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How-To GuidesSkin Care Guides

How to Treat Oily, Dehydrated Skin

Reader Question: My skin is dry and oily at the same time, so I have dry flaky skin and breakouts and pimples. How is that possible and HOW do I treat it?

oily dehydrated skin

If you have dry and oily skin at the same time this is usually because you have oily skin that is dehydrated. Don’t worry–this seemingly impossible skin condition is treatable!

Sometimes, if you have dry-feeling skin you might assume it is a “dry” type, so you apply hydrating creams and perhaps avoid exfoliating or effective cleansing.

Example: Cetaphil cleanser might be popular but it really doesn’t do much–which is what makes it good for sensitive skin.

But this increases the problem. You end up with greasy, dull, uneven skin that is usually clogged and breakout prone.

It’s common to have little “bumps” on your forehead or cheeks that aren’t really pimples… but clogged pores. When your skin is naturally more oily you have larger pores that block easier.

How to Treat Oily Dehydrated Skin

First, deal with the layer of dead skin cells (from the dryness). This is the cause of the dullness and blockages.

Second, deal with the dehydration problem. A well-balanced oily-type skin is a beautiful thing. Your skin should look plump and hydrated, and it will age well!

1. Proper Exfoliation

Grainy manual scrubs will not do the job here. You need a chemical exfoliator that will dissolve oil and dead skin cells.

This will unclog pores, remove dullness, and prevent future blockages.

Exfoliate consistently even if you feel your skin is dehydrated. It is important to remove the surface layer of dead skin cells and impurities so your following treatments can help hydrate and protect the lower layer of cells.

2. Balance and Hydrate Skin

Oils can be great for oily dehydrated skin as they nourish and protect without being too rich.

Choose a noncomedogenic oil such as jojoba and massage gently into cleansed and exfoliated skin, twice a day.

How to Prevent Dehydrated Oily Skin

This condition often appears after using the wrong cleanser. Cleansers that are too harsh will strip the acid mantle from the surface of your skin, leaving it with no protection.

To compensate, your skin will produce more oil to build this vital layer back up. But not before your skin has no become dry and sometimes flaky!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Use an effective cleanser that is not too harsh. Avoid products that leave you feeling as though you’ve just washed your face with dish liquid
  • Avoid using benzoyl peroxide. While this can work to dry out acne, it usually causes dehydration and sensitivity that is worse for your skin long term
  • Drink plenty of water, which will help hydrate and protect your skin from the inside
  • Use a moisturizing, hydrating mask two or three times a week after exfoliating
  • Remember: consistency is everything in skin care. Follow the simple steps above and your skin will improve

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