Acne is a common skin condition that often links with oily skin. But plenty of people with dry skin experience acne breakouts. Acne-prone dry skin can be harder to care for since many acne products tend to dry out the skin even more.

But with the right skin care routine, caring for acne-prone and dry skin is possible.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about dealing with acne when you have dry skin.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, clogged pores are one of the main causes of common types of acne, like blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

Certain skin care products, like sunscreen, may be more likely to clog pores than others, so opting for noncomedogenic products can be important.

“Noncomedogenic” means the product is specifically formulated not to clog pores, which can help reduce the likelihood of breakouts.

Alcohol and acetone are two common ingredients in acne-fighting products.

But these products can strip the skin of natural moisture, which can further dehydrate already dry skin.

Instead, consider using products containing salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and niacinamide, which can be effective at treating acne without causing excessive dryness.

Moisturizing is crucial for dry skin, and it’s equally important when managing acne. Using a daily moisturizer that won’t lead to breakouts can help keep skin hydrated without clogging pores.

A noncomedogenic moisturizer that doesn’t contain pore-clogging ingredients may be right for you.

Be sure to avoid:

  • lanolin
  • mineral oil
  • petrolatum
  • coconut oil

Even acne products that don’t contain overly drying ingredients, like alcohol or acetone, can dry the skin, so replenishing your skin’s moisture barrier can help prevent further dryness.

It may be a good idea to choose moisturizers specifically formulated for dry, sensitive skin that contain ingredients like glycerin and shea butter, which can help lock in moisture.

When treating dry, acne-prone skin, avoiding harsh products that can further dry out your skin is essential.

Instead, choosing formulas that come in lotion, cream, or ointment form may be a good idea. Using liquid or pads can be overly drying.

Exfoliating can be a powerful addition to a skin care routine for dry, acne-prone skin, as it can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. But using a harsh scrub can further irritate your already dry skin and worsen acne breakouts.

Instead, opt for a gentle exfoliant, like a chemical exfoliant containing alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids. These ingredients can help gently remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover without stripping your skin of its natural oils.

Cleansing is an essential step in any skin care routine. Washing helps remove bacteria and irritants that can cause breakouts, but overwashing can lead to dryness.

Consider products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can help hydrate your skin while removing dirt and oil.

Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin hydrated from the inside out, which can be especially beneficial when you have dry skin.

A 2018 research review showed that increasing your fluid intake can help reduce skin dryness. This can be a big deal since 2011 research showed that having dry skin can cause excessive oil production, contributing to acne.

Aim to hydrate regularly, and consider incorporating hydrating foods, like watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries, into your diet.

Coping with acne-prone, dry skin can be challenging, but it may be possible.

Following a gentle skin care routine that prioritizes hydration and avoiding harsh, drying products can help you manage acne breakouts while keeping your skin healthy and moisturized.

Remember to be patient and consistent with your skin care routine, and consult a dermatologist if you have severe acne breakouts that don’t respond to at-home care.