It is not uncommon for those with acne to also have irritated skin. What does irritated skin look like? Red, dry, flaky, tight, and painful looking. Many times, acne patients believe that their condition improves when their skin overly dry. If so, this is usually a very short term response to their acne condition. In most cases, skin that is kept too dry for too long will suffer a rebound effect wherein the acne becomes much worse over time. This behavior creates a vicious cycle where the patient makes the problem worse because of the perception that drying the skin leads to improved acne.
Our bodies strive to maintain a state of balance. This includes our skin which is the largest organ we have. When we strip our skin of its natural acid mantle – pH balance becomes disrupted. In response to this, our sebaceous (oil) glands “wake up” and begin to make more oil to compensate for the dryness. This over activity of the glands then leads to a cascade of events that contributes to the acne condition.
The best way to prevent this endless cycle is to pay attention to the cues that our skin gives us. Dry skin needs to be moisturized to maintain proper pH. Changing the daily skin care regimen to include more moisturizer may seem counter-intuitive and time consuming, but eventually the skin will respond positively. A regimen of oil-free moisturizers, green tea products, and gentle face washes are a good place to start to restore pH balance. The use of low strength Glycolic Acid products are also a good way to utilize an exfoliating ingredient without overly drying or irritating the skin. For those patients that cannot tolerate Retin A and high percentages of Benzoyl Peroxide, Glycolic Acid is a good option.
Besides healthy skin looking better, it feels better as well. Trust what your skin is telling you, and the acne condition will have a better environment to respond.