “Face wash vs soap: which is better?

Instead use a gentle face wash. One that will clean your face but without causing dryness.

If your face feels tight after washing with a particular face wash, then stop! This is not a good sign. Your face should not feel like this.

What’s the best face wash for dry skin? 

You need a non-drying face wash made with gentle ingredients that won’t irritate your face. Look for natural soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera and Allantoin which will work to calm your skin.

And Glycerin too. This is an excellent ingredient for keeping your skin hydrated and making sure that it is not stripped of essential moisture.

All of these can be found in our Daily Face Wash. It’s mild enough to be used twice a day (even with very dry skin) and keeps your face looking clean, smooth and healthy.


Best Face Wash for Men with Dry Skin 



How often should I wash my dry skin? 

You need to wash your face twice a day.

Once in the AM – to clear away the build-up of dead skin cells and bacteria that have accumulated throughout the night. 

And again in the PM – to remove the dirt that we all come into contact with during the day, as well as any oil and dead skin cells that have collected on your skin.

And if you work out a lot, it’s important to wash your face after a sweaty sports session too.

AFTER SPORT – to clean away the sweat that can sit on your skin and act as a breeding ground for bacteria.

The salts from sweat can be drying and irritating so you need to clear them away as soon as possible before your complexion suffers.

We’ve got more on that here: “8 skincare tips for clear, healthy post-workout skin”.


What's the best way to clean dry skin? 

The most important thing is not to be too aggressive on your face!

Just take your time. I know this can be difficult when you’re rushing around in the morning trying to get things done but be careful not to rub your face too hard.

  • Use lukewarm water. Comfortably lukewarm water will open up your pores while also soothing your skin and make for an effective clean.
  • Pat your skin dry gently – no rubbing.
  • Keep a separate small towel just for your face. Don’t use the one that you use for your whole body. And don’t let anyone else use it – only you. Women know to always do this, but you guys are not taught this and it’s really important.
    Wash the towel at least once a week – and use a gentle, non-biological laundry detergent.

For step-by-step instructions on how to properly wash your face see – "CLEAN: The Best Way to Keep Your Skin Looking Fresh and Healthy".


Otis Daily Face Wash lit by shaft of bright sunlightDaily Face Wash gently cleans and exfoliates in one step – without any dryness



Exfoliating away dead skin cells is one of the best things you can do for dry skin.

It instantly makes your face feel smooth and soft – and leaves your skin looking brighter.

It also allows for better absorption of your moisturizer, keeping your skin well hydrated.

But the key word is ‘gently’…

Avoid using a facial scrub on your face! They’re much too harsh for facial skin, damaging the surface and causing your skin to become even more dry and irritated.

A gentle ‘chemical’ exfoliant, and a policy of ‘little and often’ is a much kinder way to go for every skin type (but especially dry skin).

Ideally you need a good quality, non-drying face wash that includes a mild Alpha-Hydroxy Acid (an AHA).

These natural chemical exfoliants tend to gently exfoliate in a much more uniform way. And AHAs act as antioxidants, which stimulate your skin’s natural repair mechanisms and collagen production, helping to keep your protective lipid barrier strong and your skin smooth.

The best solution: Gently exfoliating everyday with our Daily Face Wash is the best option for dry skin.

It contains a very mild (but effective) Alpha-Hydroxy Acid, Lactic Acid, along with hydrating Glycerin and soothing Aloe Vera. These hydrating ingredients stop your face from looking red or feeling tight and dry.

OTIS Daily Face Wash does double duty - cleaning and exfoliating in one simple step – with no dryness or irritation.

 For more on exfoliation check out: "A Man's Guide to Exfoliation: FAQ's"



Shaving can be tough on all skin types. But if your skin has a tendency to feel dry already then shaving can make it feel even worse!

It can show up as redness, razor burn and painful bumps (especially on your neck) so extra care is needed.

How do I shave dry skin? 
  • Prep well – the easiest way to shave is when your skin is warm, moist and relaxed. So try to shave after your shower, or apply a warm, wrung-out face cloth to your face to relax the skin beforehand.
  • Always shave WITH the grain. Shaving against the grain might feel like you get a closer shave, but it comes at a cost – causing the hair follicles to be distorted and the hairs to grow back into the skin so that a painful bump forms – an Ingrown hair.
  • Use smooth, easy strokes, applying minimal pressure.
  • Pat dry with a towel afterwards, no rubbing.

The right shaving products can make all the difference.

And a nourishing shave cream is essential for guys with dry skin. It creates a rich, protective barrier between your skin and the blade, while helping maintain your skin’s hydration level too.


Best Shaving Cream for Men with Dry Skin



Our Protective Shave Cream is based on moisturizing Glycerin and enriched with Shea Butter to nourish and protect your skin, along with Apricot Stone Oil to soften your beard for easier shaving.

We’ve also added Aloe Vera to soothe dry skin and purifying Tea Tree Oil to help reduce any redness and irritation.

We’ve got more on the best way to shave with dry, sensitive skin here: "How to Prevent Razor Burn, even if you have Sensitive Skin".



It sounds obvious, but the key to reducing dryness is to keep your skin well-hydrated.

So definitely use a moisturizer every morning and evening.

It will immediately make your skin feel smooth and soft. But it also helps to create a strong and healthy skin barrier, which will ward off both dryness and sensitivity in the future.

How to moisturize dry skin 

Choose a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs easily so that you don’t have to use pressure to rub it in.

One of the best ingredients to look for is Hyaluronic Acid (the gold standard of moisturizing agents). It gives your skin deep, long-term hydration.

As well as making your skin feel smooth and soft, Hyaluronic Acid reduces fine lines and wrinkles, restores elasticity and improves your skin texture. 

And it's easily tolerated by all skin types.


Which face cream is best for dry skin? 

Because dry skin is more prone to signs of premature aging, you need to choose a moisturizer that hydrates your skin and includes excellent anti-aging ingredients too. 

The best solution: Our Hydrating Daily Moisturizer.
Along with Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin to hydrate, we’ve included Vitamin EJojoba Oil and D-Panthenol to smooth and firm your skin.

It also contains a peptide called Matrixyl.

This peptide stimulates collagen production, improves skin elasticity and smooths fine lines. It basically has the same effect as retinol, but without the redness and skin sensitivity that retinol can cause (this is especially important for skin that is already dry).


Best Hydrating Moisturizer for Men with Dry Skin 



And application is really easy.

It sinks into your skin without you having to rub too hard or pull on your skin - and leaves your face feeling smooth and soft.

Hydrating Daily Moisturizer locks in moisture and is clinically proven to dramatically increase skin hydration levels for over 8 hours after application.

So it keeps your skin well-hydrated all day long.



The quality of the food you put into your body shows up in how healthy your skin looks.

So try to eat plenty of fresh foods full of vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fibre and antioxidants. These are the building blocks of healthy, hydrated skin.

And prioritize foods that contain magnesium, as this plays an important part in keeping your skin hydrated.

Rich sources of magnesium include:

  • Nuts, seeds and whole grains
  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds

We’ve got more on skin-healthy food choices here -


Dark chocolate helps to hydrate your skinDark chocolate (a rich source of magnesium) helps keep your skin hydrated


Lifestyle changes that help hydrate dry skin 

As well as adopting a hydrating skincare routine, there are some lifestyle changes which make a huge difference to the comfort and condition of your skin.

Hydrate with water – Drinking plenty of water all day will make sure that your skin is well-hydrated.

Reduce stress – Stress hormones are known to cause inflammation in your skin. This can be a vicious cycle of course, because the more dry and itchy your skin is, the more stressed you become…. So whether it’s meditating, reading or just going outside for a quick walk, try to find a method of introducing calm into your life.

And if you’re starting to feel that your dry skin is making it hard to keep stress under control, then please ask for help. You shouldn’t have to feel like this and talking to a mental health professional can give you a lot of support.

Also try to keep to a healthy sleep schedule.

Watch out for harsh laundry detergents – clothes, towels and bed linen that have been washed in harsh washing liquids can all lead to your skin feeling dry and itchy. Stick to a gentle, hypo-allergenic laundry detergent, especially on items that come into close contact with your skin. 

Use a gentle shampoo – your shampoo can also aggravate skin dryness, and not just on your scalp. Any residue that goes onto your face and body when you’re showering can cause your skin to react. So look for gentle shampoos with a low PH value.



Why is my skin drier in winter? 

The combination of cold, dry air outside, and over-heated air inside, can leave your skin feeling drier than normal.

As the temperature drops outside, the air is less able to hold moisture and so it becomes drier. This prompts it to draw moisture from your skin, leading to that dry, tight feeling.

On top of that indoor heating, wood-burning stoves, and cosy fireplaces all reduce the humidity indoors and dry your skin out even further.


How can I keep my skin looking smooth in winter? 

You need to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air to stop your skin becoming dry and chapped during winter.

The best way is to use hydrating skincare.

Wash your face with a non-drying face wash (ideally one that includes Glycerin). And moisturize your skin a lot!

Again, Glycerin is a great ingredient, but also look for a moisturizer which includes Hyaluronic Acid. This will deeply hydrate your skin but won’t make it feel greasy at all.


Why should I avoid soap if my skin is dry? 

The cleansing agents in soap are too harsh for dry skin.

A typical bar of soap will strip your skin of natural oils and disrupt the delicate pH balance, damaging your skin’s protective barrier. This can cause more dryness and irritation.

And when your skin is overly dry and flaky, it leads to premature fine lines and wrinkles forming.

Even the mildest soap is going to be too harsh and drying for your face.

Whereas a good face wash will work with your skin, without stripping away essential oils and drying it out.


Are Otis Skincare products suitable for dry and sensitive skin types? 

All our products are dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic and non-irritating.
They have undergone and passed the rigorous European Cosmetic Regulations.
Plus they’re all cruelty free.


Otis Skincare for men - three products


The Takeaway 

Dry, flaky skin can affect all skin types at some time, but you can develop a smart approach to dealing with it.

Adopt a hydrating skincare routine to lessen the chances of dryness occurring and reducing the effects if it does.

  • Cut shower time and use lukewarm water
  • Clean without over drying
  • Exfoliate away dead flaky skin
  • Invest in a nourishing shave cream
  • Get the best moisturiser for dry skin
  • Adopt a nutrient rich diet

And introduce these lifestyle changes to continually improve the comfort and condition of your skin.

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid using harsh laundry detergents
  • Use a gentle shampoo

Dry, flaky skin doesn’t have to ruin your life. By following a hydrating skincare routine you can prevent irritation and always look your best.


All you need to stay looking handsome. 





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