How to Treat Acne When You Have Dry Skin

Can dry skin cause acne?

Dry skin is one of the biggest concerns dermatologists face every day. Your skin feels rough, tight, and might even start to itch, peel or crack. More and more people experience dry skin during the harsh winter months. What we don’t expect is to see acne show up as well. This begs the question: can dry skin cause acne?

Dry skin does not directly cause acne, per se. But it can make things worse.

Some individuals with dry skin also suffer from acne. Having to fight two skin conditions at once can be daunting. However, understanding what’s causing your dry skin can help you put things in place to combat the issue. Furthermore, by using one or more dermatologist-approved acne treatment, you will not only have clearer skin but improve your dry skin concerns too!

What causes dry skin?

First, it helps to know what causes your dry skin, acne, and how one can feed into the other. Our skin’s outer layer, called the epidermis, is filled with natural components like ceramides, oils/fats, and other water-soluble compounds. The epidermis actually has a few layers, with the stratum corneum being the top layer. This top layer continually sheds dead skin cells, but its primary goal is to lock in moisture, electrolytes, and water-soluble compounds. These, in turn, protect your skin from outside pollutants. It also gives you that plump, dewy glow.

With dry skin, one or more factors strip the top layer:

  • Harsh winter weather is the most common, as the low temperatures and low humidity can dry out your skin. When you add spending long periods of time indoors with the heat on, your skin is at risk of drying out.
  • Soaps and laundry detergents contain surfactants. These are ingredients that help these products produce foam, remove dirt and oil, and even preserve cosmetics’ shelf life. Unfortunately, most soaps and detergents contain harsh surfactants that remove all the oil and strip away the moisture, causing dry skin.
  • Hot showers, hot tubs, and spending long hours swimming can also cause dryness.
  • Pre-existing skin conditions like eczema, keratosis pilaris, or psoriasis worsen dryness.
  • Are you drinking enough water? If not, it’s probably not helping with dry skin issues.
  • There are other factors to consider, like health (certain diseases can cause acne), age, and even genetics. However, there are some effective ways to treat dry skin—more on that after we talk about acne.

    Skin care for acne-prone skin

    The American Academy of Dermatology gratefully acknowledges the support from Galderma Laboratories, L.P.

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    Your skin care routine for dry flaky acne skin

    I want you to look over all the skin care products you are currently using, and take out every single product that could be drying or irritating your skin.

  • foaming or soap cleansers
  • toners, essence, or face mists
  • serums with active ingredients
  • face masks
  • spot treatments
  • essential oils
  • any skin care product containing fragrance
  • You might be wondering what you are left with?! Not much, I know. To heal parched dry skin, you’ve got to eliminate EVERYTHING that could potentially be irritating your skin, because your skin isn’t healthy right now, and is much more susceptible to irritation.

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