Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?

Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?
by Truly Beauty

You might associate oily skin with acne, but can dry skin cause acne? If you’re experiencing dry skin and acne at the same time, you’re probably wondering why. After all, there’s no excess oil that’s going to clog your pores and trigger breakouts when you have dry skin, right?

In actual fact, lots of people with dry skin experience blemishes. Acne-prone dry skin is typically harder to treat since most acne products tend to dry out the skin further. With the right skincare products and routine, you can combat acne breakouts from dry skin.

So, does dry skin cause acne? Read on to find out everything you need to know about dealing with dry acne-prone skin.



Can Dry Skin Cause Acne?

Dry skin is just as susceptible to breakouts as oily skin types. Dry skin indicates that your skin lacks hydration. When skin becomes dry, your oil glands go into overdrive and produce excess sebum. Basically, your oil glands think they’re doing your skin a favor by producing extra oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. In reality, the combination of extra sebum production and dead skin cells can clog pores, resulting in pimples.

Breakouts from dry skin will look similar to other types of acne: red, inflamed bumps or blackheads and whiteheads. That buildup of dry, dead cells and sebum congests the pores, which can potentially trigger acne breakouts.



Why Does Dry Skin Cause Acne?

Dry skin can contribute to the development of acne, though it might seem counterintuitive since acne is often associated with oily skin. Here are three reasons why dry skin can cause acne.


#1. Impaired Skin Barrier Function

When the skin is dry, its barrier function is compromised. The skin barrier is responsible for protecting your skin from external irritants, bacteria, and toxins. When this protective barrier is weakened, it can lead to inflammation and infection, creating an environment where acne-causing bacteria can thrive. Poor skin barrier function also leaves skin prone to moisture loss—paving the pathway to excess oil production and ultimately blemishes.


#2. Increased Sebum Production

Dry skin can lead to increased sebum (oil) production. When the skin is overly dry, it sends signals to the sebaceous glands to produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. This overproduction of sebum can clog pores, trapping dead skin cells and bacteria inside, resulting in acne breakouts.


#3. Accumulation of Dead Skin Cells

Dry skin often leads to an accumulation of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. These dead skin cells can clog pores, similar to how excess sebum does. When pores are clogged with dead skin cells, it creates an ideal environment for acne-causing bacteria to multiply, leading to inflammation and breakouts. 


#4: Heavy Moisturizers

In some cases, dry skin treatments can contribute to or exacerbate acne. If you’re using thick, comedogenic moisturizers, they’re likely to clog your pores and trigger breakouts. While moisturizer is essential for hydrating the skin and alleviating dryness, it’s imperative to use a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula that won’t congest your pores.



How to Treat Acne From Dry Skin

Can dry skin cause acne? Dry skin types can experience acne breakouts when there’s a surge in sebum, which happens when the oil glands go into overdrive to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin. Addressing dry skin through proper moisturizing and gentle skin care can help maintain a healthy skin barrier, regulate sebum production, and prevent the accumulation of dead skin cells—reducing the risk of acne. Here’s how to treat dry acne skin.


Step 1: Switch to a Gentle Cleanser

can dry skin cause acne | glass skin cleansing balm


Make the first step of your skincare routine as gentle and as hydrating as possible. Choose a fragrance-free cleanser formulated with soothing, hydrating ingredients like aloe, niacinamide, and natural oils. These will help to add moisture to the skin while balancing out sebum to maintain a clear complexion.

Avoid over-cleansing. According to dermatologists, you want to wash your face twice daily at most. Excessive washing can worsen breakouts by drying out and irritating skin. We recommend Truly’s Glass Skin Cleansing Balm. It’s infused with a lineup of hydrating, oil balancing ingredients like niacinamide, jojoba oil, shea butter, and aloe to gently cleanse your skin while drenching it in long-lasting dewy moisture.

Step 2: Spot Treat With Pimple Patches

Most acne treatments tend to dry out your skin, worsening breakouts. With a base of impurity-absorbing hydrocolloid, pimple patches help to heal blemishes without drying out other areas of your skin. While you can try a salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, you need to be careful not to apply it all over your skin otherwise you’ll exasperate dryness which can lead to an acne flareup.

We recommend Truly’s #Heart Your Imperfections Blemish Patches. They contain hydrocolloid to heal pus-filled pimples and prevent acne scarring. Plus, they look adorable!


Step 3: Moisturize

can dry skin cause acne | glazed donut face cream


Using a lightweight moisturizer is essential for treating acne caused by dry skin. It helps hydrate and rebalance the skin while fortifying skin barrier function. Additionally, it signals to your oil glands that your skin is well hydrated and doesn’t need any extra oil. To keep your skin happy, apply a moisturizer morning and night.

We recommend starting with Truly’s Glass Skin Facial Serum, which melts into skin with nourishing ingredients like niacinamide and jojoba oil. Then finish with a thin layer of Truly’s Glazed Donut Facial Glow Cream, which contains a base of shea butter and a blend of hydrating plant oils to lock in moisture and leave skin gleaming.


Step 4: Finish With Sunscreen

UV exposure damages skin cells which can lead to skin cancer. What’s more, sun exposure can dry out the skin and contribute to premature signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every morning to protect your skin against harmful UV rays. Make sure you choose a formula specifically formulated for the face.



Best Skincare Routine for Dry Acne Skin

To keep your dry skin clear and blemish-free, treat your skin to one of these moisture-drenching bundles.


Truly’s Glass Skin Set

can dry skin cause acne | glass skin set 


A 2-step routine to cleanse and hydrate your way to clear, glowing skin. You get: a cleansing balm + serum formulated with niacinamide, jojoba oil, and aloe to balance oil production, deeply moisturize the skin, and minimize pores while soothing active inflammation. It’s also fragrance-free, making it perfect for all skin types, including dry, sensitive skin.


Truly’s Glazed Donut Skin Set

can dry skin cause acne | glazed donut skin set


Skin feels instantly soft and nourished after using these glazed donut goodies. You get: a facial serum + cream enriched with grape seed oil, lavender, and vitamin E to drench skin in moisture, combat acne causing bacteria, and leave skin luminous. And because it’s fragrance-free, you don’t have to worry about it irritating or drying out your skin.



Can Dry Skin Make You Break Out?

Can dry skin cause acne? Dry skin may not be the exact cause of your acne but it can play a role in making you break out. By selecting the right skincare routine and products, you can care for your dry skin without triggering breakouts.

Stay away from harsh, drying soaps and exfoliators that can irritate and dry out your skin even more. Invest in a humidifier if necessary which will add moisture to the air. And choose skincare products that hydrate and repair the skin like niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter.

If you feel like you’ve tried every over-the-counter option available and you aren’t seeing results or you suspect you may have a skin condition, reach out to a board-certified dermatologist for advice. They’ll examine your skin and provide you with the best treatment plan.


For help choosing the best skincare products for your skin type and skin concerns, take the Truly Quiz.



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