Dry skin with breakouts or acne can be difficult to manage because products that fix one problem can aggravate the other
Have you been looking for a skincare regimen for dry skin with breakouts but not been able to find anything that directly addresses your skin type and skin challenge? We’re here to help because we understand this skin condition. Contrary to what people might think, skin that appears dry skin can also suffer from acne, texture issues and breakouts, so it’s important to find a skincare routine that works for you. If your skin is dry and feels tight after cleansing, if you get flaky patches, or if you seem to be breaking out more often than usual, then it’s time to make some changes!
If you feel like your skin challenge is hard to resolve don’t give up hope! We are here to help.
Reasons for why your skin is dry but still prone to breakouts or acne
There can be a few different reasons why you might have dry skin with acne or breakouts. The most common reason is a compromised skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier is able to keep skin water loss to a minimum. It is also able to produce the right amount of skin oils, called sebum, to maintain skin flexibility and resilience. When the skin barrier is disrupted it can cause several skin issues.
Lack of hydration
Hydrated skin contains water in top layers of the skin. Well-hydrated skin looks soft, plump and has a much better texture than dehydrated skin. When the skin is dehydrated, it looks flat, dull and hard. Your skin over-produces oil trying to make up for the lack of hydration. This extra oil can then clog your pores making your skin more likely to suffer breakouts and acne. When your skin is dehydrated it also becomes more susceptible to bacteria and other environmental irritants, which can cause breakouts. In order to resolve this issue, you need to find a skincare routine that hydrates your skin while also preventing acne or breakouts.
Harsh cleansing products can quickly upset the balance of the skin and cause dryness. This is because harsh products contain ingredients called Surfactants (surface active agents) that dissolve dirt and oil off the skin. When you use a product that contains too much or too harsh a surfactant, that can result in your skin being stripped of its natural oils. This can quickly lead to skin becoming dry and irritated. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are using drying acne treatments, like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, you might want to cut back on how often you are using them. Overuse of these treatments can also lead to drier skin.
It’s possible that your skin is too dry because you are over-exfoliating with harsh products, which can strip away at the top layer of skin and make it feel drier. If this is the case, try scaling back on how often you exfoliate the skin. Once a week might be enough for a skin type that is both dry and breakout-prone. If you like to physically exfoliate the skin then switch to gentler exfoliating methods, like using a cleansing brush or cloth. If you like using a chemical exfoliator then use one which only contains a low percentage of a gentle chemical exfoliator.
Skin sensitivity caused by hormonal changes
There might be a connection between your hormones and why you have dry skin with acne or breakouts. Hormonal imbalances can lead to the skin becoming more sensitive, which means that skincare products that you have used without problems before could suddenly cause your skin to break out and become dry. If this is the case, try going back to basics and use the best face serum you can find. This can help your skin adjust to the hormonal changes and work on strengthening the skin barrier. Once the skin barrier is healthier both the dryness and breakouts will start to lessen.
Sometimes, environmental factors like wind or cold weather can also cause dry skin and exacerbate acne or breakout problems.
Skincare routine for acne-prone skin that is dry
Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to find a skincare routine that works for you and helps to address the common challenges people have with this type of skin condition. Here are the steps we recommend:
1) Cleanse your skin.
A gentle cleanser can go a long way when it comes to taking care of dry, acne-prone skin and keeping breakouts in check. Look for a cleanser that is free of alcohol, fragrances, dyes, sulfates, parabens, lanolin, mineral oil, petrolatum or harsh sulfates.
Exfoliating is a great way to remove any dry, dead cells from the surface of the skin that could clog pores or make breakouts worse. We recommend using a gentle exfoliant with round beads instead of those jagged little granules that can do more harm than good. You can use this type of exfoliator once or twice a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is. If you like using a chemical exfoliator then use lactic acid. Since lactic acid is found naturally in the skin barrier, it is less likely to cause further irritation when used in a low percentage. It might also help with skin hydration and with getting rid of pigmentation problems. Find a product that contains less than than 5%-10% lactic acid in the formulation. Use this only in the evenings once a week. If you choose to use both a physical exfoliator and a chemical one, do NOT use them the same day. Space them out so that you only use one type of exfoliant (physical or chemical) every 3 or 4 days.
When it comes to moisturizing, you want something lightweight but still effective enough to keep your skin hydrated. Look for an oil-free and noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) formula that is gentle enough for your skin type. Extra points if it contains skin hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, Glycerin, Niacinamide and probiotic extracts. It really helps if your moisturizer contains no heavy oils or butters or waxes. For added moisturizing you can use a good quality fragrance-free face oil that is made to balance the skin. Using this oil every night, and only in the areas you need it, can dramatically improve the tone and texture of your skin and give you a glow.
4) Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is non-negotiable, especially if you have acne-prone skin that’s prone to dark spots and discoloration. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with an SPF of 30 or higher every day. Reapply more often if you are outside in the sun for a long period of time.
5) Apply makeup sparingly
If you wear makeup, make sure you choose a formula that’s non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and free of oils. Look for oil-free foundations, powders, primers, and concealers that are gentle enough for your skin type. Remember, less is more when it comes to makeup!
6) Oil massage once a week
If you’re looking for a luxurious way to nourish dry skin, consider giving yourself an oil massage. Use 8 to 10 drops of a good quality fragrance free face oil in your hands, and apply evenly over your entire face and neck. Then, work it into your skin from your forehead down to your neck and back up again, focusing on giving lots of extra attention to the dry areas.
This gentle massage helps to increase circulation, which aids in skin renewal and can make your skin look younger. It also helps to promote lymphatic drainage, which helps alleviate bloating and puffiness from the skin. The massage can also loosen tight deposits of sebum in your skin by diluting them. When the sebum (natural skin oil) is diluted it can flow out of the skin’s pores easier leading to an easing of breakouts. Once you are done with your massage (it shouldn’t take longer than 5 to 8 minutes), apply a warm towel to your face and gently wipe away the excess oil if any.
And there you have it! A simple, personalized skincare routine for acne-prone, dry skin that’s actually effective. So what are you waiting for? Try these six easy steps tonight and see your skin start to glow tomorrow!
Q) How often do you recommend to use an exfoliator (physical and chemical)?
Answer: If you choose to use both a physical exfoliator and a chemical one, do NOT use them the same day. Space them out so that you only use one type of exfoliant (physical or chemical) every 3 or 4 days.
Q) How often should I moisturize my skin if I have dry skin that is acne-prone?
Answer: If you are using an oil-free moisturizer, then use it every time you cleanse your face, which for most people is once or twice a day. If you are using a heavier moisturizer then you might need it just once a day. Every person’s skin needs are different, so experiment and find what works best for you and your skin type.
Q) Can makeup be used daily if it is oil-free, non-comedogenic, and gentle?
Answer: If you wear makeup, make sure you choose a formula that’s noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and free of oils. Look for oil-free foundations, powders, primers, and concealers that are gentle enough for your skin type. Remember, less is more when it comes to makeup!
Q) How often should you use a face oil?
Answer: Apply an oil free sunscreen in the morning before applying your makeup. Then at night after cleansing your face, massage 1 to 2 drops of a good quality fragrance free face oil into your skin. Apply over the entire neck. On your face, you can focus just on the areas that are dry but cover your entire neck. Once your skin gets used to the face oil you can apply it over your entire face. As your skin barrier heals and starts functioning well, you might notice that you only need to use a face oil once every few days in the evenings on your face. Observe your skin and use it as much or as little as you need. The goal is to have moisturized skin that has a soft glow, not greasy skin.
We understand sensitive skin and all the complex problems that can arise from having an impaired skin barrier. Please comment below if you have any questions related to skin or skincare. We read and respond to all comments.