The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

skincare for dry acne prone skin

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In a world of dry and oily skin types, being dry, acne-prone skin is difficult. Sometimes, I feel like they have forgotten that other skin types exist! ๐Ÿ˜

It’s truly a bane of our existence! It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack – only the needle is a moisturizer that won’t break you out, and the haystack is the entire skincare aisle at the drugstore.

But what if I give you the needle? In fact, let’s make it needles. Sounds like a plan! ๐Ÿ˜

So let’s give you an easy skincare regimen for dry, acne-prone skin that’ll leave your face supple, glowing, and of course, acne-free!

What does dry acne-prone skin feel like?

Dry skin happens when your skin is as parched as a desert and doesn’t produce enough oil to keep it moisturized. It’s like having a sandpaper texture on your face. And to make matters worse, acne likes to join the party too.

So, it’s like dealing with both a drought and a hurricane at the same time – NOT FUN!

So dry, acne-prone skin would –

  • Usually be sensitive & easily irritated
  • Look lifeless and tired
  • Feels tight & rough and prone to itchiness & flakiness

Why do you get acne and dry skin?

Now, this is interesting. It’s a popular belief that acne happens due to excessive sebum (oil) production. So when your skin becomes dry and parched, it automatically starts to secrete more oil to compensate for the lack. This dry skin + oil combo can cause breakouts in some people, maybe because the sebum was secreted more than required.

In short, it’s like a never-ending battle between the forces of hydration and pimples. So the best way to prevent that from happening is to treat the acne first and then keep the skin appropriately hydrated at all times.

Step-by-Step Skincare Routine for Dry Acne-Prone Skin

Here’s a quick version of it, followed by a longer, more detailed one.

1. Alternate between exfoliating & hydrating cleansers

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

In my opinion, one-third of the battle is already won when you choose the right cleanser. Be it any skin type or condition, then! Now for your dry acne-prone skin, you want something that would help clear out that but also not irritate it with dryness and stretchiness.

So, what you can do is alternate between two cleansers – exfoliating and hydrating, in the AM and PM or on alternate days.

I would recommend you use an exfoliating cleanser with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid (the usual AHAs and BHAs) in the morning. And if it has some form of hydrating elements, then you just hit the jackpot!

And for the night, you would want to use a hydrating face wash as we’ll be treating the skin with some awesome (and a little stronger) ingredients.

If you’re looking for an AM cleanser to add to your skincare routine for dry acne-prone skin, you CANNOT go wrong with CeraVe’s SA cleanser. It’s the absolute best (and my personal favorite) to treat and prevent acne, but also a godsend for you as it has ceramides and hyaluronic acid.

And for the night, I swear by Neutrogena’s hydro boost gel cleanser. It’s featherweight and gets the job done. (I have a full review on the hydro boost cleanser right here).

Besides that, CeraVe’s hydrating cleanser is also perfect for your lackluster skin!

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

2. tone with a glycolic acid product

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

Now, I would usually skip the toning step unless I can really get some real benefits from it.

This is why a Glycolic acid toner like the one from Pixi Beauty or The Ordinary could work wonders for your acne as it would gently exfoliate and unclog the pores but also won’t cause any irritation or skin peeling/drying.

I also love Pixi’s vitamin wakeup mist for this very purpose. It’s a beautiful product that illuminates the skin instantly!

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

3. treat your skin with acne gels or serums

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

This step has two parts – AM and PM. Because I suggest, you use hydrating and brightening serums in the morning and acne-tackling active ingredients at night.

So for the morning, I love love love using Niacinamide serum because it is like a superhero for your skin! You know it’s a one-stop solution for calming inflammation, improving your skin barrier, diminishing hyperpigmentation, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, and being gentle enough for all skin types, yep, even dry and acne-prone skin.

You can also create an intensely powerful concoction by layering a hyaluronic acid serum over niacinamide in the AM.

Related: How to use Niacinamide and Hyaluronic acid together in a regime.

As a dry skin type, you cannot ignore the benefits of hyaluronic acid and, together with niacinamide or any other suitable (means that go safely with HA) active ingredient, you can reap the benefits for both sides of the skin – dry and acne-prone.

I do not have enough words for The Ordinary’s niacinamide and zinc serum and alternate between CeraVe’s hyaluronic acid and The Ordinary’s HA serum.

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

Harman’s special skin note –

Also, the glow you get after layering GA toner, niacinamide serum, and then HA serum is UNREAL! So you are set to blind people in the office or on the streets with this skincare routine!

And for the night, you either want to stick to spot treatment like differing gel or adapalene or get yourself a retinoid serum that can boost the collagen production in the skin and help you get rid of acne and its scars.

I personally use adapalene gel, sometimes Mario Badescu’s drying lotion, and rarely Olay’s Regenerist 24 serum. (Learn to use retinol correctly first, and then decide for your skin)

Remember, if you’re using a spot treatment, you have to leave it on for about 30 minutes to 1 hour and then apply the moisturizer after.

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

4. Moisturize it nicely and completely with a good moisturizer

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

Now the last important part – quenching your skin’s thirst!

Normally, you’d look for cream based, deeply moisturizing product, but today, your goal should be to find a lightweight, oil-free, non-comedogenic but also intensely hydrating moisturizer.

I have a few recommendations if you’d just hold on ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

5. Liberally apply sunscreen in the morning

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

I don’t even think I need to say it now because the entire world knows how important sunscreen is, so let’s just skip that part and lemme tell you what to look for in it –

  • Must be non-comedogenic
  • Broad-spectrum
  • SPF 30 and more
  • Lightweight
  • Must not leave any white residue
  • And maybe a little hydrating

And no, you don’t need it at night. It’s probably good, but it’s also a little too much paranoid!

So here are my best recommendations for ya!

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

6. Exfoliate the skin once or twice a week

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

Who said exfoliating is just for oily skin types? Who’s gonna get rid of that flaky skin if not exfoliating products?

But here’s a catch – use gentle exfoliators (NOT those famous AHA BHA peels) but 5-10% lactic acids, salicylic acid serums or glycolic acid masks. AND, use it only twice a month.

I don’t care who’s telling you to exfoliate your dry, acne-prone skin twice a week. It’s just too much for the drier side of your skin. And may even start to cause excessive irritation, sun sensitivity, and even skin peeling (and not the good one).

Here are a few exfoliators to add to your skincare routine for dry, acne-prone skin –

The only Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin that works

Ingredients to Look for in Skincare Products for Dry Acne-Prone Skin

Skincare Routine for Dry, Acne-Prone Skin

1. hyaluronic acid

This stuff is a game-changer! It helps to hydrate and plump up the skin without clogging pores. And who doesn’t want plump, hydrated skin? Sign me up!

2. niacinamide

Not only does it sound fancy, but it also works like putting gold onto the skin. It helps to soothe and reduce inflammation and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, solving acne and dry skin problems for real!

3. Ceramides

Ceramides are also a fantastic ingredient to look for. They help to restore and prop the skin’s natural barrier, which is always the end goal for dry, acne-prone skin. Plus, they sound awesome, which is always a plus in my book.

4. Salicylic acid

Another wonderful ingredient for dry acne-prone skin is the infamous SA. It’s a wonder product that can exfoliate the skin and unclog pores so gently and effectively that acne almost fear it!

5. Aloe vera

A classic ingredient that can help soothe irritated skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help calm down any redness or inflammation caused by acne breakouts.

6. Centella Asiatica

Also known as Cica, it is another great ingredient to look for. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help to soothe and repair damaged skin.

Ingredients to Avoid in Skincare Products for Dry Acne-Prone Skin

1. alcohol

This ingredient can be super drying, which is not what you want if you already have dry skin. Plus, it can strip away your skin’s naturally amazing oils, making it even more drier and acne-prone.

2. fragrance

While it might make your skincare products smell nice, fragrances have always been known to irritate the skin. And when you’re dealing with acne-prone skin, it’s the last thing you want to do.

3. Sulfates

They can be super harsh on the skin, and can strip away your skin’s natural oils. Moreover, they can be irritating to the skin, which can make acne breakouts worse.

4. Essential oils

They might sound nice, but they can actually be super irritating to the skin. In fact, there’s a huge list of essential oils that are comedogenic, which means they can clog pores and lead to more breakouts.

5. Silicones

Yes, they sure make your skin feel silky smooth, and that sh*t can also clog your pores really badly. So is that what you want for your dry, acne-prone skin?

6. mineral oil

This ingredient can be highly comedogenic and is abso-freakin-lutely not good. Not to forget, it can be super heavy and greasy, which is never a good sight!

Final thoughts on skincare routine for dry, acne-prone skin

As we have seen, keeping a regular skincare routine for dry, acne-prone skin can be difficult but is absolutely worth the effort. Having a thorough and personalized routine will help your skin balance its natural oils, moisturize correctly, and reduce breakouts – all of which make for happier skin and more confidence!

With knowledge about the products and ingredients that are best for dry acne-prone skin, you can put together a skincare ritual that will make you feel beautiful, nourished, and empowered.

Don’t forget: no matter what your skin type or condition may be, itโ€™s important to listen to your body and give it the care it needs to be healthy from the inside out.

Happy pampering, gorgeous! xo

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