Get Rid of Flaky Skin for Good

For the holidays, we're revisiting some of our favorite festive articles from the Beautylish archive. Enjoy!
From the Archive

During winter, you want to feel snowflakes, not skin flakes! Unfortunately, chilly weather dries the outer layers of your skin, making your complexion feel tight, scaly, and uncomfortable. So how do you finally rid yourself of seasonal scaling and peeling? We spoke with Hollywood's most popular facialist, Kate Somerville, and got the scoop on how to get rid of the flakes for good.

Why is my skin flaky?

Scaly skin is a problem for almost everyone. Whether your skin is oily, dry, dull, or a combination of them all, you still feel the cold weather’s effects on your skin. But why does this flaky phenomenon occur on those with oilier skin? "I like to think about the face in ecosystems," explains Kate. "For example, the small Hawaiian island of Maui has several distinct climates, yet it's still unified as an overall area. The face can be just as varied." And while a lucky few of us have temperate facial "climate conditions," most of us don't. "You first have to learn where you typically get dry skin and address those areas with more scrutiny in winter," says Kate.

Where does my skin flake most?

While it's most common to flake around the cheeks, near the brows, and on the nose, it's possible for dry skin to peel anywhere. "It's not uncommon to have flaky eyelids," says Kate. "Eyelid skin is much thinner than the skin in other areas, has very little protective fat, and is more vascular, which makes the tissue more prone to allergies and irritants. Don't forget to address this area as well."

How do I slough off the flakes?


Even if you slather yourself in creams and lotions, the flakes won't come off unless you take them off. You can slough off dry skin with either physical exfoliators, which use crushed pits or seeds or tiny beads to eliminate dead skin, or chemical exfoliators, which contain enzymes that chemically remove the dry outer layers of the skin. Kate warns against physical exfoliators with an overly rough texture because they can damage your skin. "Use physical scrubbers formulated with smooth beads, and look for chemical exfoliators with fruit enzymes such as pineapple or papaya," advises Kate.

We recommend: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate


While intense steam can be bad for pores in the sauna, a little heated mist from your shower helps put the moisture back into your skin. After you exfoliate, let your skin indulge in warm steam from your shower or bath. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel afterward.


After you've exfoliated and done a light steam, it's time to lock moisture in and kick flakes out! "I love using creams with hyaluronic acid in them," says Kate. "Its most common form is sodium hyaluronate, which hydrates and plumps the skin fantastically." Hyaluronic acid actually attracts moisture to the skin by binding up to 1,000 times its weight in water!

We recommend: Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Moisture Binding Cream

This article was originally published on November 14, 2011

Kate Somerville is a widely respected paramedical esthetician with more than 18 years’ experience in clinical skin care. She is the CEO and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Care and has a flourishing medi-skin clinic in Los Angeles. People magazine called Kate the “A-list Beauty Guru,” while Allure named her “Hollywood’s Hottest Facialist.” She has appeared on television shows including Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, and Access Hollywood.

Featured Products