Why I am breaking out - can my skin be oily and dehydrated?

Did you know that oily skin can be the result of using harsh and irritating skincare products and not just your genetics as you might have thought?

It’s for this reason, that I really don’t like boxing myself into a certain skin type. Skin types are often misdiagnosed or caused by wrong skincare products, so it’s not helpful to think of yourself under one specific category.

For a long time, I really believed that because my skin was already super oily, it didn’t need hydration or moisturizer. If it was super oily already, why should I moisturize, right?

I really thought that moisturizer was my biggest enemy. I blamed the oil and sebum for my pimples, bumps and big pores. When in fact, my skin wasn’t super oily at all, it was dehydrated and irritated! That’s when I found out that dehydrated skin is often easily mistaken for oily skin (and that’s why I don’t like the idea of specific “skin types” anymore).

I was stuck in a rut! Dehydrated skin = more sebum = more breakouts = applying more drying skincare products = more sebum = even more breakouts.

What was I doing wrong?

  • I was using drying and irritating cleansers and harsh scrubs (read here about acids) to get rid of sebum and to scrub the pimples away.
  • I was applying products which contain high amounts of alcohol and other drying substances, in an attempt to make my skin less oily!
  • I was using irritating ingredients like essential oils.
  • I was washing my face too often (more than two times a day).

But once I understood what was happening with my skin and which products were right for me, my skin changed dramatically. Dehydrated skin can be treated if you use the right products. My skin has since become a lot less oily.  

How do I tell if my skin is dry or dehydrated?

The signs of dry and dehydrated skin can be easily confused for one another. Dehydrated skin is a skin condition, which means that your skin is not getting enough water. It can be caused by lots of different things such as applying irritating or drying skincare products, too much sun, taking showers or baths that are too hot, and can be a sign of aging.

There is, in fact, a big difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Having dry skin is a so-called “skin type,” but dehydrated skin is a skin condition. Dry skin lacks water and oil, whilst dehydrated skin only lacks water but overcompensates with oil.

Anyone can get dry or dehydrated skin, you can have both at the same time, or one without the other.

When you have dry skin, there is a lack of oil (or lipids) in the skin, which can make the skin feel rough and flaky.

With dehydrated skin, there's a lack of water in outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum). When this protective barrier gets compromised, the dead skin cells start thickening instead of shedding. For this reason, dehydrated skin looks dull, feels tight and/or rough, can be sensitive, and can also show fine lines.

If you don’t know whether your skin is dry or dehydrated, don't hesitate to talk to your dermatologist!

How to fix the dehydrated skin?

So what do you do if you have dehydrated skin? Well unfortunately, just drinking lots of water won’t help you. If your skin is dehydrated, you should look for skincare with ingredients which will help you to repair and balance the outermost layer of your skin.

Here is our power ingredient list you should look for:

  • Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) which help to maintain the health and hydration of your skin.
  • Ceramides which are necessary for their water retention properties and skin replenishing benefits.  
  • Urea in small amounts has water-binding restoring properties.
  • Squalane which is a natural component of skin sebum (oil). This ingredient acts as an antioxidant and has amazing moisturizing properties. It absorbs better than oils and is 100% safe for acne-prone skin and non-irritating! It’s my favorite ingredient!
  • Niacinamide which is a very effective skin restoring ingredient, which offers diverse benefits for skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid which is a humectant and optimal hydrator. It helps to replenish skin by boosting skin’s moisture content.

When and how to wash your face?

Every good routine starts with a right cleanser, and this study explains Why:

“Cleansers emulsify dirt, oil and microorganisms on the skin surface so that they can be easily removed. During cleansing, there is a complex interaction between the cleanser, the moisture skin barrier, and skin pH. Cleansing, with water soap or a liquid cleanser, will affect the moisture skin barrier. Soap will bring about the greatest changes to the barrier and increase skin pH.”

According to this study:

“For normal skin choosing a particular cleanser is less important as compared to people with dermatological disorders such as atopic dermatitis, acne vulgaris, rosacea, photoaging, occupational dermatosis, perianal pruritus, and sensitive skin.”

So, how to find the right cleanser?

  • Look for a cleanser with mild cleansing agents and avoid cleansers with anioc surfactants (like alcohol sulfates). -

“Agents with slightly acidic or neutral pH, nonionic surfactants, and minimal skin residue may be preferable for people who are at increased risk for irritancy reactions.”, as found in this study.

  • Don’t over-wash your face. Washing it twice a day is enough.
  • If your skin is compromised, avoid using heavily fragranced cleansers.
  • Avoid bar soaps for cleansing your face because this can dry out your skin
  • Your cleanser should be pH balanced or slightly acidic, as cited in this study :

“Although controversial, many dermatologists believe that maintaining the skin surface at its physiological pH (4–6.5) during cleansing prevents overgrowth of certain microorganisms, like Propionibacterium acnes (acne causing bacteria). Soaps with an alkaline pH have also been said to cause damage to the lipid bilayer of the stratum corneum thus causing dryness of the skin.”

Our System Akvile Cleanser

System Akvile Cleanser

The goal of this cleanser is to gently remove makeup residues, dirt, sweat and excessive sebum without irritating or drying the skin.

Our gentle non-stripping foam-mousse cleanser is a gentler alternative to soap or other cleansers, which can sensitize and dry skin out.

Use in the morning and in the evening. If you wear a lot of makeup, you can start your cleansing routine with an oil-based cleanser and follow up with our Cleanser.

When and how to moisturize?

Every good skincare routine should end with a good moisturizer which has moisturizing and lipid restoring properties.

When it comes to finding the right moisturizer, the good news is that any moisturizer you like and that works best with your skin is the best moisturizer for you. The bad news is, that sometimes that takes a bit of trial and error. Once you've found your perfect moisturizer (such as the System Akvile Moisturizer), when should you use it?

System Akvile Moisturizer

We recommend using a moisturizer twice a day: once in the morning after cleansing your face, and once in the evening before bed. Moisturizing is particularly effective after bathing, shaving, or exfoliating. It's also important to moisturize after a bath, since the hot water temperatures can leave your skin parched and dried out. Our moisturizer is buildable too. You can layer it to get the maximum hydration and protection.

Moisturizing also helps ensure that your skin stays fresh and young looking, and helps to guard against extreme dryness by keeping moisture in your skin.

Just like you would never go a day without drinking water, never go a day without using moisturizer! Your skin will thank you for it.

Clear, dewy skin is often a result of hard work and diligence, but we’re working to make it that bit easier by providing you with the products you need and the routine to use them with, to help you stick at it.