Why Do I Have Dry Skin and Acne? Causes and Treatments

Jenna Jolls

Dry skin and acne are two of the most common skin problems among people. No matter age, gender, or race, dry skin and acne can happen to anyone without exception. But what causes acne prone skin problems in the first place? Is there something you can do to prevent and stop them? And if the answer is yes, is it something that you can do in the comfort of your own homes?

There is a ton to look into when it comes to this topic, but the bottom line is this: bottom dry skin and acne are preventable and treatable with the right products and appropriate skincare routine.

Do You Really Have Acne-prone and Dry Skin?

Knowing your skin type is the first essential step in your fight against skin dryness and acne. Our skin may confuse us more often than we realize it. You may think that you have oily skin, but that’s only because you apply too much of the wrong product. Conversely, you may think that you have dry skin, but it could be because you apply too little.

To gauge your proper skin type, follow these simple steps:

  1. Wash your face regularly as you would before going to bed. However, ditch out on any extra night regimen products you have including toners, moisturizers, creams, and serums, among many others. Keep it simple.
The following morning, test your skin’s dryness/oiliness to verify your skin type by using a blotting paper. The result will be one of these:
  • Normal skin – an average amount of oil appears on the blotting paper
  • Dry/sensitive skin – the skin feels tight and no oil on the blotting paper
  • Oily skin – blotting paper absorbs a significant amount of oil and grease from all areas of your face
  • Combination skin – some areas on the T-zone are oily while some are dry

What are the Causes?

Many people relate acne to oily skin because oil clogs pores, which results in acne breakouts. However, it is also possible to have acne even when the skin is dry. Most often, the culprit for an acne breakout among people with dry skin is the skincare routine and the products they are using.

When people have acne breakouts, they tend to splurge on the wrong skin care products. As the fight with acne begins, people tend to overuse certain products in the hope to curb the breakout. Unfortunately, the result often leads to dry and irritated skin as most products contain harsh ingredients that damage the natural flora of the skin. So instead of helping out, it only makes the problem worse.

The causes of dry skin and acne can be divided into two categories: dry skin causes acne, or acne causes dry skin.

If you determine that you have dry skin, the cause of your acne breakout may be a weak skin barrier leading to dehydrated skin. A weakened skin barrier often results in inflammation and makes your skin prone to acne-causing bacteria. In this case, you need to deal with the reason why your skin becomes dry. Is it because of the changing weather? Or maybe too much exposure to extreme heat such as long hot showers? Or probably it’s the result of the products you are using that contain harsh chemicals? Whatever the cause of your dry skin is, you have to deal with it to prevent acne breakout.

On the other hand, even people with oily skin can have dry skin due to acne. People with oily skin do not usually moisturize or exfoliate, thinking that they do not need either of those. But how wrong they are! Without exfoliation, old skin cells, oil, sebum, and dirt clog the pores and can lead to acne breakouts, which might be the reason why you use harsh chemicals on your face to treat acne. This, in turn, leads to skin dryness.

Ironically in some people, non-exfoliating may make their skin impenetrable from the products that they use. The skin becomes so clogged that it cannot absorb the products used. This will still result in dry and flaky skin because new skin cells find it hard to replace the old ones.

Treatment for Dry Skin and Acne

Caring for acne-prone and dry skin needs a special approach. You need to keep the skin hydrated and moisturize while clearing away acne breakouts. From using the best face wash for acne and dry skin to making a specialized homemade face mask for dry skin and acne, you have many options available.

But choose your treatments really carefully. After all, you do not want to take some anti-acne drugs like the now-discontinued Accutane with its horrific side effects.

When Dry Skin Causes the Acne

According to Healthline.com, you should start solving the problem by addressing the dry skin issue first. These simple tips will help treat acne and dry skin altogether:

  1. Change your cleanser to a gentle one - The best face wash for acne and dry skin needs to remove bacteria and dirt build-up from your face while being gentle on the skin.
  2. Use a non-comedogenic and oil-based moisturizer - Moisturizing is an important facet of all skincare routines. But make sure that you choose a non-comedogenic oil moisturizer. Make sure that you choose a non-comedogenic one though so that it won’t clog your pores.
  3. Use lukewarm water, not hot - Extreme temperatures can cause significant dryness and damage. When washing your face, adjust the water so that it still provides the refreshing feeling you want without stripping the skin from its natural oils.
  4. Do not rub or scrub the face dry - Patting the face dry with a towel is the best and only option when drying. Rubbing or scrubbing the face often worsens the dryness and irritation. It even leads to inflammation at times, which you need to avoid at all costs.
  5. Know the importance of humidifiers - One of the causes of dryness is the lack of moisture in the air. So external support such as using a humidifier can help reduce dry skin problems. Once you’ve fixed your dry skin issue, the acne problem will ultimately fade too.

When Acne Causes the Dry Skin

If your acne causes dry skin, it all boils down to your skincare routine. These simple steps will help tone down both problems:

  1. Use a gentle cleanser - We can't reiterate enough how important it is to use a gentle cleanser. According to a study conducted by the Department of Dermatology of the Ulsan University Hospital in South Korea, a gentle cleanser can be used twice daily and still produce significant results in decreasing inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
  2. Exfoliate at least once a week - Exfoliation should be a part of all skincare routines. The only difference between routines should be the frequency. For some people, once a week is enough while some skin types need to exfoliate twice to three times a week. But the number one rule in exfoliation that everyone should follow is this: Never over-exfoliate.
    Use an exfoliant with fruit acids rather than those equipped with harsh beads from sand, crystals, or stones. Fruit acids exfoliate gently while getting rid of old skin cells for the replacement of new ones, without causing harmful skin irritation.
  3. Choose an oil-free moisturizer - Hydrate your skin with moisturizer. It reduces acne breakout and helps the skin to absorb products better as well. An oil-free moisturizer is highly recommended, especially when you have oily skin.
    Dry skin and acne frustrate many of us. Dealing with it can be challenging, but only if you do not know what to do. With the right skincare routine, these skin problems can be dealt with accordingly, and you'll be left with beautiful healthy skin. The Difference: Our Active Probiotic System Acne Treatment Kit provides a complete skincare regimen to help treat acne while hydrating the skin and restoring the skin microbiome for clearer, smoother and healthier skin.
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