(This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure policy here.)
Excess oil in the skin is the perfect ground for acne to break out. On the other hand, acne can appear on dry skin too. Acne in oily skin is called oily skin acne and when it appears in dry skin, you can refer to it as dry skin Acne.
Acne found in dry or oily skin conditions is not the same, which originates a question: what are the differences between dry skin acne and oily skin acne?
Dry skin acne tends to have a dull appearance, while oily skin acne is shinier with excess redness. The oily skin acne also looks more prominent compared to dry skin acne. Moreover, breakouts in dry skin are less severe than in oily skin.
You will need different treatments for different skin acne. How to know what skin type you have and what are the treatments for oily skin acne and dry skin acne? Stay tuned with me till the end to find out.
Know Your Skin Type: Top 3 Methods
You need to know your skin type before you start treating acne. While dry and oily skin is most common, there are several other skin types.
What are the most common skin types? They are:
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Normal skin
- Sensitive skin
But how do you find out which skin type you have? Although many find it tough to determine their skin characteristics, the processes are quite simple.
You can follow any of the methods below to know your skin type:
Method 1: Identify Symptoms
First, you can tell your skin type from how your skin looks in daily life. Different skin types will have different characteristics.
If your skin gets shiny easily and you wear too much makeup to hide the flashy look, you probably have oily skin.
However, if only the T-zone of your face feels shiny, then you have combination skin. Then if you need to use a lot of moisturizers to keep your skin normal, then you have dry skin.
Furthermore, if your skin feels good and you have fewer blemishes without any treatment, then you have normal skin. Lastly, if your skin often reacts negatively to different products and environments, then you have sensitive skin.
Method 2: Cleansing & Observing
In the second method to know your skin type, first, cleanse your face with a mild face wash. Then wait for around 30 minutes.
Now, if you have oily skin, your face will feel shiny. But if your skin looks flaky and feels tight, then your skin is dry.
Then if you feel shiny in the T-zone but tight on the cheeks, you have combination skin. Lastly, if your skin feels comfortable and hydrated, your skin is normal.
Method 3: Blotting Sheets
If you feel confused while observing your skin after 30 minutes of cleansing, you can follow the blotting sheets method.
Take a blotting paper and press it on your face covering the whole area. Use multiple sheets if necessary.
Now, hold up the paper to light. Try to understand the oily marking on the paper.
If you see the whole paper absorbed oil, then you have oily skin. But if only the T-zone area of the sheet has oils, then it’s combination skin.
Nonetheless, the sheet will have little to no oil if you have dry skin and a normal amount of oil if you have normal skin.
Major Differences Between Dry Skin and Oily Skin
|Comparison Factors||Dry Skin||Oily Skin|
|Complexion||Dull & rough||Shiny & thick|
|Common blemishes||Visible lines, red patches||Blackheads, pimples|
|Prone to breakouts||Low||High|
What are the Differences Between Dry Skin Acne and Oily Skin Acne?
You are probably looking everywhere for some specific differences between oily skin acne and dry skin acne. But none of the people online gives you a solid answer.
Your search has come to an end as now I will be discussing the key differences between dry skin acne and oily skin acne:
Acne can be of various types, such as whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, papules, cysts, and many more.
Although all of this acne can appear in both skin types, blackheads and cysts tend to attack oily skin more. Whereas, whiteheads are more common to dry skin.
Acne on dry skin has a dull appearance, while oily skin acne looks shinier. Moreover, oily skin also tends to have excess redness, which makes acne more noticeable. But dry skin acne usually does not have such issues.
Oily skin acne also tends to be bigger due to the larger pores of oily skin. But dry skin has tiny pores, and that makes dry skin acne smaller. The difference is not much, though.
The problem with oily skin acne is that it can appear anywhere on your face. They also can appear on your body. Dry skin acne can also occur everywhere, but they are most likely to affect the T-zone of your face.
Excess sebum production and bacteria infections are two of the common reasons why acne occurs. These things mostly happen in oily skin.
Thus, oily skin acne is more severe and can appear in large amounts. But dry skin acne usually appears in a lesser volume.
Possible Causes of Dry Skin Acne
Ceramides, lipids, and cholesterol hold the skin cells together. When there is a lack of these elements, dryness occurs and makes your skin flaky and cracky.
According to dermatologist Denny Engelman, MD, “Cracked skin is more vulnerable to infection from microorganisms—such as bacteria and fungus—because the skin barrier is not strong enough to protect itself, which can lead to increased breakouts.”
Another Dermatologist Diane Berson, MD, says, “Dry skin may lead to acne if you aren’t using the right skincare routine.”
Using a harsh moisturizer can interrupt the normal procedure of your skin to keep moisture in and get germs out. It hurts the sebaceous follicles or your skin pores, which leads to acne on dry skin.
Acne on dry skin can also happen when sebaceous glands under your skin try harder to produce oil to keep your skin moisturized. The excess sebum and dead skin cells on your skin lead to more acne breakouts.
Possible Causes of Oily Skin Acne
Clogged pores are the main culprit behind oily skin acne. Excess oil, dead skin, and bacteria can cause pore block.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.”
First, excess oil or dead skin may clog the skin pores. Then bacteria infect the pores to form acne and lead to a breakout.
But exactly what is the relationship between oily skin and acne? Why does oily skin cause acne?
Sebaceous glands beneath the skin produce sebum to keep the skin moisturized and healthy. However, when the glands produce too much oil, it makes your skin oily. This excess oil plugs in the follicles and causes acne.
How to Prevent Acne if You Have Dry Skin?
Treating can be a little bit tricky if you have dry skin. But it is not rocket science, and you can always treat dry skin if you are careful.
Here are some tips to prevent acne if you have dry skin:
- Follow a single treatment
Dermatologist Charlotte Birnbaum, MD, suggests starting with a single dry skin acne treatment and sticking to it quite a few times. Trying different treatments at a time can worsen the situation.
- Use a mild cleanser
As I mentioned above, harsh skin products can cause breakouts. Hence, select a mild or gentle cleanser for your face to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized.
Dermatologist Rabach suggests choosing a milky-textured cleanser. That’s because such cleansers don’t strip off natural oils from your skin.
- Do not exfoliate
Exfoliation on dry skin can make your skin drier. People with oily skin may follow this method to eliminate excess oil; it can be harmful to people with dry skin.
Even if your skin starts feeling a little bit oily, do not be scared. Avoid over-exfoliating to treat your dry skin acne.
- Use face wash once a day
Using face wash can also make your skin drier and increase breakouts. That’s why I will suggest you use face wash once a day. If it’s necessary, you may go twice a day. But ensure that you are not using oil cleansing face wash.
- Be selective for acne care products
Most acne products I found on the market are for people with oily skin. Using them will not help you. In fact, they can worsen the situation. That’s why be selective when picking acne care products for dry skin.
- Moisturize regularly
You may think using moisturizer may cause more breakouts, but that’s not true. Engelman says that moisturizers can bring back natural moisture to the skin leading to reducing inflammation or breakouts.
How to Prevent Acne if You Have Oily Skin?
You need to follow different skin care tips if you have oily skin. But it’s not tough as you can easily find oily skin acne care products on the market.
Here are a few tips to prevent acne if you have oily skin:
- Cleanse your skin regularly
It is essential to cleanse your skin regularly to treat oily skin acne. While people with dry skin should cleanse once a day, you need to cleanse at least two times a day if you have oily skin. It will help you remove excess oil and dust from your skin.
Again, exfoliation is not good for dry skin but is recommended for oily skin. It is one of the best skin treatments to remove excess sebum or oil.
Usually, I would say once or twice a week is enough, but if your skin two is too oily, you can exfoliate thrice a week.
- Use toner
Using a toner is a great way to reduce oil from the skin and fight acne. However, dermatologist Cambio recommends using toner only on the T-zone of your face. That’s because usually, oils build up most on that area of your face.
Besides dry skin, people with oily skin also need to use moisturizer. I know your skin is producing excess oils, but moisturizer is essential for all skin types to keep them smooth. It won’t create any acne problem, but it will treat them.
- Topical retinoids
There is no concrete evidence of retinoids reducing the excess sebum. But they help to reduce the enlarged pore size on oily skin.
It helps to prevent acne in a way that larger pores produce higher sebum. However, people with dry skin should avoid this as they already have smaller pores.
- Products with active ingredients
Most dermatologists agree that products with active ingredients 5% benzoyl peroxide are best to fight acne. It works well on all types of acne-prone skin, including oily and dry.
However, do not use topical retinoids with benzoyl peroxide. If you are using benzoyl peroxide in the morning, use topical retinoids at night.
- Use oil-free sunscreen
Exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to your skin and cause breakouts. Hence, always try to use sunscreen when going out. Be sure to pick an oil-free sunscreen as you have oily skin.
Skincare Solutions for Dry Skin Acne and Oily Skin Acne
If you are looking for skincare product recommendations for your acne, then I will have to disappoint you. I don’t want to recommend any specific product because the same product can be good for someone but may not work well.
However, I have seen CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser work well for people with dry skin. It keeps your skin hydrated and healthy and prevents dry skin acne.
But for oily skin, I will say La Roche-Posay Effaclar Dermatological 3 Step Acne Treatment System is one of the best. It helps to reduce excess oil and treat acne.
These products work well for most people. But may or may not work for you. That’s why it’s best to consult a dermatologist for picking a commercial product.
However, you can try some home remedies to treat your acne. These remedies work well for everyone. You can try all the solutions unless you have an allergy to a particular ingredient.
Let’s have a look at the acne care home remedies for different skins:
Home Remedies for Dry Skin Acne
Besides a proper skincare routine, the following home remedies can help you treat dry skin acne:
- Essential oils
Applying tea tree essential oils or jojoba oil can help you moisturize your face to reduce acne. They include antibacterial compounds that eliminate the bacteria that cause acne.
- Lukewarm water
You also can try cleansing your face with lukewarm water. It makes your skin feel soothing and relaxing. You can try it twice a day for the best results.
Humidifiers release steam to increase the moisture in the air. It may help your skin not to get too dry.
Home Remedies for Oily Skin Acne
You have a lot of home remedy options for oily skin. Here are a few:
Honey has antibacterial and antiseptic ingredients that can be beneficial to acne-prone skin. Apply a thin layer of honey on your skin. Keep it for 10 to 15 minutes, and then wash with warm water.
- Lemons and eggs
Egg whites and lemons can help you tighten your pores. Mix 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of squeezed to make a paste. Apply on your face and keep the mask on until it dries. Then wash your face with warm water and pat with a dry towel.
Almonds are a great natural exfoliator. You can add raw honey with grind almonds to make it more effective. Apply the mixture on your face and keep it for 15-20 minutes before washing off.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera helps to soothe skin burns caused by acne. Apply a thin layer of Aloe Vera gel at night before sleeping. Keep it the whole night and wash it in the morning.
Oatmeal exfoliates the skin and also absorbs the excess oil. Mix a half cup of ground oats with hot water to make a thick paste. Then also, add a tablespoon of honey. Apply the paste on your face gently and wash after 5 to 10 minutes.
To conclude, there is not much difference between dry skin acne vs oily skin acne. But due to different skin types, they will require different treatments. If you are having an acne breakout, stick to your usual skincare routine and follow the tips above to treat acne.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
[…] are a few main differences between dry and oily skin acne. Excess sebum production is one of the causes of acne. However, this doesn’t mean that dry […]