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  • Samanta Stalde

Dry Skin Acne Vs Oily Skin Acne

Don't know the difference between dry and oily skin acne? This helpful guide has all you need to know about acne causes, treatments, etc.

Dry skin acne and oily skin acne are two seemingly opposite conditions that surprisingly share the same frustrating outcome; breakouts. For many, acne is a rite of passage during the turbulent teenage years, but it can persist well into adulthood, leaving both physical and emotional scars.

When you have blemishes they're usually caused by a mixture of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria. People with oily skin have excess oil on their skin's surface, which can lead to breakouts. However, even those with dry skin can experience acne. Well, understanding your skin type and the difference between dry and oily acne is the key to obtaining healthy, glowing skin.

To help distinguish between dry skin acne and oily skin acne, we have crafted this guide. Through our intensive research, we will provide you with the most optimal solutions for overcoming these issues.

So, read on and learn the differences between dry skin acne and oily skin acne, their causes and what you can do to tackle them!


What Causes Each Type Of Acne

1. Dry Skin Acne

If your face looks dry, flaky, red, or irritated, you might have dry skin. The dryness can make dead skin cells build up, blocking the pores and trapping bacteria inside. The leading causes of dry skin include;

  • Reduced sebum production: Sebum is an oil produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin. It helps to keep the skin moisturised and protected. However, when sebum production is reduced, the skin may become dry and more susceptible to inflammation and acne.

  • Dehydration: Insufficient water intake can lead to dehydrated skin, which can exacerbate dry skin conditions and contribute to acne development.

  • Harsh skincare products: Overusing products containing alcohol, strong acids, or other harsh chemicals can strip the skin of its natural oils, resulting in dryness and acne.

  • Environmental factors: Cold weather, low humidity, and exposure to harsh winds can also cause the skin to become dry and more prone to acne.

2. Oily Skin Acne

If your face is slick and glossy within a couple of hours after washing it, then chances are you have an oily skin type. Even if you wash off the oil temporarily, it will return to its original state soon. Oily skin often leads to acne breakouts due to clogged pores and trapped dirt. Well, there are some factors contributing to oily skin acne, including

  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, or due to certain medications can lead to increased sebum production, which can ultimately result in skin to more prone to acne.

  • Genetics: if you have a family history of oily skin or acne, chances are you may also have a predisposition for breakouts.

  • Diet: A diet high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and dairy products may contribute to increased oil production and acne development.


Pro Treatment Methods For Dry Skin Acne

Gentle Cleansing

Cleanse your skin gently, as harsh cleansers can strip away essential oils from the skin and cause dryness. For this purpose, you can use a mild, fragrance-free natural cleanser.

Use Non-Comedogenic Moisturiser

For dry skin, non-comedogenic moisturisers are essential, as they do not clog pores. We also recommend you look for ones that contain hyaluronic acid or ceramides to help keep the skin hydrated and moist.

Avoid Over-Exfoliation

Too much exfoliation can lead to further dryness and discomfort. To keep your skin healthy, practice gentle exfoliation no more than twice a week with products such as lactic acid or enzyme-based scrubs.


Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Doing this will help reduce the appearance of dry skin acne and prevent breakouts.

Consider topical treatments

Topical acne treatments, such as retinoids, azelaic acid, niacinamide, and gels, can help to reduce inflammation and promote skin cell turnover. However, the better is to use these treatments with a dermatology association, as some may dry out the skin even more.


Best Treatment Methods For Oily Skin Acne

Regular Cleansing

Use a gentle, oil-free salicylic acid cleanser twice a day to remove excess oil and impurities from the skin. Also, choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser to hydrate the skin without clogging pores.

Wash Your Face Twice Daily

It’s important to make sure you wash your face twice daily with a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Doing this can help remove excess dirt and impurities that clog pores and cause breakouts.

Use Blotting Paper

Typically, blotting paper is used to remove excess oil from the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of oily skin acne. Plus, It is advisable to minimize the amount of facial contact to prevent potential contamination.

This directive can be challenging as humans have the proclivity to touch their faces unconsciously. The hands act as a direction for microorganisms, impurities, and sebum, all of which can culminate in an undesirable accumulation of oil on the skin.

Consider Topical Treatments

There are several topical medications available to treat oily skin acne, such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoid creams. However, we recommend consulting a dermatologist before using these treatments to ensure they are right for you.

Try A Clay Mask

We all know that clay masks can help draw out impurities from the skin, making them an ideal solution for oily skin acne. For this purpose, you can use bentonite clay or kaolin clay to help reduce the appearance of breakouts and tighten the pores.

Add Green Tea To Your Routine

In-depth research has revealed that topically applying a 3% green tea emulsion to the skin can drastically reduce sebum production. Green tea contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and soothe irritation caused by oily skin acne. To use green tea to treat breakouts, simply steep a bag of green tea in water and apply it directly to the affected areas.


Symptoms Of Oily Skin Vs Dry Skin

Oily Skin Symptoms

Dry Skin Symptoms

​Excessively shiny or greasy appearance

Skin feels tight, especially after cleansing

Enlarged or noticeable pores

Flaky or scaly patches

Frequent acne breakouts

Itching or irritation

Makeup tends to slide off or not stay in place

Redness or inflammation

Skin feels oily to the touch

Fine lines or wrinkles appear more noticeable

Foods You Should Eat and Avoid if You Have Acne

For dry skin acne, it is important to maintain a balanced diet that includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. These include:

  • Salmon or other fatty fish

  • Avocado

  • Nuts & seeds

  • Olive oil

  • Leafy green vegetables

On the other hand, you want to limit foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids, sugary snacks, and processed grains.

For those with oily skin acne, it is important to cut down the consumption of dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. Also, try to limit your intake of saturated fats found in red meat and fried foods. Instead, focus on eating a diet full of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Eating foods high in antioxidants can also help reduce inflammation caused by breakouts.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is dry skin worse for acne?

No! Dry skin, sensitive skin, and oily skin can be prone to acne. It is important to understand your individual skin type and the causes of your breakouts in order to care for them properly.

What should I do if I have both dry and oily skin?

If you have combination skin (both dry and oily), it is essential to use products that suit both skin types. Look for a gentle cleanser and moisturiser that are formulated with gentle ingredients to avoid further irritation or dryness. Plus, you can use oil-free makeup products to help keep your skin balanced throughout the day.

Which skin type is more prone to acne?

Normally, oily skin tends to be more prone to acne as excess oil can clog pores and create an environment that is favourable for bacteria growth. However, dry skin can also experience breakouts if not properly moisturised or cared for.


Conclusion - The Bottom Line!

In a nutshell, both dry skin and oily skin can be prone to acne. It is important to understand your individual skin type and the causes of your breakouts in order to properly care for them. For those with combination skin, seek out products that are formulated for both dry and oily skin.

In addition, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and lean proteins can help to reduce inflammation caused by frequent breakouts. Lastly, be sure to choose skincare and makeup products that are labelled as noncomedogenic or oil-free in order to prevent clogged pores. With proper care and attention, you can tackle both dry skin acne and oily skin acne!

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the differences between dry skin acne and oily skin acne. Stay tuned for more articles about skincare!

Thanks for reading!

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