Help my thirsty skin clear up!
January 25, 2008 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Are there any good skin care products for people with very dry skin and breakouts?

I've always had pretty clear skin with a few problem areas, but with age, I'm getting more frequent breakouts(usually around my chin). I used to have a habit of leaning on my chin, but I'm ultra careful about touching my face now and still breakout. Of course stress and PMS contribute to the breakouts, but no products have really been that helpful because of my naturally dry skin(which gets even worse in the winter).

So my question is, with an array of insanely drying acne products on the market that work, what effective products can I use on my skin that won't make my face flake off?
posted by missjamielynn to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Upon reading yr 'more inside' my advice may be irrelevant. But I'll share it anyway (^_^). I have horrendously dry skin, in winter (my favorite season) my hands and feet (heels) crack and bleed. It's painful! I have used, probably, well over 100 products, I have been to MD's. What I stumbled upon (via a 'green' friend) may not work for everyone, but for me it's been a damn miracle. Badger Balm. Maybe it's the mix ratio of the product, the natural oils, or a placebo effect, but for the second winter now I swear by it. I placed a 50 dollar order in the fall, and that was one of the best investments of the past year. This page met all my needs.
posted by dawson at 4:17 PM on January 25, 2008

What areas of your face are more prone to the breakouts? Your t-zone (chin, nose, forehead)? Is the skin underneath the acne flakey and itchy?

If it's mostly your cheeks and forehead that's itchy-dry and your chin and nose that is acne-prone, then don't spread drying acne products over your whole face (most of the super powerful zit-fighting chemicals are over-zealous and dry everything out, like you've aready noticed). And don't spread thick moisturizers over your zits. Because I'm in love with Philosophy, I'd recommend the Makeup Option kit for dry skin, or even the original Makeup Optional kit, and On A Clear Day Blemish Serum to spot treat your acne.
posted by rhapsodie at 4:31 PM on January 25, 2008

Heck, if you live in a large-ish city and have a Sephora nearby, go down and ask! Ask for samples! Try products in the store and then walk away to see how it will work on your face!
posted by rhapsodie at 4:32 PM on January 25, 2008

Thanks so much for the suggestions!

I rarely get huge breakouts on the forehead and nose, it's mostly just the chin for some reason. Because of the whole drying aspect, I tried putting creams solely on the chin, but then I end up with a dry and red chin. When I moved on to just spot treatments on the pimples, it turned the dry red chin into flaky red dots. Icky.
posted by missjamielynn at 4:55 PM on January 25, 2008

You also may want to try washing your face with a milder soap when showering etc. I use Cetaphil (available in drugstores) for my face, generic bar soap for everywhere else. It doesn't have any perfumes, astringents or detergents that can irritate or dry your skin out.
posted by bakertim at 5:00 PM on January 25, 2008

I use Cetaphil facial wash, the one for normal to oily skin, even though I have dry skin, and it doesn't dry my skin out at all. I, too, only started having breakouts in recent years.
posted by essexjan at 5:06 PM on January 25, 2008

I used to have really flaky skin every winter, and still break out regularly. This winter, I've been washing my face only about other day, and not wearing makeup, and even though it's -3 out, my face isn't flaky at all. I still break out occasionally, but for the most part my skin is clear and soft.

It sounds like you're being overly aggressive towards your breakouts - if you bomb your pimples with spot treatments, they will get flaky as they heal. Try cutting down on the anti-blemish products you're currently using -- anything that contains salycylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, etc.

It might also help to use different moisturizers for different parts of your face - an oil-free, light moisturizer for the areas that are prone to breakouts, and a heavier moisturizer for drier areas.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:38 PM on January 25, 2008

I use straight jojoba oil when my skin gets really dry and flaky.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 6:11 PM on January 25, 2008

This site might be helpful: Cosmetics Cop. The section under learn called "Skin Care Facts" gives specific information on what to use for particular skin types or problems. The woman who runs it has her own line, but just reading about what ingredients and processes are best -- and what is actually going on with the skin when it gets dry -- is helpful, I find, even if you disregard her proprietary recommendations.

She also has a lot of product reviews on her other site here, if you want to check whether a particular product is good: Beautypedia.
posted by girlpublisher at 6:25 PM on January 25, 2008

Treat your skin gently during the day, and treat your acne in the evening.

Morning: wash with a gentle cleanser. I'd recommend liquid Cetaphil over the Cetaphil bar if your skin is being super dry. While your skin is still damp, moisturize. This could be a couple of drops of jojoba oil rubbed between wet palms, then over your face. Or try a non-comedogenic moisturizer with sunscreen for sensitive skin. I find that Olay Complete Defense with SPF 30 takes care of dry spots without irritating my skin.

Evening: DON'T wash your face (unless you need to remove makeup). Apply whatever acne medication you need to your chin. See if your doctor can prescribe something like Differin, which is fairly gentle, although like all Vitamin A derived medications, it shouldn't be used by pregnant women. OTC benzoyl peroxide, or even 3% hydrogen peroxide, might be all that you need.

If you can skip foundation, do so. (It probably looks bad on dry skin anyway unless you moisturize and exfoliate the bejeezus out of your face). If you feel you must wear it, switch the routine so that you just wet your face in the shower in the morning, then moisturize. Clean and apply medication at night. The less often you wash your face in the winter, the less dry and stressed it will be. Oh, and take tepid showers! Hot water will really dry you out.
posted by maudlin at 6:25 PM on January 25, 2008

For me, none of the acne treatments work because they're formulated for people with oily skin. My skin breaks out because it's too dry, so making it drier makes it worse. I take flaxseed oil & fish oil supplements (one of each) twice a day, which has made a gigantic difference in both my dry skin and breakouts. I use revlon's eterna 27 cream at night and oil of olay sunscreen cream in the morning to keep my skin moisturized so that it's not producing extra oil to moisturize itself (that's how my dermatologist explained it, anyway).

Are your breakouts usually worse around your period? If yes and you're on the pill, you can try switching pills to see if that helps. (My face, specifically my chin, freaks out when I'm on the wrong BC pills.) I read somewhere that chin breakouts are mostly caused by hormonal fluctuations. I don't know how universally true it is, but it is for me. Good luck! I never thought I'd be 35 and still breaking out...
posted by doubtful_guest at 7:11 PM on January 25, 2008

Sebamed is pretty neat. It's fixed a whole host of related problems for me which has been absolutely great!! (And I save time not having to moisturise at all (except under make-up) rather than inescapably from head to toe every damn day!) Yay Sebamed!!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 5:56 AM on January 26, 2008

I personally like IS Clinical and DDF. They are a bit more expensive, but a lot of times the less expensive drugstore products contain a lot of additives and detergents and not enough beneficial ingredients. 10 Steps to Clear Skin is a step-by-step guide to clear skin. I've mentioned a variety of products in that article I highly recommend.
posted by andretheus at 3:21 PM on February 5, 2008

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