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  5. Dry Skin And Acne: Are You Treating It The Right Way?

“You have constant acne breakouts, is your skin very oily?” - How often have you heard this statement, dry skin person?

Most people, including some dermats, assume that you have oily skin, everytime you complain about acne, right? And such reactions have made you wonder if your skin is mysteriously different from the rest of the world? Well, calm down.

Though seen commonly on oily skin, pimples, comedones, blackheads and clogged pores can occur on dry skin as well! In this article, we explain why this happens and how you can deal with acne on dry skin. Keep reading.

What Causes Acne On Dry Skin?

Acne is usually caused by clogged pores, when oil and sebum secreted by the skin mix with dirt and block your skin’s pores. However, acne on dry skin can occur due to dirt, bacteria, build up of dead skin cells, cosmetic products, etc.

Your skin’s top layer acts as a barrier and protects the deeper layers of the skin. If your skin is dry, this barrier gets weaker and results in inflammation [1], which in turn causes acne.

Your skin’s epidermis is the barrier that blocks out acne-causing bacteria [2]. It also discards old skin cells as new cells get generated. However, this barrier is less effective when the top layer of your skin is dry.

When the skin barrier function [3] is affected, your body’s immune response mechanism kicks in and tries to undo the damage. This leads to inflammation that may cause acne; or a buildup of dead skin cells on its surface making your skin vulnerable to acne.

Harsh soaps can also be a cause of acne on dry skin. The epidermis contains natural oils and cells, which have fat and water. These fats protect your skin from external factors. When you use soaps or other unsuitable cleansers, they rob your skin of its natural oils and moisture.

Dry skin itself can be a cause for acne. That is because there can be extremely microscopic cracks in the skin due to dryness, wherein bacteria have the space to multiply, thereby causing acne. The dry skin flakes can also clog the larger pores.

How Do You Treat Dry Skin Acne?

Firstly, treat your skin very gently and pamper it till it regains its soft texture and moisture content. For your entire skincare regimen, opt for gentle products, preferably hypoallergenic and free of harsh chemicals.

1. Cleanse Right

  • Use a very mild cleanser to remove the surface dirt, bacteria, etc. Preferably, opt for one that is specifically for dry skin and non-foaming.
  • Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate [4].
  • Use a cleanser with the right pH balance. If it is too alkaline, it can dry your skin further.

2. Focus On Moisturization

  • Apply a moisturiser after you clean your face as the main rule. Opt for an oil-free, water-based one that is suitable for sensitive or dry skin as these are mild and gentle.
  • Look for products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid [5], glycerine etc. as these can nourish your skin by replenishing it with moisture.

3. Anti-Acne Treatments

  • If you have acne, you would naturally veer towards anti-acne products for cleansing, toning or even moisturising. Don’t!
  • It is better to use products meant for dry skin and use anti-acne treatments only on the area where you have a problem.
  • Anti-acne topical ointments usually have ingredients such as salicylic acid [6] and benzoyl peroxide [7]. Both of these will dry out your skin if applied all over your face. These ingredients should be avoided if you are using a cream or lotion that has tretinoin [8] or other retinoids.

4. Use Protective Accessories

  • Whether it is cold, windy, dry or hot, always use accessories such as scarves (for the neck) and hats to protect your skin. This is important to avoid exposing your skin to environmental aggressors.
  • Using a non-greasy sunscreen with adequate SPF is also essential to prevent your skin from drying out further.

Home Remedies For Dry Skin Acne

You can use several ingredients from your kitchen to treat dry skin that has acne. Here is a list of natural remedies:

1. Cucumber

A known moisturiser and cooling agent, cucumber is beneficial when eaten or applied on to the skin. It can reduce irritation on dry skin and moisturise the skin too. Grind to a paste and apply. It will remove the excess oil, which is causing the acne.

2. Garlic

Garlic has allicin [9], sulphur, zinc and calcium, all of which are antifungal and antibiotic in nature. If you don’t mind the smell, crush a few flakes of garlic and make a paste with water. Apply on your skin and leave on; wash after a few hours for best results.

3. Lemon Juice

An age old remedy for acne is lemon juice. Apply lemon juice onto the acne and leave on till it is dry. It will clear the skin without drying it out further.

4. Potato

Potatoes are rich in vitamins B and C. Vitamin B aids in cell regeneration. It also contains niacin that can help make the skin lighter. Vitamin C is a collagen production booster and it protects the skin from sun damage while healing it. Apply raw potato juice on to the skin for best results.

5. Tomato Pulp

Tomatoes are acidic and can help to dry the acne. Often used in anti-acne lotions, tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A, C and K. All you need to do is cut a tomato and rub gently all over the face. Applying tomato pulp as a mask will also help reduce acne on dry skin.

Dos & Don’ts For Dry Skin Acne

DON’Ts

  • 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.
  • Don’t use exfoliators till your skin has regained its moisture, as exfoliating scrubs can dry out and irritate the skin further.

DOs

  • Apply your moisturiser after cleansing and before using any anti-acne ointment. That way, the skin doesn’t dry out further and the moisturiser becomes a protective barrier.
  • Start with the lowest possible dose of medication (if any is prescribed) 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.

Wrapping Up

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.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin