Dry Skin And Acne

Dry Skin And Acne

Dry skin and acne is not something which is often discussed due to the common believe that acne is a condition mainly associated with sebum production and therefore oily skin.  Although this is normally the case, it is not necessarily the only type of acne that we see, and in fact, acne and dry skin is actually a common problem.

The cause of acne is slightly different when it comes to dry skin however.  It is essential to understand that blemishes are associated with the health of your pores and whether or not they are getting clogged. Normally, acne will develop when a pore gets clogged up by excess oils and dirt as well as dead skin cells.  In those with drier skin types, this clogging is often due to a build-up of dead skin cells alone. This is due to the way dry skin rejuvenates and matures.

Dry Skin And Acne: The Skin Cell Renewal Process

Normal skin cells take can take around 6 weeks to renew themselves. The structure of our skin is made up of layers with newer cells making their way up to the skin surface. The outer most layer (the one which we can visibly see) is known as the stratum corneum and is mostly comprised of dead skin cells which are constantly shedding.

Those with dry skin have a faster cell renewal cycle which leads to un-matured skin cells reaching the surface. Over time these start to accumulate on the surface of the skin; making your pores more prone to getting clogged. Once your pore is clogged, it will develop into a blemish.

Another reason dry skin can lead to blemishes is due to the skin barrier being compromised by using the wrong products for your skin type which can irritate it. Skin cells tend to be quite compact and are made up of mainly water and fats and have a sheet of oil over them to minimize water loss. When you overuse or use products which irritate your skin, the skin barrier gets damaged and allows water to escape, which over time results in dryness and damage. This can also allow bacteria to easily get into your skin; causing further irritation and leading to blemishes.

The Treatments Available

Before you can treat your acne, it is essential that you understand the cause of your skin being dry. Those who have dry skin naturally are actually born with this skin type, where as those who develop dry skin later on in their life are affected by dehydration, which is a skin condition.  Although they look very similar, there are a few differences between the two.

Dry skin is associated with a lack of oils, whereas dehydrated skin is due to a lack of water and therefore needs different types of treatment – Hira, LF Pharmacist.


Use a cleanser which is made for normal to dry skin to remove all the makeup and dirt from your skin. The one from Caudalie is super gentle yet extremely effective. Using a cleansing aid such as a Foreo device is great for this type of skin as it helps to deeply clean out your pores without causing irritation.


This is the most important step when it comes to dealing with dry skin as this is what will help with the removal of dead skin cells, as well as the stimulation of healthier ones. Use a product containing AHA or BHA, such as Salicylic or Lactic Acid. These are great as exfoliants and can also be used on sensitive skin.  If you have a lot of blemishes, try to stay away from physical exfoliants as these can aggravate and irritate your skin further.

Face peels

These are another great way of getting rid of dead skin cells without drying your skin, as they only need to be in contact with your skin for 5 minutes. Choose one which is either for acne-prone or dry skin and alternate on a weekly basis.

Double Face Masks

This is a great way of dealing with two conditions which are not often linked together. Doubling up on face masks basically means using an acne treatment followed by an anti-dryness mask. This helps to prevent your skin from drying out, while still working to reduce blemishes.

Most importantly you need to listen to your skin.  Your skin reacts to the choices you make so make sure you understand the needs and then look for products to meet them. Everyone is different and what may necessarily work for your friend may not for you. Use products designed for your skin type and then use additional products for the concerns that you have. Always have a quick look at the ingredients too. Large pigments and mineral oils can clog up your pores if not removed properly, whereas those who have dry skin and acne should instead go for natural oils such as Jojoba. Other great ingredients are Hyaluronic Acid and Honey.

As always if you have any questions regarding your skin or would like more information about any products then email me at or leave a comment below.



Resident Pharmacist

With a Masters in Pharmacy, I am here to explain the science behind the beauty. I offer expert advice on ingredients, the latest Skincare trends, lifestyle choices and any skin concerns you may have. I enjoy travelling and taking part in running events like Tough Mudder and the Colour Run. Currently loving: La Roche Posay Eau Thermal