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Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?



Dry skin CAN cause acne.

It is a myth that only people with oily skin suffer from acne breakouts.  Acne is caused bacteria trapped in clogged pores, and as is the case with dry skin, an excess of dry and dead skin cells can clog those pores.  To help manage dry skin acne breakouts, you need to slough off dead skin cells while maintaining moisturize, an often difficult task.

The caveat for dry skin sufferers with acne is that many topical acne treatments can further dry the skin creating additional dead skin cells.  Dry skin is also sensitive skin so many cleansing products will have a tendency to further dry the skin as well.

Dry Skin Is Unhealthy

Dry skin is not only itchy and uncomfortable, it is unhealthy.  Skin is the body’s protective barrier against germs and bacteria.  Dryness causes fissures and cracks in the skin through which bacteria can invade and cause infection.

How to Care for Dry Skin

A variety of factors can contribute to a dry skin problem including dehydration, environmental conditions, harsh cleansers, medications, and medical conditions.

Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can cause dry skin.  Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.  Your fluid intake needs vary depending on how much you lose through perspiration and urination, but on average equates to thirteen cups for men and nine for women. . [“Water: How much should you drink every day? ” Mayo Clinic]

Stop Stripping the Oils from Your Skin.   The skin is protected by a barrier of keratin and lipids that work together to keep the moisture in and the microbial invasions out.  Harsh cleansers, hot showers, and some cosmetic products can strip the lipids from your skin allowing moisture to evaporate and leaving you vulnerable to microbial invasions. [Larson, 251]

Keep Moisturized.  Treat you dry skin with moisturizers that add water and create barriers to retain moisture.  Moisturizers that add water will contain a humectant, such as glycerin, that will attract, retain, and hold moisture from the air.  Barrier moisturizers will contain ingredients such as petrolatum or silicone that will create a barrier to lock moisture in. Some moisturizers contain synthetic biometic lipids that are designed to replace missing lipids. [Larson, 251]

Protection from the Elements: Cold, harsh winds can dry out skin. Wear protective clothing against the elements.  Indoor elements such as a dry, hot house can also dry out your skin.  Keep your thermostat at a moderate temperature and use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.  [“Tips for Soothing Dry Winter Skin.” Harvard Health Publications]



“Water: How much should you drink every day? .” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2012.

Larson, EL. “APIC Guideline for Handwashing and Hand Antisepsis in Health Care Settings.” American Journal of Infection Control 23.1 (1995): 251-269. Print.

“Tips for Soothing Dry Winter Skin.” Harvard Health Publications. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 May 2012. <>.

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