When you envision acne, you typically imagine oily, inflamed, red skin that is irritated and painful. While this is certainly a common scenario, acne can actually be caused by dry skin as well. The myth that those with dry skin cannot get acne is entirely false and was made due to the offensive stereotype of the “pizza face teenager”.
Movies and television shows depicted teens with either flawless, matte skin or greasy, cyst covered faces with no in between. In reality, anyone can get acne at any time. In fact, dry skin may even open you up to having more severe breakouts!
Why dried skin could cause acne?
Your skin has a natural oil barrier that protects it from bacteria and sun damage.
When it is balanced and not overly oily or dried out, the skin does a pretty good job of maintaining a sort of homeostasis with the environment around it.
When your skin’s moisture level begins to tilt to one extreme or the other, you begin to experience discomfort. Dry skin has less oil which means that there is less barrier to keep bacteria away from any microtears or open pores.
These holes act as entrances into the body, where the bacteria becomes trapped and spreads, creating breakouts. Dry skin also means your skin will shed more often which can lead to your pores becoming clogged at a much higher rate than someone with oily skin.
Dry skin can be caused by many different factors, ranging from your skin’s natural texture to some sort of environmental change. People with naturally dry skin can combat the irritation and flaking with a light moisturizer.
It can be tempting to gunk on coconut oil or some other thick moisturizing product to really get a quick dose of intense hydration but this can actually clog up your pores and cause a severe breakout to begin. It is best to slowly rework your skin by applying a naturally derived moisturizer twice daily along with SPF to protect your skin from being dried out by the sun.
Over processing your skin can dry it out, as well. Overuse of products like exfoliators or peels can strip your natural moisture barrier, leaving your skin barren and open to infections. Using a strong cleanser or toner can also damage the layer.
After cleansing, your skin should never feel tight or uncomfortable. It should feel as it normally would, perhaps even a bit moisturized. After cleansing, use a light moisturizer and avoid picking at any dry patches.
Avoiding products containing alcohol, like foundations and face masks, is definitely a good idea as well. In an alcohol based product, the alcohol evaporates out, leaving your skin sahara dry. Alcohol is especially prevalent in sheet masks so always check the ingredients before you apply anything for the first time.
Hot showers may be great at helping you feel relaxed and brand new, but they can actually damage your skin pretty quickly. Instead, opt for a warm or even cold shower. Cold showers are great for your hair, as well, and work to shrink your pore size and lock in moisture.
During the colder months, follow up your shower or any outside event with moisturization, as cold air can suck the oils from your skin. Apply balms and creams regularly as the temperature drops to keep yourself soft and comfortable.
Acne can show up anywhere, on anyone, at anytime so be vigilant about your skincare routine and take excellent care of your face.