Acne & Dry skin: 7 common questions

acne dry skin

Do I have dry skin, regular skin or oily skin? What is a combination skin?

Here is a quick way to determine if your skin type is dry, regular, oily or combination skin. Wash your face with a mild soap (not medicated), pat it dry, and don’t use any skin care products. How does your skin look 2 hours later?

If your skin is very shiny as if you applied oil on your face = very oily skin
If your skin is just somewhat shiny = oily skin
If your skin is not shiny, just a normal healthy glow = regular skin
If your skin is a bit dry -- you have dry skin
If your skin is flaky rough and red = very dry skin.
If some areas (usually the forehead, nose, chin (T-Zone) are shiny and your cheeks are dry,
you have “Combination skin”.

I've been using a cleanser and it's made my skin dry, itchy and sore. Do you think I should try sensitive products?

Based on your description you may have sensitive/dry skin. In this case, you need to aware of a few things. 1. When you wash your skin, use a very small amount of a very mild creamy cleanser dry skin cleanser. 2. If you use an anti-acne gel choose a low percent 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and apply it for no more than 2 hours a day. 3. In the morning you need to use an oil-free moisturizer to replenish the humidity of your skin. The MDacne products have been formulated to be personalized to different kinds of skin types including dry skin. Once you subscribe to MDacne the app will assess your skin and you will be provided with a cleanser, anti-acne cream and moisturizer that are customized to your exact skin type.

Does steam dry out your skin, even though it unclogs your pores?

Steam is actually water. If done right it will not dry your skin. All you need to do is limit the time you are exposed to the steam. One way to steam your skin and unclog pores is to boil a pan of water. Place your face, a foot, and a half over the pan. A towel on your head will help to direct the steam to your skin. Since it is possible to get burned from steam, make sure to not put your face too close to the steam. Expose your face to the steam for no more than five minutes. When you’re finished, pat your face dry with a clean towel. Another option to "steam" your face is to have a 20-minute hot bath. It's a great stress remover and will help loosen unclog your pores.

How can I balance my skin when it gets super dry from using products and cleansers, etc., but then breaks out when using moisturizers?

To prevent dryness and still get the anti-acne benefits you need to look at all the products you are using. 1. Need to use ONLY mild cleansers. Use very small amounts. 2. Your anti-acne night cream should not be too drying. If you use benzoyl peroxide - 2.5% is enough. 3. Very important. Even if you have oily skin you to in the morning an oil-free moisturizer. 4. Do not use anti-acne scrubs, peeling masks and exfoliators. These can dry and irritate your skin and will not help with your acne, using acne cleansers and anti-acne creams (salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide) dry out the skin and damage its protective layer.

I'm using 10% benzoyl peroxide, but think I started way too high. My face is extremely flaky and dry! Should I stop altogether, or use 2.5 or 5% instead?

10% benzoyl peroxide is definitely too high for the face. The best way is to start low with 2.5%. In the first week start with a small quantity and use an oil-free moisturizer in the morning. In most people, this should be enough. If you do not see improvement in 6-8 weeks you may need to switch to 5%. Check your personal plan on the app for specific product suggestions for your skin.

Benzoyl peroxide burned my neck area and I am peeling, dry, and tight. What should I do?

Benzoyl peroxide is the single most effective anti-acne topical ingredient. The American Academy of Dermatology acne treatment guidelines place benzoyl peroxide on the top of the list of suggested anti-acne medications. Other ingredients such as retinoids (Differin, adalapene) and azelaic acid are significantly less effective for treatment of active acne. To your question: The skin around the mouth and on the neck, is very sensitive. Do NOT apply creams with benzoyl peroxide (or adalapene) to these areas. Wash your hands after you use these creams. This will avoid touching, and spreading the creams to the neck by mistake.

To find the right acne treatments for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by clicking here.

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