Why do I have acne? I don’t have oily skin!

  • By Sheridan Rollard of shine skin and body

Acne is often associated with oily skin so it may be a surprise when you have  dry skin and you start getting breakouts. While oily skin is a common culprit for acne, it’s not the only one. People with dry skin can also get breakouts. If your skin is naturally on the dry side or your dry skin is a new development due to your acne treatments or skin care,  you need to treat your acne differently. 

How can you tell the difference between true oily skin and dry skin masquerading as oily skin?

A true oily skin will produce oil all day, from the moment you wake up, stripped skin will produce oil from lunch time or after.

When you strip your skin’s barrier with products which are too harsh your skin loses the ability to retain hydration, this is called trans epidermal water loss and the resulting lack of hydration causes your body to kick into self preservation mode and it produces more oil to compensate. (it normally produces enough oil to show by the afternoon-hence oily only later in the day)

So what causes Oily skin acne?

Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much oil (known as sebum). Combined with a build up of unshed skin on the top layer this results in the oil being trapped in the pore, building up to cause the blackheads and whiteheads

What are the most common reasons for dry skin acne?

  • Food intolerance hormones and other gut and internal issues   You have a normal to dry skin naturally and your acne is caused from another cause  stress, gut, food intolerances, hormones. There is none to only a little oil involved here.
  • Make up The ingredients in your makeup can also be a cause. 
  • Lack of exfoliation The skin is so dry that many unshed layers have accumulated on the surface.  If you don’t exfoliate with the right products, this unshed skin can block your pores, causing oil to become trapped underneath and a lack of oxygen causing bacteria to grow and spread causing congestion and pimples.

It is important to have the right type of exfoliation, for some people this may be a physical exfoliation, others an acid, depending on what is happening with your skin have a manual (physical) exfoliation can help with any dry skin blocking your pores. 

  • Harsh skin care products  Overuse of acne products can leave your skin irritated and dry. If you feel like your skin is oily in the afternoon, this is a sign that you have stripped your skin with products that are too harsh.

With acids you either want to hold off using them, or use them in the right place. You will get more benefit using acids as a leave on serum rather than a wash off cleanser.  Also using your treatments every other day or just three days a week initially and build up to using them every day as your skin adjusts. Another trick is also applying strong products to actual blemishes or in the problem area, rather than your entire face.

How can you manage dry skin while getting breakouts under control?

It takes a step by step process as you improve one thing at a time. Hydrating your skin too fast and can cause a breakout.

The first step is to find out what is causing the damage and stop it

Everyone’s skin is different, so a product that works for one person might not work for you, it is always good to consult a professional.

This is where an in-depth facial consultation will help you get the answers to the cause. Finding the cause will help you find a solution.

Treating acne in dry skin can be challenging. Many of the acne skin care products you find over the counter are generally made for oily skin and can be way too drying for dry skin.

You need products that won’t further dry out your skin. This means either balancing out how much acid you use or not using any at all.  A lot of people think because they experience breakouts that they need to use acid to help clear up their acne. This is not true in many cases you are actually making it worse.

The second step is to rebuild and rebalance the skin’s barrier and hydrate your skin

Avoid heavy skin care products. We would normally put you on products that are only ¼ or ½  strength of what you need, then change your products when you need a new container. If we over hydrate your skin too fast the richness of the products may cause you to breakout more. With dry acne we prefer to recommend more lighter layers  (i.e toner, serum, medium weight moisturiser) than fewer heavy layers (heavier creams and night creams).

The third step is to clear out the congestion

Multiple and regular facials spaced out at 2 to 4 weeks at first and then as your skin improve you can space them out to 4 to 6 weeks.  Click here to book our most comprehensive facial the Shine Skin Solutions

The last step is to get onto a healthy skincare routine specifically for your skin

At Shine we stock different brands to ensure we can treat all skin types and concerns as best as possible. To take advantage of this we have created our own skincare kits to target the skin concerns that we see the most. All our kits include a 20% discount. 

Our dry acne kit includes (click here to buy)

  • Gentle clean cleanser
  • Jungle brew
  • Remedy serum


Shine skin and body is located at 323 Swan street richmond www.shineskinandbody.com.au