The question: How come I have dry skin and I also have acne?

The expert: Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City

The answer: People with acne usually have well hydrated, oily skin, but it’s definitely also possible for you to have poorly hydrated, oily skin, says Zeichner. That’s because dry skin is caused by a lack of water, not a lack of oil. “Sebum, or the body’s natural oil, does play a role in hydrating the skin,” says Zeichner. “But when we really think about what keeps the skin moist, it has to do with water content.”

So if your skin feels pimple-ridden and parched at the same time, know you’re neither imagining things nor are you alone. In fact, get this: Zeichner says that the population he sees with acne and dry skin is typically adult women.

Of course, with the weather getting colder, your skin can only be getting drier. So what should you do about it? Use an oil-free, noncomedogenic (or non-acnegenic) moisturizer, says Zeichner. He recommends one with SPF in the AM and a regular one at night. And if an oil-free product isn’t doing the job, Zeichner says you shouldn’t be afraid to use one with oil, so long as it’s still noncomedogenic. Still having trouble? Chat with your derm.

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