How to Deal With Acne If You Have Dry Skin

July 26, 2016
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
How to Deal With Acne If You Have Dry Skin

Acne is a condition typically associated with oily skin, but—contrary to what you may have been told—dry skin types are not immune to a complexion laden with zits. All skin types can suffer from acne, and unsurprisingly, treating acne on dry skin can prove to be quite challenging. Why? For starters, many commercial acne-fighting products are formulated for oily, acne-prone skin types and have the potential to be too drying and irritating for dry-skinned folks. But like they say: If there’s a will, there’s a way. Ahead, tips to help you tackle blemishes on dry skin. 


When your skin is plastered with pimples, a harsh cleanser will only make the situation worse…a lot worse. Reach for a non-foaming, cream cleanser, like SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, that’s mild and (of course) formulated for dry, sensitive skin to help remove impurities without drying out your complexion. We love that it contains soothing emollients and skin conditioning ingredients to calm skin and prevent potential sensitivity. Use it twice daily (or as tolerated) by applying a small amount of product to a wet face and neck with light circular motions.

Helpful tip: Don’t over-wash your skin, which may strip away the oil your skin needs to protect it from dryness. Also, steer clear of hot water (think: steamy showers) and instead opt for lukewarm water when cleansing.   


All skin—covered in zits or not—needs moisture. If you have dry skin, it’s especially important to use moisturizer daily to keep it from drying out more. Instead of using a thick, oil-based formula that could irritate your acne, opt for a lightweight, oil-free blend that’s formulated for dry skin. (Side note: Steer clear of moisturizers formulated for acne-prone skin as they may contain ingredients that can further dry out the skin.) We recommend Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream for Dry Skin. Not only does an application help lock in 24-hour moisture, it also helps defend skin against external aggressors—think: stress and pollution—that can strip skin of its vital hydration and wreak havoc. 


Acne treatments are notoriously drying (hello, benzoyl peroxide!), so tread lightly and only use them as directed. If your skin is getting irritated or becoming overly dry, cut down the frequency at which you apply spot treatments or stop use altogether. When in doubt, always consult a dermatologist for personalized advice. 

Need help choosing a spot treatment? We’ve laid out some of our favorites, here!


Think acne on your complexion is an excuse to skip SPF? Think again. Use an oil-free, non-comedogenic, broad-spectrum sunscreen—like Vichy Idéal Capital Soleil SPF 45—that can help defend skin against damaging sun rays without leaving behind a greasy, white residue. If it’s cold or windy outside, layer up with hats and scarves to protect skin against additional moisture loss.

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