Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!

featured image skin feels tight

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Have you ever felt that your skin feels tight sometimes after a shower, cleansing or moisturization? Don’t worry, I know why!

Your skin is the mirror of what goes inside your body. Therefore, it is one of the best alarms to know if you are healthy or not. When your face starts to fill up with acne, redness, pigmentation, scars, or dryness, for that matter, it’s a clear sign that you need to do something.

One such concern is tight-feeling skin. The skin feels stretched, stressed, dry, and uncomfortable. Have you felt that? Of course, that’s why you are here – to know why your skin feels tight and how to get rid of that. So let’s get into it!

Why your skin feels tight?

why my skin feels tight

Tight feeling skin is definitely a sign of unhealthy, damaged skin that may not be able to protect you from the outside environment.

But before finding out the real reasons why your skin feels tight, first, know how your skin works and what you need to care for.

Skin is a beautiful organ that is made up of different layers. And the top two layers of the skin are oil-based, regardless of whether you have an oily or combination skin type. This means all the moisture gets locked into the skin from the environment. So the right combination of this naturally protective oil, also called sebum, makes your skin look plump, healthy, and glowing.

And when your skin gets stripped off of this natural oil by either using pathetic skincare products that dry out your skin or by lousy skincare habits, it causes your face to feel tight and dehydrated.

Even though the skincare products you use can be the major factor for your skin condition, your habits and how you treat your skin can also say a lot about why your skin is cracking up.

Which Skincare Products Cause Face to Feel Tight?

The very first step in your skincare routine has to be cleansing, am I right, or am I obviously right? Lol. And most of the cleansers we have in the market, omg, they are literally bad, not kidding. They are filled with sulfates and alcohols that can easily strip off even the good protective natural oils of the skin, causing an imbalance in the skin’s optimum levels.

Just turn your bottle of cleanser, and you’ll find an ingredient named Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate, commonly known as SLS or SLES. This basically is a substance that helps your cleansers to create foam when you rub it onto the skin.

Many people think that if a cleanser foams, this means your skin is getting a nice cleanse. Wrong!

Even though SLSs make your skin squeaky clean, it is also something used in dish soaps. Your cleansers are concentrated with 1% SLS, dish soaps with 3%, and shampoos with 10-25%. You yourself can figure out how dangerous these beauty products are.

Now, there are some excellent sulfates in the market that do not rip out your skin and are gentle, but it is always better to avoid sulfates. Just scroll through Sephora or Ulta using the SLS-free filter the next time you shop and see what products won’t cause your skin to feel tight.

Harsh exfoliators are another skincare product that can cause excessive dryness in your skin. We’ll talk about these later in the post.

how to get rid of tight feeling skin

Now there are some main causes for tight skin on the face and solutions.

1. Go completely sulfate free

I have already told you how dangerously harmful sulfates are to your skin and can make it dry, dull, and dehydrated. If you have an extreme level case of this dryness and skin feeling tight, you should first go sulfate-free with your skincare and haircare products.

2. Ditch your foaming cleansers

why my skin feels tight

These two points are interrelated as sulfates are one of the main ingredients used to create foam in foaming cleansers. So they are naturally very drying.

If you are an oily acne-prone skin type and using a foaming cleanser to help strip excess oil off the skin, you should first try and switch to gel-type, non-comedogenic anti-acne cleansers that will do the work gently.

But if you love your cleanser so much that you can’t change it, you HAVE TO moisturize the face with an excellent thick moisturizer to stay away from dryness.

Here are some of the best sulfate-free cleansers for dry skin that won’t worsen it.

Drugstore sulfate-free cleansers

Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!


Hydrating Facial Cleanser

An exceptional product for dry skin types, it’s packed with hydrating hyaluronic acid and three essential ceramides to help restore your skin’s protective barrier and hydrate it for 24 straight hours.

Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!

la roche-posay

Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

It not only removes excess oil and impurities without irritating, but its milky-cream texture also ensures no pore-clogging residue is left behind, making it the perfect sulfate-free cleanser for a fresh and comfortable feel.

3. Switch to double cleansing

An even better way to deal with dry skin is to make double cleansing a part of your routine. Double cleansing is an age-old technique that involves using an oil/cleansing oil to remove the makeup and dirt, following up with a water-based cleanser to clean the face thoroughly.

This is better because it doesn’t involve any harsh exfoliants like AHAs/BHAs or sulfates in the skincare routine and gets the work done.

Some gentle and dry skin-friendly cleansing balms and oils are these.

Shop The products:

Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!

banila co

Clean It Zero 3-in-1 Cleansing Balm

Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!

burt’s bee

Facial Cleansing Oil

Why Your Skin Feels Tight? 8 Solid Reasons and Solutions!

e.l.f. Cosmetics

Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Balm

4. Do not overwash your face

One of the easiest skincare habits that can cause excessively dry and tight skin is overwashing your face, i.e., washing it more than required. Now how do you know how often you should cleanse your face? The simple answer is twice or a maximum of thrice!

Once in the morning and once in the night is more than enough for any human being but say you go to the gym or need to put on makeup for some occasion in the middle of the day, or you can clean for any other reason one more time. But never ever, never forget to moisturize your face every time after cleansing.

5. Avoid harsh exfoliation

why my skin feels tight

Exfoliation can be done in two ways, chemically with ingredients like AHAs and BHAs, and physically with textured bits and coarse particles in beauty products. Let’s talk about each way individually now.

I’m a fan of chemical exfoliation and love it for acne, acne scars, skin congestion, hyperpigmentation, and anti-aging. But excess of everything is bad. And if you are using these and feeling tight skin on the face, I’ll suggest ditching all the products with these ingredients for a week or so and see if this helps with your issue. Also, don’t forget moisturizers, babe!

Now you might have heard that you should physically exfoliate twice a week. It has been a general rule of thumb for ages. But in my opinion, physical exfoliation does more harm than good to your skin.

As good as abrasive scrubs are at removing skin cells from the skin, they may irritate sensitive skin and cause micro-tears when used harshly and for a longer time. Which you definitely want to avoid because that will further make your skin tight and feel dry.

So, use these scrubs just once every week or every other week, and keep the word gentle in mind all the time while doing it.

All in all, exfoliation is good until and unless you are doing it in excess or harshly.

Also, try using a microfiber cloth for makeup removal to be gentle on the skin. These are my top two picks, and they are so cheap that you won’t even believe them after seeing the quality. The first one is this with over 1,500 positive reviews, and the second one is this with over 2,300 glowing customers on Amazon.

6. Hot water is a strict NO for face washing

I know some of you would love to wash your face with hot water, especially in winter, right? But please stop doing that for the sake of your skin. Using hot water damages the keratin cells on the outermost layer of our skin, i.e., the epidermis, which disrupts these cells and prevents them from retaining moisture, resulting in tight, dry skin.

Instead, use lukewarm water that will not quickly strip all the healthy natural oils from your skin.

7. Avoid hot and long showers

why my skin feels tight

Oh, I love a hot shower and wish I could stay in longer, but the fact that long hot showers can actually make my skin (face & body) dehydrated is what pulls me out quicker because of the same reason stated above.

8. using Hyaluronic acid serum incorrectly

We all know that a good thick moisturizer is key to dry skin, and hyaluronic acid is better for tackling tight skin feeling. But do you know you can use this serum in the wrong way as well?

Generally, we use hyaluronic acid serum by applying it on cleansed skin and letting it absorb in, right?

But a few critical steps that you have to keep in mind for proper hydration are applying the serum on damp skin and, second, using a moisturizer on top of it to lock in the hydration within the skin.

Here’s a complete post on how to use hyaluronic acid serum correctly. This secret will give you dewy plump skin every single time instead of causing tight skin.

Is tight feeling skin good or bad?

Tight feeling skin is obviously bad because it’s a sign of unhealthy, damaged skin cells. And healthy skin should feel clean and comfortable after washing, not tight and stressed. If your skin feels tight even after a moisturizer, it means you need a heavier and better cream-based product.

Conclusion to the skin feels tight issue

Our skin feels tight basically due to the harsh skincare products and habits. The most common one is using sulfates on the skin and not moisturizing it properly. The other ones are overwashing the face, using harsh exfoliators, using hot water for cleansing, and going in for long showers.

If none of these are the causes of your tight skin, I strongly recommend you visit a doctor then.

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