If you have acne, the chances are, you also have oiliness. Acne is often associated with oily skin and they often go together, like some kind of unwelcome coupling at an intimate dinner party - irritating and annoying.
But some people suffer the effects of dry skin along with their spotty skin. So why is this, and what can be done about this dual skin problem?
If you aim to keep your skin hydrated to prevent dryness, will it overload it and contribute to acne breakouts? If you use products to treat acne when you have dry skin, will it strip the skin of its natural oils and dry out the skin further?
As ever, here’s all the facts you need to know. But first up, what is dry skin and what does it look and feel like?
How Do I Know if I Have Dry Skin?
Dry skin is characterised by skin that can feel tight and uncomfortable. It might also feel rough to the touch, you may notice cracks in the skin and dead skin cells may accumulate and make the tone and texture appear dull and lacklustre. It may also become itchy and irritated and may even crack and bleed.
You can develop dry skin anywhere on your body, but for the purposes of this article, we're focussing our attentions on dry skin on the face.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Dry skin is usually down to the fact that your skin produces less sebum than it needs. Sebum is the natural wax like, oily substance produced by the skin. It acts as a natural skin barrier, protects the skin and keeps the skin moisturised. Too little sebum is usually caused by our genetics and if you've always had dry skin, it's likely that this is your cause.
However, dry skin can also be caused by harsh weather conditions (too hot, too dry, too cold, too wet - our skin can't win!), harsh skin care products, over bathing or if you wash your face too often or with products that don't protect your skin well enough.
Tips to Get Rid of Dry Skin
Treating your dry skin is a case of using gentle products that won't strip the skin of its natural oils as well as sloughing away dead skin cells to help improve it's texture.
However, if you also have dry skin that experiences acne breakouts, what do you do? Products to treat both dry skin and acne at the same time can be tricky to find. But not impossible, so let's look at what skin that breaks out and experiences spots looks like.
What is Acne Prone Skin?
Having skin that's likely to break out is usually characterised by redness and oiliness, that may also be sensitive. You may experience blackheads, whiteheads, large, angry red spots called papules, pus filled spots called pustules or a combination of all four.
Cystic acne, where the skin is covered with pustules, and rosacea, where the skin becomes very red and inflamed, can also be associated with skin that breaks out easily.
However, the most common side kick to having acne, is also having oily skin. But what if you don't? What if you experience dry skin and acne?
Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?
Oily skin can cause acne by producing too much of the natural waxy substance produced by the skin, called sebum. In 'normal' skin, it protects the skin from drying out.
But when sebum is in excess, as in oily skin types, it can block the pores and trap dirt and cellular debris, which will lead to the development of the whiteheads, blackheads and pus filled spots that are common among acne sufferers.
But acne can be caused by anything blocking the pores, and when skin becomes dry, tiny flakes of skin are shed and can block the pores, leading to the same acne symptoms as those with oily skin.
Why Might Dry Skin Lead to Acne?
When the skin is dry, it can flake and peel, and even if you moisturise, these flakes of skin can become lodged in the pores. If you have acne prone skin, these pore blockages will lead to pimples which in turn can lead to a full acne breakout.
So, the flakiness that can occur on dry skin (visible flakes or otherwise) can also make your skin experience acne breakouts. Hence why acne in dry skin is a thing.
Home Remedies to Treat Dry Skin and Acne
The first step in looking after dry skin that is also liable to break out, is to take a< holistic approach. Finding out what might be causing your dry skin and acne will help you make any necessary lifestyle changes that might help to heal your dry skin without risking an acne breakout.
Treatments and home remedies include taking steps to reduce stress, eating a balanced diet filled with fresh, whole ingredients and getting enough good quality sleep.
Acne and dryness needs skincare that's gentle on the skin. For such skincare a good place to start looking is at our range of alkalising skincare that has been developed with skin just like yours (and, incidentally, ours) in mind.
The Best Skincare Routine for Acne on Dry Skin
Our range of skincare products can help to prevent acne and dry skin and is also suited to anyone with oily, sensitive or irritated skin.
What's the Best Cleanser For Dry Skin with Acne?
We don’t recommend using a bar of soap and water to cleanse your dry acne skin. Doing so can dry out your skin further and that in itself can then become a cause of acne.
Instead, we recommend a creamy cleanser that hydrates as it gently cleanses dirt, grime, oil and makeup away from the skin as well as making sure your skin doesn't become overloaded.
Our Rebalance and Reset Cream Cleanser has been developed using shea oil and cocoa butter, that gently lift away impurities, with added plant botanicals to soothe the skin, which is especially beneficial for acne with dry skin types.
What's the Best Moisturiser for My Acne and Dry Skin Type?
A good face cream for dry, acne skin is a gently hydrating moisturizer, free from harsh chemical ingredients that will strip the skin of valuable oils.
Can I Treat Acne on Dry Skin By Exfoliating Away Flaky Skin?
We advise being mindful of over exfoliating and using acne treatment products designed explicitly for spotty skin. Over exfoliating will irritate the skin, potentially leading to further dryness. Such acne products are usually designed to reduce sebum production, which will dry your skin even further. You skin may then react by breaking out - a vicious circle!
What's the Best Face Mask for Dry Skin Acne?
Just like the other skincare suggestions for dry, acne skin mentioned here, you’ll need a face mask that is hydrating, but gentle and made using natural, plant based ingredients. Avoid any designed for oily skin, as they’ll strip essential moisturising oils from your skin meaning that acne can occur more frequently.
Solutions for Dry Skin with Acne and Sensitivities
These same products, developed with stressed out skin that often breaks out in mind, will also help to hydrate very sensitive and dry skin. We developed all of our products to support and nourish the needs of all types of skin, especially those affected by dryness, and acne breakouts.
Makeup for Dry Skin Acne
So that's skincare sorted, what about makeup?
Using Concealer on Dry Acne Prone Skin
It’s best to use a hydrating concealer that's lightweight and non pore blocking (known as non comedogenic) to help satisfy the dry and acne-prone skin areas of your face.
Foundation for Acne Prone Dry Skin
Just like your concealer, choose a foundation that supports both sides to your non conformist skin, and is free from oil and is non comedogenic.
Why Do Acne Spots Affect Dry Sensitive Skin?
Acne won’t always develop in dry skin conditions. But if your skin is sensitive, and dry, and you’re liable to developing acne, then you may suffer more.
The spots associated with acne breakouts will become worse on sensitive, dry skin if you use a product that is too harsh for the sensitive side of your skin. Products that contain heavy moisturising agents designed for dry skin could be too much, and lead to a clogging of the pores, and acne.
How Can I Prevent Dry Skin and Acne?
Using our products recommended here, whilst eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of mood boosting fresh air and avoiding stress where possible could be the answer your dry, acne skin needs.
But if you can't find a way to prevent acne based on your skin type, you may need to consider acne medications and topical treatments.
Medical Acne Treatment for Dry Skin
If you’re still experiencing acne breakouts, then you could start to think about other acne treatments such as the contraceptive pill or antibiotics.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars on Dry Skin
If you’ve previously had moderate to severe acne, you may have developed some light scarring or pitting of your skin.
Treating acne scarring can be difficult if the scars are very deep, red or pitted. Many people find that glycolic or salicylic acid chemical face peels help. These work by removing the uppermost layer of skin, revealing the fresh new skin underneath. They also help to stimulate collagen production which plumps the skin from beneath, helping to ‘fill in’ scarring.
However, these products, especially salicylic acid, can be quite drying, and may aggravate already dry skin. If in doubt, speak to a qualified practitioner who is experienced in giving chemical face peels. You may find the glycolic acid, which is a little more gentle, is more suited to your dry skin.
Using Gentle, Nourishing Skin Care Products
The bottom line is that most skincare products designed to suit skin inclined to break out in acne spots, will also be designed to suit oily skin.
But if you have dry skin, then using products for oily skin will strip your skin of the oil it does have, and cause it to become even more dry. Dry, irritated skin may then become more likely to experience acne lesions and breakouts.
Treating dry, acne skin can be challenging. So, to get your skin in tip top condition, trust a skincare brand like Sönd that's right for your skin type, to keep your skin feeling at it's best.
We wish you all the best for your dry, acne skin!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.