Dry Skin AND Acne?

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So last week I talked about hydrating your skin from the inside out – and today I am going to talk about how to keep all that moisture in your skin – so you don’t end up with acne AND dry skin.

Winter is definitely here, and along with the cold weather comes dry skin.  It is one thing to have dry skin without acne, but when you have dry skin with acne – it seems like an impossible conundrum.  Even worse, your dry skin can become even oiler in certain places – which makes treatment seem impossible.

What is dry skin?

Dry skin occurs when skin doesn’t retain sufficient moisture. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging, or certain medical conditions. And for those in colder climates, it can stem from cold, dry winter air.

Dry skin happens when the skin’s moisture barrier is not functioning well enough to keep moisture in the skin. This can happen as a result of frequent bathing, use of harsh soaps, aging,  cold, dry winter air and indoor heating.  During the winter months cold winter air means low humidity, both outdoors and indoors. The water content of the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) tends to reflect the level of humidity around it – and unless your moisture barrier is functioning properly you will be left with dry, itchy skin – which can ironically become even oiler.

What are the most important things to do to heal your moisture barrier?

If you have acne and dry skin, the number one thing is to ensure that your moisture barrier is functioning properly.  Top tips:

  1.  Do not wash your skin with harsh ingredients, including anything that foams.  Try a gentle micellar water in the evening and manuka honey in the morning.
  2. Do  not over-exfoliate your skin.  If you have acne, chances are you have used exfoliants such as retinol, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid to help clear your skin.  Although exfoliation is an important step in clearing acne, the moisture barrier must be healed before exfoliating.  Stop exfoliating for a few weeks and let your skin repair itself.  This is a critical step in healing your acne properly.
  3. Do not take long, hot baths and showers.  This is a tough one, especially when a long, hot shower is the only thing that warms you up at the end of the day.  Instead, have a quick, lukewarm shower and bundle yourself up in a huge duvet in bed.  It’s the only option.
  4. Topical formulations can be tough.  Many of the concoctions designed to keep moisture in the skin are very oily (think petroleum jelly and mineral oil) and will aggravate acne.  Even more natural options tend to aggravate acne, especially fungal acne.  I suggest applying a light humectant (such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin or aloe vera gel) followed by a very gentle, light moisturizer such as Avene Extreme Emulsion.
  5. If possible, run a humidifier while you sleep.

Dry skin does not have to be an issue.  Follow the guidelines above and please, please do not over-exfoliate.  I see it happening all the time.

Tell me about your experience with dry skin and acne.  What have you done to solve the issue?

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