Acne medication drying out skin? Here’s what to do

Acne medication drying out skin

If you’re using an acne treatment your acne medication could be drying out your skin. This is how to handle it.

Acne medications and treatments such as retinol, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid and salicylic acid can all cause dryness, itchiness irritation, flaking and peeling. But you don’t have to suffer from dry skin while using them. You can combat the dryness by keeping your skin moisturized and by avoiding scrubs and other abrasive skincare products

Dry, peeling and flaky skin is a consequence of using certain products that are designed to treat acne. But just because know why this is happening doesn’t mean you’re ok with it.

There are products that dry out the skin and there are ways you can get moisture back into your skin without stopping your treatment.

This is article goes over how to deal with acne medication drying out the skin.

What to do if your acne medication drying out skin:

Cut out drying produces from your skincare regimen

These can include product such as astringents, oil-absorbing cleansers, drying lotions, drying pads or anything else that is designed to help you dry out your skin.

Removing your drying products or the time being will make your skin look and even heal better.

Your new acne treatment is already drying your skin out. The stronger the treatment the drier your skin can get.

You may even experience flaking or skin peeling because of this.

You don’t want to make this worse by allowing your regular products to dry out your skin also.

Moisture is key

Constant moisture is important because it will make sure that your skin doesn’t become dry and flaking.

If you’ve never used a moisturiser then this is the time to do so. Make sure you use an oil-free option which will help you prevent clogged pores from the oil.

If your light moisturiser isn’t doing the job then you can use a thicker option, don’t be scared to go heavy on the moisturizer. .

A good moisturiser would be a product that is fragrance-free, free from artificial colourants and hypoallergenic.

This is a good ultra-moisturizing choice.

Also, go for gentle cleansing products. These can be cream-based products as well as non-foaming products.

The foam washes usually have high levels of sulphates which dry out the skin making your skin look worse.

Good options to use are this facial cleanser or this non-drying face soap

Stop using scrubs of any of those other abrasive products:

Avoid using harsh exfoliators, especially the abrasive physical exfoliators, these can add damage to your already sensitive and dry skin. 

Unfortunately, you can’t use chemical exfoliators either, the acids in the formula won’t play nice with your newly sensitive skin.

Using these products will only cause further damage to your moisture barrier, this will leave your skin raw and irritated

For a good alternative option: (if you really feel that you need to do some exfoliating on your face ocassionaly) then it will be a good idea to use a clean soft washcloth with warm water on your face.

Be extra gentle when using this method. Your skin is more sensitive than normal.

Cut back on the skincare products:

Using too many products will have your skin feeling raw and irritated.

When you are using harsh acne treatments on your skin you need to be very careful with your skin.

Simplify your skincare routine by only using a gentle cleanser, the treatment, a moisturiser and some sunscreen.

You can use the products twice a day but if this gives you irritation less is more.

If your skin is getting initiated by the product instead of stopping it completely you should use it every other day rather, if even that is too much try using it for a couple of times a week.

When your skin starts to feel better while you’re on it then get back to the recommended dose.

Be sure to check with your dermatologist beforehand to make sure you’re doing this correctly.

Quick do’s and don’ts:

Do: If you haven’t started using the treatment yet build up your tolerance, wear it for short periods of time then wash it off.

Increase the amount of time you wear it as time goes by. 

Don’t: Overuse the product thinking it will heal the acne faster. This will only give you dryer, peeling, irritated skin.

Do: Avoid products that have fragrance, your skin is very sensitive at this point and fragrance will trigger a reaction in your skin causing acne.

Don’t: Use products that have comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients in them, these ingredients can include coconut oil. These will just clog up your pores and cause your acne to come right back.

The best order of application:

To ensure that the product can work exactly as it should be you need to apply the products in the right order.

This being the medication first, the moisturiser second and the sunscreen last.

Medication: Apply this directly to your clean skin, this is done to allow the medication to be fully absorbed by the skin

Moisturiser: Make sure that your moisturiser is a good one that will penetrate the skin and give you adequate hydration.

A good moisturizer will allow the hydration and moisture to properly penetrate the skin, it will lock everything in so your skin receives the maximum benefits.

Sunscreen: This is a very important product. In order for your skin to be protected from the sun after using the harsh drying acne medications, you need a good broad-spectrum SPF.

Go for an SPF of 30 or higher, using a moisturiser that contains SPF 15 isn’t enough, read more here

This sunscreen is well-loved and widely used.

Acne medication drying out skin

What is the best acne treatment?

It depends on your skin type, how potent you need the product to be and what you need the product to do.

There are a variety of products that can help with all kinds of acne so the best acne treatment will be different for everyone. Here are some options;

Salicylic acid: This ingredient is found in many acne treatments and it does well to treat your acne.

It helps regulate any abnormal cell shedding on your skin, it also helps to prevent clogged pores and prevent new acne from forming.

This is a chemical exfoliator so it helps dissolve your excess oil and dead skin cells, you can find this ingredient in acne washes

This well loved exfoliator contains salicylic acid

Glycolic acid: This is also a product that can be found in many face wash products that target acne. These resurfacing pads contain glycolic acid

It is also a type of chemical exfoliator but this type dissolves the glue between the old dead skin cells and the new fresh skin cells giving you a good exfoliation.

More on this acid here.

Benzoyl peroxide: The element that differentiates pimples from blackheads and whiteheads is the presence of acne-causing bacteria.

Acne causing bacteria can be found in pimples, that’s why they become inflamed.

Benzoyl peroxide works to kill off any acne-causing bacteria on your face. Unfortunately, this is an ingredient that can dry out the face

This acne wash contains benzoyl peroxide

Retinol creams: This is a wonder that can help with acne, uneven skin tone and even helps with ageing.

Retinol speeds up cell turnover on the skin exfoliating your skin and detoxing all the dormant acne under your skin.

It also helps decrease oil regulation helping to prevent any new acne from forming. It can cause purging, read more here

This retinol is well-loved and widely used.

How can I clear up acne fast?

If you need an overnight solution for your acne then I recommend the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

This is a cult favourite for a reason, this product will help you dry out your blemishes overnight. It also helps to balance the excess oil on your skin and prevents the spread of acne-causing bacteria on your face.

If you have whiteheads, blackheads or pimples this product will help reduce their appearance and make them disappear.

It can be used on dry, oily and sensitive skin types and works just as well on all. The product contains salicylic acid, calamine, glycerine to name a few.

Does Vaseline help dry skin?

Vaseline won’t be good for dry skin if used on its own.

Dry skin needs hydration and moisturisation, hydration is when water enters the cells and fills the cells with water. Moisturisation is when you seal in all that hydration.

Vaseline is an occlusive, it seals but does not hydrate.

If used on its own then Vaseline will seal dryness into your skin and won’t let any other products penetrate the skin. For it to work you need to add a hydrator before you use the vaseline.

A hydrator can include a humectant like glycerine or hyaluronic acid or a moisturizing cream that contains humectants, once this is all absorbed you can seal it all in with the Vaseline.

A great thing about Vaseline is that the molecules are too large to enter your skin so it won’t clog your pores. This is a great hyaluronic serum

At home LED face masks can also help with dry skin. This article looks at the best for dry skin.

Is Vaseline good for acne?

You can use Vaseline on acne if you use a hydrating moisturising acne treatment on the acne first.

If you popped a pimple and need it to heal you need to clean the area and use an acne treatment that will moisturise your skin, a good treatment to use is Neosporin.

You can then seal the treatment with Vaseline creating a barrier protecting from the outside and preventing you from touching the area.

Is Aloe Vera good for acne?

Yes, aloe vera is good for the face. It can be used on its own or in acne treatments.

This ingredient is gentle on the skin so it won’t likely give you the harsh side effects that other acne treatments can.

The plant is antibacterial so it will kill off any acne-causing bacteria on your face, it is also anti-inflammatory helping your acne calm down.

Using aloe vera on your acne this will reduce the pain, redness and the lifespan on your acne. This aloe vera gel is great to use on the skin.

How can we remove pimple marks?

After you’ve gotten rid of your acne you still may have to deal with scaring leftover from the acne.

There are different after-effects of having acne, dark spots and acne scarring.

Dark spots happen when the acne scabs up, drops off and leaves a patch of hyperpigmentation on your skin thus creating a dark mark.

If you develop scaring this means that the tissue is damaged or overgrown. Dark spots are easier to remove than scars.

Vitamin C is a great way to get rid of dark marks, this vitamin is known to even out uneven the skin tone, hyperpigmentation and brighten your skin.

Aloe Vera can also help improve the appearance of dark marks, if you use it on a regular basis you’ll see great results.

You can have a chemical peel done at your dermatologist’s office, this is a very intense type of exfoliation that peels away the top layer of your skin revealing new fresh even skin.

Retinol is something that can help with dark marks. The product will help speed up cell turnover, this helps bring new fresh skin cells to the surface, this will also improve the texture of your skin.

Laser can be done at a dermatologists office, this works well to get rid of any dead skin on your body. This process results in your skin growing new fresh cells, helping with acne scarring.

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