How To Treat Acne When You Have Dry Skin
Although acne is commonly associated with oily skin, let it be known that dry skin can break out too. And while these breakouts on drier skin are certainly manageable, they can be a little harder to deal with because so many standard acne treatments are targeted specifically to oily skin types. But sometimes acne can occur on certain parts of the face, while other parts are unusually dry , explains New York Citybased, board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach, MD.
I like to compare the skin with brick and mortar, where the skin cells are bricks and the mortar is what holds the cells together: ceramides, lipids, and cholesterol. Dryness occurs when there is not enough mortar to keep the bricks together, explains New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. Moisture keeps the skin pliable and supple, whereas the lack of it causes skin to crack, flake, and peel. Cracked skin is more vulnerable to infection from microorganismssuch as bacteria and fungusbecause the skin barrier is not strong enough to protect itself, which can lead to increased breakouts, she explains.
So treating acne with dry skin can require a delicate balance. But first, a bit more on the basics from leading board-certified dermatologists.
How Can I Get Rid Of Dry Skin Caused By Harsh Acne Treatments
Many acne treatments can unfortunately also be quite drying and stripping. When a product strips and dries out your skin, its actually causing damage to your moisture barrier. A damaged moisture barrier causes invisible cracks in the skin that allow moisture to evaporate out and irritants to get in more easily. This is why the skin becomes tight, sensitive, and flaky. Learn more about your skins moisture barrier and how to protect it.
Here are four things you can do when your skins moisture barrier has been damaged by harsh, drying acne treatments.
Exfoliation: Choose Regular Rather Than Reactionary
It doesnt much matter if you happen to have oily skin, dry skin, or combination skin. Regardless of skin type, you have oil, dirt, and dead skin cells that could clog pores if you dont work to prevent it. Aim to exfoliate once or twice a week, but dont go to town tearing away at the surface layer too roughly.
You can exfoliate with either a chemical or physical approach. A gentle scrub that contains oatmeal or sugar or coffee is an example of exfoliation that sloughs away the cells physically. Chemical exfoliation uses ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic, beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid, or enzymes derived from fruits.
It can be nerve racking when youre considering a chemical exfoliation on your own. You may be worried about selecting something overly harsh, or just wondering how it works. Whatever your worry, you can rest assured that there are safe and effective options that dont take off with a layer of your face and leave you looking like you stayed out in the sun all day. There are some exfoliating creams that you can even leave on and even layer your favorite moisturizer on top.
Once such option is Viviane Woodards Skinodyssey. This natural exfoliator, which contains glycolic acid, encourages skin cell regeneration and brings fresh new skin cells to the surface. It sloughs away dead skin cells and aids in the retention of moisture so your skin feels radiant and renewed.
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How To Know If You Really Have Both Dry Skin And Acne
The first thing you should know is that your skin type can change. Just because you once had acne doesnt mean that the hormones causing your breakouts cant suddenly stop. And with this change, you may get a whole new type of skin. Dont expose your skin to acne products unless you are certain that you have acne-prone skin.
One way to check skin is by doing a simple test with blotting paper. At night cleanse your face and do not apply moisturizer then in the morning reach for your blotting paper. Check to see for the following results:
Dry/Sensitive Skin:Your blotting paper has no oil on it and your skin feels tight.Normal skin:Your blotting paper has an average amount of oil on it but is not greasy.Combination skin:Some areas are oily in your T-zone but the rest is dry.Oily skin:Blotting paper shows signs of grease and oiliness in all regions.After doing this you should have a good gauge of your skin type. Perhaps your skin has been dry and flaky due to harsh products you apply as part of your skin care routine.
Say Bye Bye To Blemishes
Now that you’ve got tons of information on what may be causing your acne and a few ways to reduce the appearance of blemishes and breakouts, you can take your skincare into your own hands.
Here at Nourishing Biologicals, we know blemishes can be frustrating and upsetting, but that’s why we’re here to help. If you want any other information on skin care products and ways to keep your skin glowing, were here to help.
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Dry Skin = Sensitive Skin
Dry skin and sensitive skin may be closely related. Sensitive skin is skin that reacts strongly to skin care products or to dry and cold weather. Research suggests that if you suffer from dry skin, you are also likely to have sensitive skin. Scientists believe that both dry skin and sensitive skin arise from the same underlying cause: impaired barrier function.5
Does Dry Skin Cause Acne
Does dry skin cause acne? Technically no, dry skin is not a direct cause of acne . The better question is Can dry skin cause acne? Dry skin and acne can be related because it can contribute to breakouts if left untreated. This is because when skin becomes dry, it can trigger the production of more sebum . When excess oil is produced to combat dry skin, it can actually clog your pores and lead to acne flare ups.
So, bottom line, can dry skin cause acne? While dry skin doesnt necessarily cause acne, dry skin can worsen your acne problems.
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Heavier Sunscreens May Promote Acne Breakouts
Jamie Grill Atlas/Stocksy
Sunscreen is a must-have if you have acne-prone skin, but which sunscreen is right for you?
People with acne or acne-prone skin should look for oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreens, says Yoram Harth, MD, a dermatologist and the medical director of MDacne in San Francisco. “Heavier” sunscreens, which arent labeled as oil-free, can clog the skin pores and cause more acne, he says.
Can Dry Skin Cause Acne We Ask A Dermatologist To Explain
The condition is most associated with oily skin types, but can dry skin cause acne? Here’s what the experts have to say
If your skin is currently straddling dryness and serious breakouts, you might understandably have some questions for the universe. Can dry skin cause acne, or is it the other way around? How did I land two skin behaviours that sit at opposite ends of the spectrum? What did I do to deserve such a complex complexion? Et cetera, et cetera.
And while reaching for the best moisturizers for dry skin feels like the right thing to do to nix flakiness, slathering on a very rich formula will likely clog your pores and worsen your acne. And lo, you have yourself a bit of a skincare conundrum.
Thankfully, team My Imperfect Life reached out to one of the UK’s top dermatologists to get some expert advice on what to do if you’re battling dry skin and acne.
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Use A Foaming Cleanser
I typically recommend foaming facial cleansers during the summer months. During the winter months, switch to a hydrating or creamy facial cleanser to help hydrate your skin and prevent dryness from the colder weather. Dr. McGregor adds that this isnt necessarily a general rule. Your cleaner choice could vary based on your skin type. If you need help figuring out which cleanser is best for you, a dermatologist can help.
Fragrance Has The Potential To Cause Skin Irritation
“Fragrance has a tendency to irritate dry skin or make it worse, so avoid deodorants and skin-care products that are filled with fragrance,” says Amy Forman Taub, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern Medicine in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Thats because fragrance is a common source of allergic contact dermatitis. It could take several exposures for the skin to react, or you might see a reaction the very first time, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Check the ingredients list for the word “fragrance,” and remember “fragrance-free”is your friend. Body lotions and creams may do more harm than good when packed with perfumes. Read labels carefully. Lavender oil and other botanical oils have natural preservative properties and are used in cosmetics that may still be labeled fragrance free.
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Facial Hair Removal Can Lead To Acne In An Unexpected Way
Here, youre trading one complexion problem facial hair for another: bumpy skin.
Topical products applied to your skin before or after hair removal can be comedogenic , says Fusco.
Keep in mind that itchy bumps after hair removal might not be true acne, but rather an irritation of the hair follicle that causes a transient rash, she says.
Zit zapper Relieve the rash by applying a warm compress to your face three to four times a day. If this doesnt work, see your doctor. You may need an antibiotic to clear the rash.
To reduce bacteria on your skin, clean hairy areas before de-fuzzing and use noncomedogenic products that wont clog your pores.
Dos & Donts For Dry Skin Acne
- Avoid cleansing your face too frequently as even water splashed on the face can dry out your skin.
- Wash your face only once a day. At night, you can scrub it clean with a wet tissue or just splash your face with very little water and gently pat dry.
- Avoid showering with too hot water and long baths. Both can contribute towards drying your skin more.
- Dont use exfoliators till your skin has regained its moisture, as exfoliating scrubs can dry out and irritate the skin further.
- Apply your moisturiser after cleansing and before using any anti-acne ointment. That way, the skin doesnt dry out further and the moisturiser becomes a protective barrier.
- Start with the lowest possible dose of medication or the smallest quantities of ointments when you treat acne on dry skin.
- For cleansing, opt for products that have fruit acids and extracts over beads and other particles.
- Anti-acne treatments that come as water-based gels or astringents and toners can dry your skin more than creams or ointments. Opt for the latter if you have dry skin.
While acne can occur on both oily and dry skin, the trick is to recognise the cause and find the right remedy. Keeping the skin moisturised and not washing it too frequently can help it from getting dry. Choosing the right products to treat acne on dry skin is important. Always consult your doctor before opting for medications to treat acne.
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Where Does Acne Come In
Acne affects more than 40 million Americans, particularly adolescents. However, many adults and even small children fall into this category. We have millions of tiny hair follicles and pores on most of our bodies, including our faces. When oil, dirt, and bacteria clog these hair follicles, bumps on our skin can form, commonly known as acne. These can range from whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples -the common forms of acne- to more severe forms, like nodules and cystic acne.
Moisturize Like You Mean It
When it comes to moisturizing, the first thing you can do is get rid of pore-clogging products that create more problems for your acne-prone skin. If you use one that you think might cause your skin to break out, stop using it. I know its hard to let things go to waste, but thats no reason to make matters worse.
Try moisturizers that are non-comedogenic, fragrance free, and that treat dry skin, sensitive skin, and acne-prone skin with care. Follow these tips from a previous post that covers which moisturizer might work for your skin type. But also, heres a spoiler alert: if you have dry or aging skin, you should check out Vivian Woodards water-based Enriched Moisturizer, which enriches skin with nutrients while fending off dry skin with antioxidants.
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Are You Causing Your Acne
A common misconception about oily skin is that it doesnt need moisturizer or exfoliation. Additionally, if youre avoiding exfoliation because you think it will cause your skin to flare up, youre mistaken. The mixture of old skin cells , sebum, oil and dirt is making your skin impenetrable so whatever products you are using to fight oil and acne are probably not working on your skin. This in turn, may make your skin appear dry and flaky because your new surface cell layer is unable to emerge. Use a gentle cleanser on your skin and exfoliate at least once a week. Avoid products with potentially harsh beads made out of stone, sand or crystal material. Instead, opt for fruit acids, which will gently get rid of old skin cells. Then apply an oil-free moisturizer that will provide hydration. Your skin will be able to absorb products correctly and you will no longer have a breeding ground for acne.
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Keep Acne And Dry Skin Separate
Treat them separately instead of trying to combine their treatment. You can use creams with benzoyl peroxide for your acne, which has antiseptic properties that kill the bacteria causing acne. Apart from this, a good dermatologist will give you the appropriate medication to treat severe conditions. When it comes to your dry skin, on the other hand, the key is to moisturise your skin with nourishing creams that have ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
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Keep Things Nice And Moisturized
With dry skin, consider ‘moisturizers‘ AKA the trusty handyman, set to rebuild your damaged skin barrier. To select a moisturizer, youre going to need one capable of not just attracting and sealing moisture into the skin, but efficient enough to undo the damage caused by dryness. Rescue Balm is full of ultra-hydrating ingredients like panthenol and beta-glucans which penetrate the skin and hold moisture deep in the skin tissue. It is also great to relieve redness and improve the texture of irritated skin.
The Treatments For Cystic Acne: What Options Are Available And Which Ones Are Most Effective
Acne is a common skin condition that can affect people of all ages. Cystic acne is a particularly severe form of acne that can be painful and difficult to treat. If youâre struggling with cystic acne, you may be wondering what your treatment options are.
There are a number of different treatment options available for cystic acne. You may need to try a few different approaches before you find one that works for you. Some common treatments for cystic acne include topical creams and ointments, oral medications, and cleansers.
If youâre considering any type of treatment for your cystic acne, itâs important to consult with a dermatologist first. They can help you understand the causes of your acne and recommend the best course of treatment.
Once youâve started treatment, there are a few things you can do to help clear your skin:
â Use a gentle cleanser: Avoid scrubbing or exfoliating your skin, which can irritate already-inflamed pores and make blemishes worse. Instead, opt for a gentle cleanser that wonât strip your skin of its natural oils.
â Moisturize regularly: Keeping your skin hydrated is an important part of any skincare routine, but itâs especially important when youâre dealing with cystic acne. Look for a moisturizer thatâs non-comedogenic so it wonât clog your pores.
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Hard Water Can Prevent Moisturizers From Absorbing
When tap water contains a high concentration of minerals like magnesium and calcium, it’s known as hard water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Those minerals can leave a film on skin that causes dryness. “Heavy metals turn the oils on skin into a thick substance that plugs glands, aggravates conditions like acne and rosacea, and prevents moisturizers from being absorbed into the skin,” says Dennis Gross, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in New York City. Investing in a home filtration system, whether a whole-house treatment or one that attaches to the faucet, can help, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Gross also recommends adding skin-care products that contain vitamins A and C to your routine because they counteract the coating deposited by hard water.
Give Your Skin Time To Adjust
Dryness, peeling, and irritation are typically at their worst during the first few weeks after starting on acne treatment. To combat this, it’s best to start off slowly.
Try using your treatments every other day or just three days a week initially. Build up to using them every day as your skin adjusts.
If your topical acne treatments are really doing a number on your skin, despite a slow and steady beginning, let your dermatologist know. She may recommend leaving them on for just 20 or 30 minutes and then washing them off. This will allow your skin to adjust without becoming overly irritated.
You can let the treatments set for longer and longer periods over the course of several weeks until you can leave them on all day without your skin becoming too dry.
For seriously dry, irritated skin, you may want to stop using your acne treatments for a few days. Give your skin a breather. Once your skin is feeling better, you can slowly start using your treatments again. You should let your dermatologist know if you’re doing this, though, to get their advice.
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