People generally associate oily skin with acne, but dry skin can be a cause of breakouts, too. Acne occurs whenever the hair follicles in your skin get clogged. Though oil is a frequent culprit, dead skin cells, cosmetic products, dirt and bacteria also can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Dry skin usually means damaged skin. Your skin relies on its lipid layer to keep out potential irritants, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, and to maintain consistent cell turnover. When your skin becomes dry, its ability to perform these tasks is limited, causing buildup of skin cells on the surface of the skin that can easily become irritated and inflamed, creating a potential breeding ground for acne.
The outermost layer of the skin acts like a barrier between you and the outside world. Medically, this is referred as the skin barrier function. To get an idea of how it works just image a brick wall. The cells are like bricks and the natural oils in your skin are the mortar that binds them together. The cells that act like bricks are filled with water and fats to the point where they are swollen. This swelling is good because it packs the cells tightly together and makes it hard for anything to penetrate the barrier. The fats on top of your skin are also a natural water barrier. When you wash your face with soap or other harsh cleanse, the detergent strips away lot of the natural oils from the skin. It strips away the mortar that holds the bricks together. This also allows water to evaporate out of the skin. When this happens repeatedly the cells in the skin barrier lose water and shrivel so the barrier becomes less effective, allowing even more moisture to escape the skin. In the end your skin becomes dry, and if the situation gets even worse, the skin starts flaking. Soaps and detergents are just one of the various causes of dry skin. But regardless of the cause the basic mechanism remains the same.
For some people dry skin causes itching and other annoyance while other people barely even notice it. But in all cases dry skin can make your skin more prone to breaking out. Any injury to the skin barrier function causes an immediate immune response. The skin barrier function is vital for your survival and your body tries to repair it immediately. Immune response of course means more acne-causing inflammation in the skin. Weakened skin barrier also allows bacteria and chemicals to penetrate deeper into the skin. The skin becomes more vulnerable to infections from acne-causing bacteria. And pollution and chemicals in skin care products may penetrate the skin. Both of these things mean more inflammation in the skin. So if you are looking to get clear skin it’s in your best interest to deal with dry skin and have healthy skin barrier. Below some common factors that can contribute to dry skin:
- Soaps and cleansers with harsh detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Benzoyl peroxide, retinoids and other topical acne drugs may cause dry skin.
- Cleansers that are too alkaline, look for pH-balanced products.
- Winter and low humidity. Very dry environment can suck moisture out of the skin.
- Long hot showers and baths.
- Chemical irritants in personal care and household products. One example is laundry detergent residues.
- Some medications, such as Accutane.
What You Can DO
The obvious first step is to remove the irritant or factor that causes dry skin. Sometimes that’s possible, it’s easy to stop using soap or switch to a milder cleanser. But sometimes it’s not. Like what are you going to do about the dry climate in winter, or maybe there just aren’t suitable alternatives to the product that irritates your skin.
Some tips to help with acne:
- Choose your cleanser well: Cleansers are another product that needs careful consideration. Like moisturizers and other products for acne treatment, they can be extremely drying. Non-foaming cleansers are a great option as they are less drying than cleansers that foam. Remember that if you are using a topical medicated ointment, cream or lotion for acne, use a non-medicated cleanser. If you are planning on using a medicated one, you better consult your skin specialist first! Try Shangpree S-energy Cleansing Gel, this non-stripping oil based cleanser will effectively cleanse thanks to hydrating and nourishing ingredients like olive oil, panthenol, and sage extract. Lavender helps to calm the skin while balancing out excess oil.
- Do not over wash: Over washing your skin strips it off the natural oils and moisture that it has. If you are using a cleanser, wash your face just once a day with it. In the evenings, after you have removed your make-up, a few splashes of water should be enough to get the dirt off your skin. This way, you keep your skin clean and do not make it any drier than it already is.
- Use lotions and creams to treat acne: Although most acne treatments are drying, there are those that are less drying than others such as ointments, lotions and creams. You will most probably prefer the way your skin feels after using them. Always make sure that no matter what type of treatment you use, you do NOT use more than what the directions for use say. Contrary to what you think, it will not have a better effect on your skin or get rid of your acne problem sooner.
- Moisturize regularly: You need to moisturize your skin daily to keep it from drying. How do you prevent an acne breakout and still moisturize? Simple! All you need to do is be careful of the type of moisturizer you use. You can use those that are for sensitive skin as they are light and still effective. You may be tempted to use moisturizers that are meant for acne-prone skin but that would be a huge mistake as they are extremely drying. We love the mega hydrating Shangpree BITGOA Hue Rich Cream, it’s packed with glycerin, and hyaluronic acid soften and replenish moisture. Niacinamide fades hyperpigmentation and leaves the skin glowing. Fermented extracts feed the skin with nutrients, brighten, and improve the skin’s texture.
- Always protect your skin from the elements: If you are planning to take a walk on a windy, cold day, do not forget to protect your skin against the wind. Hats and scarves are a must on those cold days as your skin can get depleted of the moisture it already has. And do not think it is safe to walk without protection on a sunny day. You will still need nonacnegenic or noncomedogenic sunscreen to protect your skin.
- Exfoliate: Exfoliating with gentle chemical exfoliators like AHA OR BHA (try Mizon AHA BHA Daily Clean Toner) which increases cell turnover and reduces the buildup of dry skin cell. When you help dry skin shed dried up, dead skin cells, it makes room for plumper moisture filled skin cells to come to the surface , which lends a fresher look to the skin, allows moisturizers to more easily penetrate the skin and helps reducing the chance of pores becoming clogged and creating blackheads, whiteheads and causing breakouts. In short, this is very important to keep skin healthy and helps nourish the skin by prepping it for absorption of moisturizing ingredients helping skin stay healthy and hydrated.
- Tomato Pulp: Studies have established that the acidity in tomatoes helps the skin dry up acne. This vegetable also is rich in Vitamin A, C and K that is known to be found in most over the counter acne lotions and creams. Slice open a tomato, and liberally scrub it on your face. Alternatively, you can also mash up the tomato and apply it as a face pack and repeat for a few weeks till you see the difference.
- Potato: Vitamin C in potatoes helps in boosting the production of collagen and also prevents as well as heals damage caused from the harmful rays of the sun. Vitamin B in potatoes help in skill regeneration and the niacin in this root vegetable helps in lightening the skin.
- Lemon Juice: Lemon is highly acidic and dries up acne on the spot. Squeeze lemon juice on to cotton balls and apply on problem areas, this will help clear your skin.
- Garlic: Garlic has been long associated with skin treatment. Easy to procure and store, there is no better alternative to garlic. Garlic contains sulphur, zinc calcium, and allicin all known to possess anti fungal and antibiotic properties. Crush garlic and cloves with some water and apply the paste on your face. Wash after a few hours.
- Cucumber: This vegetable acts as a coolant to the skin and alleviates skin irritation and other symptoms. Grind and apply as a paste to moisturize your skin and remove excessive oil.
Skin is a flexible, strong yet sensitive organ and needs to be taken care of really well. A good skin care routine helps skin rebalance, detoxify, replenish and rejuvenates. It might feel overwhelming to use so many products in your skin care regimen, but it actually takes just 5 minutes morning and night and once you see the difference that our products make, you will never go back to your old ways. Now this is a promise. Consistency is very important to maintain a beautiful, radiant and healthy skin.