Managing Dehydrated, Oily, Acne-Prone Skin


If you have dehydrated, oily, and acne-prone skin it might seem impossible to find a skincare routine to tackle such opposing concerns. We at Paula’s Choice Skincare have experienced this tricky combination personally, and can help you assemble an ideal skincare routine for impressive results. Our SKIN BALANCING and RESIST Essential or Advanced skincare routines for normal to oily/combination skin and our CLEAR Anti-Acne systems go above and beyond your expectations.

What is Dehydrated, Oily, Acne-Prone Skin?

If your skin’s surface is dry or flaky, has a layer of oil sitting on top, and is accompanied by blemishes (either a lot or a few), you likely have this confusing skin type. The first step to take in fixing things is to look carefully at your skincare routine and make sure you are choosing your anti-acne products wisely.

Numerous studies have shown that salicylic acid (BHA) and benzoyl peroxide are essential anti-acne ingredients and they should be the first over-the-counter choice you try before seeking professional help. Unfortunately, many products that contain BHA and benzoyl peroxide also include skin-aggravating ingredients, which increase oil production, worsen acne-related redness, and cause flaky, dry patches that make your skin look and feel dehydrated.

Choose Anti-Acne Products Wisely

It’s just as important to avoid products that contain bad ingredients as it is to choose products that contain beneficial ingredients for skin. Sensitizing ingredients, like fragrance, menthol, and denatured alcohol, can make matters worse, so you must steer clear of those. You can easily avoid that issue by choosing products from our Paula's Choice Skincare CLEAR range and from our SKIN BALANCING and RESIST systems for normal to oily/combination skin. All of our products are formulated to be completely non-irritating and are specifically designed to address this particularly tricky skin type.

Paula’s Choice Skincare options:

Note: You can pick and choose from each system above to assemble the ideal routine for you. For example, if you have normal to oily/combination skin, you might like the SKIN BALANCING cleanser and Toner, a leave-on anti-acne exfoliant from CLEAR, and an anti-aging serum and moisturizer from RESIST. We are more than happy to help you select the right mix of products so that you’re happy with the changes you see in your skin!

It’s important to remember that even the best anti-acne skincare routines can go awry if you go overboard and don’t monitor how your skin responds. For example, some people might not need to use both a BHA and a benzoyl peroxide product. Or, they might get the best results when they alternate these products instead of using them both at the same time.

Products with retinol, niacinamide, and vitamin C also help because each of these ingredients works to improve the appearance of a dull, uneven skin tone and enlarged pores, and they all have skin-restoring properties to help your skin get back to looking and feeling normal.

If your skin is severely dehydrated and feels sensitive, consider our RESIST Omega+ Complex, a calming, anti-aging powerhouse whose lightweight, yet substantially hydrating, lotion texture can dramatically improve the look of dehydrated, flaky skin. It contains the benefits of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, and works beautifully with products from our SKIN BALANCING, CLEAR, and RESIST systems. For best results, apply it at night after cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and, if needed, applying your benzoyl peroxide product.

If you’re still unsure about which products to use, contact our Paula's Choice Client Services Experts for a personalized skincare consultation!


  • The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, September 2013, pages 27–35
  • American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, June 2012, pages 357–364
  • Journal of Investigative Dermatology, July 2003, pages 20–27

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!

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