June 04 2020
Dry and Acne skin: How do I get out of this cycle?

Talk about ‘Acne’. What comes to mind? Oily skin! Your instinctive reaction is to search for skincare products to combat that oily skin, hoping that the acne breakout will all be settled. However, in doing so, unknowingly, the oiliness gets over-corrected and now you end up with dry and peeling skin.

And your next immediate response at this stage is to get products to soothe that dry and peeling skin, something that will be more gentle and moisturizing. Thinking that this whole episode will blow over real soon, the last thing you would imagine is the acne comes back to “haunt” you again. A vicious cycle! 

Now what? Afraid that you will get back to the dry and peeling skin phenomenon, you decide to go for products that are formulated for sensitive skin. No more dry-out skin effects seen but the acne is not going away either. What is really happening?

Over the years, I have encountered a number of patients experiencing acne issues that cannot be resolved with typical acne treatment. In the beginning, I could not find the ‘Go to’ and ‘How to’ in my medical notes written as a medical student. As I enjoy these challenges in solving medical problems, much time and investigation went into looking for a solution for them. From the results I get, I believe that I have found the plausible reason and solution to the skin that feels dry to touch, yet still end up with an acne break out. 

Now, let me take you on my journey of discovery. 

The skin starts off dry. Could be due to genetics, over-washing, wrong application of oily skin products that end up drying the skin, or any other reason which causes the skin to be dry. With dryness, flakes of skin come off in bits. Scrubbing the skin at times “helps” in the movement of the flakes, causing them to go from one site to another. However, this does not really do anything helpful. 

With the flakes coming off, the pores on the skin get blocked up. The more enlarged the pore is, the more blocked it becomes. Imagine how we like to stuff as many gifts and toys as possible into a Christmas stocking. That’s how the pore gets stuffed up as well. Once the debris enters the pore, it is impossible for the content to come out. To make things worse, the constant daily stream of oil secretions has no way to exit, hence increasingly building up the whole blockage. 

As stresses in life build up, such as during an examination period or a deadline to be met yesterday, your hormones rage. Inevitably, when this happens, more and more oil gets secreted from the glands embedded in the skin. The excessive oil secreted meets in a dead tunnel as the debris has accumulated too much to be able to dislodge from the opening of the pore on the surface of the skin. 

Now enters the ‘opportunists’ – the bacteria responsible for pimples. A-ha! Perfect environment – warm and moist, much like a ‘marshmallow-filled room’. It’s party time! Bacteria gets attracted and drawn to the debris laced with sebum. When all is comfy, reproduction occurs. An invasion of the bacteria and its young lead to an eruption on the surface of the skin. The human cries out, “Pimple! Pimple!”. Alas, what is done is done. The process of the pimple: inflamed, eruption, oozy, flattening and scarring, has to walk its course.

What is the moral of the story here? Treat your dryness first. Even if your pimples do not seem to be reducing yet, be patient and wait.

Disclaimer: The content and information in this blog article is the opinion of the author and property of LinC Aesthetic Clinic Pte Ltd. It is for educational purposes and not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Kindly contact your medical doctor with questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Relying on information provided by this content is done at your own risk.

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