double trouble skin care problems

As if it wasn’t enough to confront wrinkles in the mirror, imagine the unfairness of the continuation of teenager-like breakouts. My skin sometimes feels oily but looks dried out. I don’t mean that I have combination skin. Nope, I have double trouble. And it appears that I am not the only one, so I trawled the Truth In Aging community for problems that counter-intuitively come in pairs and how to combat them.

Dryness + Acne

I was once told that breakouts on my back were due to dry skin. I was surprised but should not have been. Our skin relies on lipids as a barrier to irritants, bacteria and to maintain consistent cell turnover. Dry, lipid depleted skin is compromised in its ability to protect, causing buildup of skin cells that can easily become irritated and inflamed and prone to breakouts.

Even more surprisingly, oil can be your friend. As Cheryl found when she tested Moana Oil, which she was “thrilled to report that yes, this worked to improve the dryness and did NOT cause breakouts, which is huge!” And no more Tazorac. I personally like RMS Beauty Oil ($74), which features buriti oil, a rich source of beta-carotene and with such low cytotoxicity that researchers speculate that it may render topical products completely non-irritating.

Nina describes herself as “prone to acne and shine, and yet at the same time [suffers] from patches of eczema, and tight and dry skin.” She gave two thumbs up to Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Skin Rehydration Solution ($68) for keeping her skin “clear and calm, soft and hydrated.” The super simple formula is up to the job with vitamin B (known to be helpful for acne) along with hydrating but never clogging sodium hyaluronate.

Wrinkles + Breakouts/Oiliness

So, weren’t we always told that oily skin is less wrinkle prone? Well, it turns out not to be true. Oily skin is less prone to dehydration, and this can help counter the appearance of fine lines, but this skin type can easily experience deeper lines and larger pores. What’s more, anti-aging skin care (especially the department store variety) come with rich emollients that simply aren’t suitable for oily, wrinkled skin. Plus our tendency to scrub, tone and exfoliate can cause damaged, breakout-prone skin.

There are solutions, though. Tina is in her 40s with oily skin, and she found Medik8 Clay Mask ($50) to be a great help at combatting shine, refining pores and keeping breakouts at bay. In addition to clay, the formula’s antioxidants from plants help on the anti-aging front.

I have always been impressed by Your Best Face Defend ($120), an anti-aging serum that helps prevent breakouts and reduce oily shine while also preventing wrinkles. Vitamin B5 for breakout control is combined with powerful antioxidants.

Sixty-something Pamela found a surprising ally in Sevani Serum Vitale Essential Nutrient Oil ($65 in the shop). As she reported, it “makes my skin look so much better. It's also been healthy for my skin -- no nasty chemical ingredients and therefore no breakouts or irritation.”

Shiny skin responds well to My Prime Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer ($68) with a matte finish that also provides long-lasting hydration and softens the appearance of fine lines. Sarah noted: “It delivers just the right about of hydration (without feeling greasy despite the amazing oils it contains) and smooths over pores for a nice finish.”

Dryness + Sensitivity

Dry skin can be prone to redness, flakiness and itching. It can also be much more sensitive to environmental stress and to irritants in cosmetic formulas. Because skin is dry, it is tempting to find richly hydrating creams, but careful scrutiny of ingredients is required to prevent flare-ups.

Astara Skin Care Golden Flame Hydration Mask ($46 in the shop) is an all-around pleasing, hydrating and soothing product. Another great mask is Eslor Comforting Mask ($38). Susan, who is prone to rosacea and flare-ups, told us that after “taking it off, my skin was already calmer and felt better. But in the morning, it looked remarkable. Even, calm, with a clarity that was noticeable.”

Also useful is Blissoma Pure Sensitive Skin Soothing Complex ($25.99), which is especially designed for those coping with allergies, sensitivities, irritations, redness and dryness.

For an anti-aging heavy gun, a good bet is La Vie Celeste Extra Rich Face Cream ($75 in the shop). Well tolerated by sensitive skin, it is a hydrating and firming moisturizer that can be used both day and night. It contains R-lipoic acid, ChroNoline, apple stem cells and much more. 

Oiliness + Sensitivity

One day, regular Truth In Aging reviewer, Lori, found herself in “this confusing, sweaty place called my late 30s” and in the company of acne, oil, redness and forehead lines. She had also reached the point where harsh exfoliation was doing more harm than good. Sciote Omni Phyto-Cell Serum ($130 in the shop) proved to have it nailed. No adverse reactions -- just well-behaved skin and the actual reversal of signs of aging.

A night cream with bee venom and copper peptides is already a must, but if it also combats oiliness and smooths wrinkles while avoiding breakouts, what’s not to like in  Benir Beauty BV Nine Platinum Anti-Aging Bee Venom Cream ($136 in the shop)?

Oily + Crepey

Even very oily skin can be prone to areas of extreme dryness. For example, skin that is oily but crepey under the eyes is not at all uncommon. Thick, unctuous eye creams are just not suitable or helpful for this combination.

It was instructive but disappointing when our reviewer, Sandra, who has oily skin and dry crepey under eyes, did not find relief with Innarah Eye Treatment Crème Ultra-Hydrating Eye Crème ($150) 

Better luck might be had with Your Best Face Correct ($150 in the shop), a light, yet nourishing eye serum that is one of the best combatants of crepey skin we have found. Another worthy recruit would be Prana Precious Fluids ($135), which is a very light, peptide packed oil with a refreshing roller ball applicator.


Marta Wohrle is an anti-aging skin care and beauty expert and the founder/CEO of Truth In Aging. Marta is dedicated to uncovering the truth behind anti-aging product claims.