Over Dried Skin Leads to… Acne?

By Jenna

One of the most commons problems that I see as an Esthetician is over dried skin. With thousands of skin care products available that contain harsh ingredients, it’s easy to make the mistake of choosing the wrong beauty product for your skin type. The question “what’s your skin type?” is supposed to be an easy question for most women. Either you’re oily, dry, mature, sensitive or combo. (I have some beef with the term normal. Normal is not a skin type because it’s extremely hard to define and honestly, who has normal skin?) I usually ask my clients what they think their skin type is. About 60% of the time or more, they are wrong. The biggest misconception that many people have is that they have oily skin, when in fact, it’s dry. Truth is, over dried skin leads to an over production of oil making innocent people believe they have oily skin and can lead to problems.

Let’s break it down. How does this happen? You have a certain skin type which is genetic, but also affected by a lot of factors such as your diet, the environment and what you topically put on your skin. In today’s media, we’ve been told to dry out those zits, get high percentage chemical peels and use acids to peel off layers of your skin making you look younger and your skin will clear up. Without even thinking about how our skin naturally works or considering personal skin health, we buy doctor grade cosmeceuticals and expose our delicate skin to very harsh chemicals. Cutting it short, by using high percentages of acids or harsh exfoliants and products that aren’t meant for your skin, you are stripping it of its natural lipid barrier. Your barrier function is essential to your skin’s natural moisture factor and protects your skin. Your natural oils that protect your skin from outside aggressors have now been stripped off, leaving your skin defenseless. Thus, your skin becomes dehydrated and sensitized. To compensate for the lost oil, your brain signals your oil glands to produce more oil to help protect and hydrate. This means, you now have over dried skin, and you’re more likely to have an increased oil production. Along with increasing the aging process, usually this results in:

  • More oil
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Flakiness
  • Acne or breakouts
  • Tightness
  • Dry itchy skin


Source: Flickr user rchappo2002

Dry skin with acne is the most common result of over dried skin.  The over production of oil combined with dryness, leads to inflammation and breakouts leaving anyone a little confused about what to do. Naturally, the first thought is to dry your skin out more to help get rid of the acne. The best way to deal with dry skin and acne is by bringing back the moisture and restoring the skin’s natural pH level. Balance is the key in skin care and I’m not telling you to ditch your favorite cleanser by any means. If you are suffering from dry skin with acne, you need to consistently follow up with a healing toner and a moisturizer after anything you do to your skin. This means, every time you cleanse your skin, follow up with a toner and moisturizer. I always hear, “moisturizers make my skin too oily.” There are options available for oil control and most likely, the oil is from your dry skin, not the moisturizer. Don’t be afraid to use a moisturizer when your skin is oily; it is imperative to have a moisturizer in your daily skin care regimen. Another thing you can do is find an exfoliant that works for your skin type. This nourishes, hydrates, repairs and helps protect the skin that needs it. If your skin is dry, I would recommend using a cleanser or exfoliant with lactic acid. Lactic acid will help hydrate, brighten and exfoliate your skin gently.

Getting over the notion that your skin is in desperate need of oil and moisture can be difficult for a lot of people, especially those experiencing various types of acne. The trick with acne is to keep a good moisture balance along with any steps you are taking to get rid of it. Always drink more water than you need and pay attention to what your skin is telling you. If your skin is flakey and tight, let it breathe and nourish it with a quality cream or oil.

Skin tip: Use a face oil at night for increased moisture, sooth irritations and repair skin without leaving you greasy the next morning.

4 Responses to “Over Dried Skin Leads to… Acne?”

  1. Esther

    What about the Dr. Houscka way? He suggest not using a moisturizer at night…
    So your skin can push out all the impurities…is this true? I am so confused…

    Thanks, Esther

  2. Jenna

    Everyone’s skin is different, so the best thing to do is “listen” to your skin and decide what’s best for you to do. While you’re sleeping, your skin is regenerating itself and that time is vital. If you want to, you can skip the moisturizer if you feel like you don’t need one. Since time while you sleep is so important, I would suggest using an antioxidant serum, oil or even a low percentage retinoid product (twice a week) to help with the natural rejuvenation process if you don’t want to use a night cream. Ultimately, you have to pay attention to the signs that your skin shows to make the best decision.


  3. DianeA

    I have acne-prone skin (even as an adult, *sigh*) coupled with dry, flaky parts and over the past two weeks since I started using the Shielo Complexion Products (Both the Shielo Complexion Moisturizer & the Shielo Complexion Scrub) this morning and night after I wash my face, my skin has really evened out. The flaky parts are gone. My pores are smaller on my cheeks. Acne scars and hyperpigmented areas have started to fade. I have not had a single zit for the past two weeks. This is insane. And my skin is so smooth! I noticed the smoothness after the first day.

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