Dry and Flaky Acne

When you develop acne on dry skin, the blemishes themselves are likely to be dry and flaky. This can make the bad experience of having acne even worse. Your blemishes may itch and will peel and flake when you try to apply moisturizer or makeup. However, with a few tips to reduce skin dryness, you'll be on your way to developing a smoother complexion.

Gentle Products

If your acne is dry and flaky, try using gentle skin care products. Irritating ingredients in many cleansers like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens and fragrances can make your skin inflamed and make your dry acne worse. Use a creamy acne cleanser formulated for sensitive skin and avoid benzoyl peroxide, if you can help it, since it dries out your skin. If following your cleanser with a toner, look for one that's water-based to avoid the further dryness and flaking that an alcohol-based toner could cause.

Acne Medications

Acne medication is sometimes required to treat dry and flaky acne 2. After visiting your dermatologist, you're likely to get a prescription for a medication that suits the severity of your breakouts. A topical retinoid or antibiotic may help moderate acne. However, if your acne is severe, with large cysts that peel and flake regularly, an oral medication like Accutane may do the trick. Just be warned that this drug can dry out your skin, so be prepared to moisturize heavily with a noncomedogenic lotion.

Importance of Hydration

If you have dry acne, you could also have dry skin. Otherwise, your dry, flaky acne might have been caused by the acne treatments you're using. Applying an oil-free moisturizer each time you cleanse your skin will help to lock in moisture and prevent peeling and flaking.

Lifestyle Changes

Changing how you function in day-to-day life can help ease your dry and flaky acne as well. For instance, wash your skin with warm water, not hot. This will prevent the tightness and itching that can arise from washing with hot water. Likewise, wear an oil-free sunscreen whenever you go outside. Sun damage can dry out your skin further and even worsen your acne.


When your skin and acne is dry and flaky, all of that peeling skin can clog your pores and cause new blemishes to form. To combat this, use a mild exfoliant at least every other day to remove dead skin cells and to unclog your pores. A citrus or water-based toner will work as will the occasional at-home glycolic-acid chemical peel. Whatever you do, don't scrub your skin or your dry and flaky acne. Doing this will drive bacteria further into your pores and prolong the healing process.