Acne Vs. Dry Skin: Are They Related?

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Many over-the-counter acne products make skin dry and flaky. For people who already struggle with dry skin, clearing up acne while keeping skin hydrated can be tricky. While dry skin doesn’t necessarily make acne worse, treating acne can definitely make dry skin worse.

Can Dry Skin Make Acne Worse?

Know your ingredients

Whether using drugstore or prescription products for acne, it’s important to pair products with a good moisturizer. Look for keywords like noncomedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. Sometimes, gel or serum moisturizers can be better for people with acne-prone skin. These products soak into the skin instead of sitting on top of the skin as some creams do.

When choosing a moisturizer, also look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and allantoin. These are typically safe for people with acne and provide intense hydration. It might feel counterintuitive, but steer clear of acne-specific moisturizers. This is especially important when already using acne medications. Acne-specific moisturizers also contain small amounts of acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, which will only dry out skin even more.

Resist the temptation to layer acne products

When dealing with acne, it can be tempting to layer on multiple acne-fighting products. But this will only strip the skin of natural oils and leave it feeling harsh, dry, and irritated. When it comes to skincare, it’s best to keep it simple.

Use a gentle, hydrating cleanser. It may be helpful to find a cleanser that contains ceramides, which help retain moisture. Unless prescribed by a dermatologist, avoid using acne cleansers multiple times a day. Instead, use a gentle cleanser, layer on any topical acne medications, and finish with a hydrating moisturizer.

Wait out the skin purging process

Acne-fighting products often involve an adjustment period for skin to get used to the ingredients. At first, skin might become more dry or flaky. Acne may even worsen for a few weeks. Usually, skin adjusts after 4-6 weeks. However, it may be helpful to only use acne creams every other day to prevent skin from drying out. Make sure not to use more than the recommended amount of product. It won’t speed up the acne-clearing process and will only make skin drier.

Patience is a virtue

Healing acne will take time. Practice patience and use all products only as prescribed by a dermatologist. Overuse will make skin dry, flaky, and could even irritate skin further.