Oily and dry skin at the same time. Solution?

Who else has this? And I don’t mean oily in some spots (around the nose and forehead) and dry in others. I mean oily on top of dry. After I get out of the shower my face is soooo dry that it turns whitedryyuckiness and pieces of my face just flake off onto the ground. It’s like really bad dander, probably worse than any sort of dander you’ve ever had, on my face. Then after maybe thirty minutes after my shower my face turns really, really oily, but the dead skin wont stop even while it is oily. I wake up every morning with white heads even if I washed my face before I went to bed. My face is extremely sensitive to everything, and I’ve used both dry and oily face products/acne solutions and both of them just make my pores feel really clogged and my face leaks more or it makes my face turn really red and irritated. Usually both. My face is always really red and irritated no matter what, but if I use something special on it it becomes worse.

The best stuff I’ve ever used is Burt’s Bees acne products and cleansers. It doesn’t give me the extra leakage/dryness/irritation, and seems to cut down on the dry/dead skin sometimes but my problem is still there and just as annoying as ever. Still just as red, too. I don’t know what to do. I’m about to rip my face off, I’m tired of living like this. It feels so gross.
Because my skin is so sensitive I’m leaning more toward natural ways to fix my problem, but I’ll settle for any advice I can get. I’ve searched through many sites and message boards and none of them seem to understand what I’m talking about or know a solution to my problem.

I have a problem that sounds similar to yours, though mine sounds much much milder.
I have acne rosacea, combined with skin that is simultaneously oily and dry/flaky

What I do:

[li]See a dematologist for a prescription for Finacea azelaic acid gel[/li][li]Gently exfoliate twice a day, every day by using a washcloth when I wash my face twice.[/li][li]Moisturize my face immediately after getting out of the shower, while my skin retains some dampness. Basically towel off, blot face, Finacea, moisturizer[/li][li]Use oil-free combination skin Neutrogena moisturizer first, then follow a minute or two later with a slightly heavier one.[/li][li]Shampoo my hair every day, and don’t wait more than an hour after getting up to get into the shower.[/li][/ul]

All that, and getting older are what have helped me. My skin has gotten less oily as I age.

Sounds like your face is just too dried out. Dryness does lead to oiliness which leads to messed up skin. It happens when you try too hard to get your face clean by using tons of products.

My suggestion is to only ever wash your face with cool water. If you’re washing it in the shower, turn down the heat before you do your face. Then wash with Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser - never soap - and pat your face dry.

I don’t know if you should use moisturizer like Motorgirl suggests, but if you do definitely use oil-free Neutrogena.

Personally I do not exfoliate every day. I wash my face w/o a washcloth and exfoliate on Sundays with St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

Honestly it sounds like you need to see a dermatologist and get with a proper skin care program that works for you. What you don’t need is someone else’s skin care regimen or lots of different products that may make your problem worse.

I feel terrible for the OP, as I have the same nightmarish paradox going on. I admit, I’m bitter at Mother Nature-- if I’m not breaking out, I’m flaking out (and nearing 40 and STILL breaking out at times like a teenager feels like a bad joke, grrr!)

Good idea to see a dermatologist, although IME they’re overrated-- I certainly have never had any lasting luck from any regimen a slew of dermatologists have recommended to me, but hopefully the OP will have better luck.

Anyway, the strategy that works for me is the one discussed above: use whatever you can to gently dry out and exfoliate your dry and dead skin, THEN turn around and moisturize. Again, it sounds counterintuitive, but consider it this way: YOU are controlling the amount of oil on your skin instead of letting your body do whatever the heck it wants when it wants.

No recommendations on brands of cleansers and moisturizers-- frankly, you’re best served by experimenting with as many brands as you can. Load up on travel and sample sizes and see what works best for you. Also appreciate that what works one day may not work the next-- I find I have better luck when I “rotate” the brands of cleansers and moisturizers (kinda keep my skin on its toes :-)).

Another pointer: I like to take long hot showers. Alas, long hot showers are bad for your skin, especially your face. So, all good things in moderation.

Lastly: I have zero patience for acne, i.e. I can’t resist attacking zits and blackheads the moment I find them. I know that’s not good-- thankfully, my lifelong addiction to this bad practice hasn’t rendered me into a spitting image of Edward James Olmos. However, I have found that I face significantly reduced irritation when taking care of business after I get out of the shower (warm, wet skin is more pliable) AND after investing in a good set of dermatological tools (search for them on Amazon, they’re cheap, but a LOT better than going to town with dirty fingernails-- just be sure to wash them down with soap and/or alcohol after every use to prevent spreading the bad stuff).

Yes, cool down the water. I know, it breaks my heart, too, but hot water is no good for you.

I did not completely defeat it but I took care of a lot of my winter ecsema by:

  1. exfoliating with an Aveeno wash every day in the shower
  2. putting lotion on immediately as I get out of the shower
  3. perioidically putting lotion on all day. I have lotion at work and at home and in my car.

But go to a dermatologist. They can do wonderful things!

I don’t wash my face 4 times a day. Bad editing!

Honestly, that sounds like it could be seborrheic dermatitis, which is caused by an overproduction of oil by the skin that causes the skin to flake. A lot of people mistake it for dry skin because it’s flaky, but the skin flakes are actually quite greasy. They can slough off in an unpleasant way.

I used to have flare ups of a very similar condition because I am allergic to dyes and perfumes. Nowadays, I can be in contact with most, but when it’s bad I need to switch to dye and perfume-free shampoo, deodorant, and (most importantly, apparently) laundry detergent.

If this is the problem, try washing your scalp and hair every day using a variety of types of dandruff shampoos. Use a coal tar shampoo on day 1, an anti-fungal on day 2, a salicylic acid on day 3, etc. After a couple of weeks, if this is the problem, you should see a huge difference.

Cortisone cream, used extremely sparingly, can help control flare ups. You don’t want to use a ton of this long-term.

Use a light, alcohol-free astringent only when necessary.

This. I cannot give you any individual advice but a dermatologist I know has told me that lots of skin problems are caused by over washing. She told me - without giving me much of a specific examination - to never wash my face using a soap product more than once a day; and it’s really helped make my skin clearer.

This was my reaction to reading the OP. I’ve had this condition since I was about 15, and had it diagnosed via biopsy by a dermatologist. I’d highly recommend seeing a specialist.

For me, only my scalp and face are impacted, and keeping my scalp under control keeps my face in good shape. I’m not sure if you’re having this problem anywhere beyond your face, but I am curious.

Whatever the condition is, I hope you’re able to find a good solution.

Wow, I’m surprised. You all helped quite a bit. I did a little research on some of the stuff a few of the things mentioned and some products and I’m feeling hopeful. I’ve never heard of this seborrheic dermatitis but this sounds like it could be my problem… maybe. My flakes are greasy, very greasy, though not after a shower. It is very dry and flakes off after a shower but if I wait a little while later and scratch an itch on my face or something I’ll get a bunch of icky gunk under my nails of oil and dead stuff.

I do realize that hot water and washing a lot, especially with soap, is bad for my face. One of my cousins never even washes her face at all with anything but water and it has always been perfect, so I decided to try that for a while to see if it would even out the levels of oily and “dryness” but it didn’t work. :confused: Nothing changed, it didn’t even get worse.

My scalp is usually itchy and I have some dander and it too gets oily fast. I stopped using shampoos and conditioners and I now only use baking soda for shampoo and apple cider vinegar or honey for conditioner. It has controlled the oil on top of my head better which used to be so bad I’d look kind of dirty at the end of the day even if I took a shower that morning.

I also have acne, not as bad as when I was younger, but I get bad break outs sometimes and it gets really bad on my back near my shoulders and my chest is also really oily, more oily than my back but it doesn’t break out like my back does, but my chest is a little bit like my face with the dead stuff but not as bad.

I’d see a dermatologist if my parents could afford it. That’s next on my list after I get myself a car.

Thanks again for your suggestions. Any more is still appreciated, I need to end this! >:[

I will second/third/fourth (?) this diagnosis. I also agree with changing up anti-dandruff which has helped for me. Lately, I’ve found I get the most benefit from OTC Nizoral and use it exclusively and regularly now.

On my face, I have found that application of undiluted tea tree oil, which has antifungal properties, on affected areas (nasolabial fold, eyebrows and hairline) keeps breakouts to a minimum, while breakouts that do occur are treated with prescription-strength ketoconazole cream, which is the same antifungal agent in Nizoral. Seborrheic dermatitis is generally caused by an overabundance of yeast (fungal) in the skin.