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Post in Skincare Aware

Irritated, Dehydrated, Acne-Prone Skin

Hi Everyone! I've had oily/acne-prone skin most of my life, but lately my skin has been feeling tight and dry, developing rough patches, and flaking off around my eyes & t-zone. I feel like it might be due to over-treating/using too many products, but I'm not sure. I'm still very prone to acne and closed comedones as well. My skincare routine is as follows:



  1. Garnier Micellar Water
  2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Toner
  3. The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc (mostly for fading my hyperpigmentation from past acne)
  4. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly
  5. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Gel (both this one and the jelly aren't hydrating enough on their own, so I layer them - this used to be hydrating enough, but it doesn't seem to be anymore.)
  6. Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF Mineral Fluid for Face


  1. Garnier Micellar Water
  2. Cetaphil Gentle Face Cleanser
  3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Toner
  4. First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (every other night)
  5. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly
  6. Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Gel

Even with my skin dehydrated like this, most moisturizers still feel way too heavy/greasy and end up causing breakouts/closed comedones for me. I've tried so many moisturizers, and they all either seem to feel greasy and clog my pores (It Cosmetics Confidence in a Gel Lotion, Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream, Drunk Elephant Protini, The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors, Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation, Sephora Collection All-Day Hydrator, Saturday Skin Waterfall Cream) or not hydrate my skin at all (Ole Henriksen Oil-Control Hydrator, Tatcha Water Cream, Youth to the People Superfood Air Whip, Tarte Drink of H2O, Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Water Cream, Volition Beauty Celery Green Cream, and now the Clinique Jelly/Gel combo). 


I have no idea if I need to change my moisturizer or remove one of the actives from my routine - I feel like the AHA in the First Aid Beauty pads is necessary because it's the only exfoliation in my routine, and the Niacinamide has been amazing for my post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation/acne scars. I don't know. AGH. ๐Ÿ˜ž


Re: Irritated, Dehydrated, Acne-Prone Skin

Hello, Beauty Advisor here!


I have a few ideas for you, based on what you told us.


I noticed you are using a micellar water in the morning and at night. At night, you follow this with a cleanser but in the morning you are following it with a toner. Are you washing the miscellar water off in the morning? It needs to be washed off because if it is left on the skin it can lead to dryness. Perhaps try switching to gentle cleanser in the AM as an alternative.


Limiting your toner to one time a day could also help with your irritation. I tried to research the Neutrogena toner you mentioned but I am not sure exactly which you product are using. Does it have any BHA's as ingredients (for example, salicylic acid). Along side the niaciminade, this could lead to irritation. Try using these on different days. Also, try using these types of products in the PM. 


I would recommend the use of your heavy duty skincare, like heavier creams and actives at night. You'll see it working more effectively than daytime use. The sun can break down those active ingredients and cause irritation. Especially on nights you exfoliate, I suggest you use a heavy-duty (nourishing) cream. Use a small amount (dime size to start and more only if needed). Warm it up in your (clean) hands and gently press into your pores.


To finish off your nighttime routine you could try using 1-2 drops of oil occasionally (using the same application method as the moisturizer I mentioned above). Oil is great for restoring skin that has been stripped of its natural oils. When stripped of its natural oils, skin can go into overproduction and cause more sebum buildup leading to breakouts.

For acne-prone skin, look for these ingredients : rose oil, tea tree oil. They are great for inflammation. I would start off once a week, but adding in an oil to your skincare routine (at night) might be the step you are missing! As oil is heavy using this as your final stage before sleep will help bring the rest of your skincare (moisturizer, serum, etc) be carried down into your pores, allowing them to be absorbed more effectively.


You didn't mention if you were using the serum inserts for the Clinique moisturizers but a stand alone serum is what I would recommend. Here are a couple of serum recommendations, depending on which concern you wanted to target. You mentioned irritation and I recommend Dr. Jart's Tiger Grass Serum; it's great for soothing overly sensitized skin. Or, if you were looking for a dose of hydration try Peter Thomas Roth's Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum. It's key ingredient is Sodium Hyaluronate (a modified version of hyaluronic acid that can go deeper into your skin) which is great for giving you hydration without clogging your pores.

I recommend using a serum both day and night, as the first step after cleansing (but if you are using a toner, apply serum after toner has fully absorbed). This will help the rest of your skincare work even better.



1. Think of AM as your prep for the day: gentle cleanser, (eye cream), (serum), lightweight moisturizer, finished off with SPF.


2. Think of PM as your time to restore and repair. Actives, heavier creams, oils are going to do their best at this time.


3. Consider limiting micellar usage/making sure to wash off afterwards.


4. Try limiting your toner to PM.


5. Definitely, try a serum! I have tried the serum inside the gel moisturizer but I still prefer a stand alone serum. Plus, you can mix up your serums to your daily needs this way.


6. Please use one moisturizer at a time but feel free to use a different one in the AM and PM. Too much heavy cream could lead to clogged pores and break outs. For example, the jelly in the AM and the gel at night.


Please remember that any changes to your skincare routine will take 30-60 days to start seeing results (please make sure to use consistently). I hope your skin starts to feel better soon~

Re: Irritated, Dehydrated, Acne-Prone Skin

@R1l3y You definitely shouldn't need to use two different moisturizers at the same time. I would recommend ditching the Clinique for a different option- belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb Hydrating Moisturizer With Squalane 1.68 oz/ 50 mL  CAUDALIE - Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet OLEHENRIKSEN - Sheer Transformationยฎ Perfecting Moisturizer Kate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream 1.7 oz/ 50 mL Benton Snail Bee Steam Cream, or CosRx Oil-Free Moisturizing Lotion. But in addition to that, I'd also recommend looking into some hydration in the way of a hydrating toner, hydrating serum, or regular use of hydrating masks (either sheet or sleeping). 

RE: Irritated, Dehydrated, Acne-Prone Skin

Hi! I would say absolutely look into Biossance, it changed my skin so much. I used the Omega repair moisturizer followed by the Tea Tree and squalene oil and it was amazing! I am very acne prone (cystic) and it never caused any reaction the tea tree oil actually helped. I swear by Biossance. They have a few eye creams as well. But I use the skin fix eye cream

Re: Irritated, Dehydrated, Acne-Prone Skin

@R1l3y I would encourage you to try using hydrating sheet masks and wash off masks a few times a week

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