5 Sneaky Face-Wash Ingredients That Are Drying Out Your Skin

How to keep your face happy and hydrated.

Newsflash! Your skin needs oil to look its best. Luckily, Mother Nature is all over it and provides your skin with its own natural oils to help keep your skin healthy and balanced. But overzealous face washing – and the myth that skin needs to be “matte” and “poreless” – strips the skin of its precious oils and sebum, leaving it dry and irritated. You’ll know this is you if your skin feels tight and makeup looks flaky or patchy or disappears throughout the day.

To have healthy, glowy skin, you do need to wash your face twice a day, but the trick is in avoiding ingredients that strip your skin of moisture, leaving it parched and annoyed.

Watch out for these ingredients that cause drying:


Sulfates – also called sodium laureth sulfate or SLS – is the number one ingredient to avoid in your face wash. Need more convincing? SLS is the same ingredient that makes your dishwashing liquid foam – it’s that strong. Avoid all foamy and soapy face washes and stick to cream, oil or gel formulas.


If you suffer from the odd spot, benzoyl peroxide can be a handy topical treatment – but you don’t want to scrub your face with it twice a day. It will only cause dryness and redness.


Some alcohols in skin care are actually hydrating, but not all are created equal. The ones to avoid in your face wash include “denatured alcohol” or just “alcohol” on the label. Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are fine and act as emollients.


Artificial perfumes and fragrance irritate the skin, especially in already dry climates like ours. You don’t need your face wash to smell nice (you wash it down the sink anyway!) but if you do like a bit of natural scent, rather opt for face wash with essential oils.


Why do you need coloured face wash? Artificial dyes do exactly nothing for your skin, except strip it of its natural oils.

Shop our face wash picks here:

1. Phenome Sustainable Science non-drying cleansing foam

Sustainable Science Non Drying Cleansing Foam

aed 180 Phenome

2. Garnier organic lemongrass detox gel wash

Lemongrass Detox Gel Wash 150ml

aed 28.46 Garnier Organic

3. The Ordinary Squalane cleanser

Squalane Cleanser 50ml

aed 33.67 The Ordinary

4. Philosophy Purity 3-in-1 cleanser for face and eyes

Purity 3-in-1 Cleanser for Face and Eyes 480ml

aed 150 Philosophy

5. Milk Makeup vegan milk moisturizing cleanser

Vegan Milk Moisturizing Cleanser 59ml

aed 66.51 Milk Makeup

Image Courtesy

Park Street on Unsplash