Best Treatment (Serum) + Moisturizer Combos for Dry, Acne-prone skin

Recommended by Cassandra, here are 4 skincare combos that work fabulously for dry, acne-prone skin! 

Combo 1: 

Acne Free Adapalene Gel - $31.90 

This is adapalene gel. Adapalene gel is a synthetic retinoid, making it more gentle than other retinoids. However, it still seems to be just as effective when used for wrinkles or acne. 

Adapalene gel can be potent, but you can still use it on dry skin as a spot treatment. You can put it over a blemish or squeeze out a small dot and use it all over. For dry skin, you might want to put a moisturizer on first and then apply the Adapalene. Let's go over a great moisturizer to pair this product with.

If you have dry skin, moisturizers are probably your best friend. But, what about our acne-prone people? How do you find a moisturizer that treats acne? When you go to the store to buy a moisturizer for acne-prone skin, you often find moisturizers with active ingredients like salicylic acid that treat breakouts but don’t have a strong enough moisturizing factor. That’s why Cassandra is a huge advocate fpr mixing treatments into moisturizers. 

You can mix the Ceremedx Ceramide Cream in with a dot of adapalene gel to simultaneously moisturize the skin and treat acne. 

CERAMEDX Ceramide Cream - $18.10

This is the Natural Ceramide Therapy Balm. It is a super thick, hydrating formula, and this is basically the vegan version of CeraVe. If you like CeraVe, you can continue using it as a nice, fragrance-free option. This is dry skin’s best friend, but it doesn’t necessarily have ingredients that will treat acne. That’s why you can use it to layer a retinoidlike adapalene gel. This is when you put a moisturizer on first, then a retinoid, and then the moisturizer on again. Since vitamin A can make the skin sensitive to sunlight (photosensitive), this combo is best used at night . 

Combo 2:

The following product is a “2-in-1” alternative to using the Ceremedx with the Adapalene. We are not advising to use the Versed Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm with Adapalene gel. In this blog, each numbered combo is a separate concept, and these combinations will not necessarily be a part of the same skincare routine.   :) <3

Versed Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm - $17.99

This is a vitamin E balm. It has a thick texture, but it also has a retinoid in it. This is like a thick moisturizer such as Vaseline or Ceremedx combined with a retinoid. The texture is much more similar to Vaseline though. It has that balmy texture so it really locks in moisture and hydration. You can also mix adapalene gel with salimo jelly, and that’ll give you the same consistency.

The main ingredients in this Versed retinoid eye balm are sunflower oil, triglycerides, and jojoba oil. The formula is amazing, and a little goes a long way. This is perfect for someone who likes slugging or someone who is searching for a granactive retinoid. You can use this underneath the eyes or all over your face (this is what Cassandra does). Plus, it’s very travel-friendly! 

Combo 3: 

As part of this moisturizer + treatment combo, we are suggesting you choose one treatment and one moisturizer as apart of a skincare routine. However, it’s normal to have different AM and PM routines.  :)

Treatment choices.

The Inkey List Mandelic Acid Treatment - $11.99

This is excellent for dark spots and hyperpigmentation. What makes it unique is not only does it have AHA, a bitter almond-derived hydrating exfoliant, but it’s also got hydrating glycerin plus retinol. If you’re someone who is irritated by using an exfoliating product all over, spot treatments are a great way to go. With mandelic acid, you’re not going to prevent new breakouts from happening, but you’re going to be treating the existing ones. 

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA - $7.50 

Cassandra really recommends this product because hyaluronic acid is hydrating and the exfoliant/AHA, lactic acid also holds onto water. So, if you’re really struggling with dryness, an AHA is going to be a better option for you than a BHA even though a BHA is more targeted towards acne. But, you can always mix a BHA with a moisturizer!

The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) Serum -$12.99 

The products listed above are all exfoliating, and that’s how they help with acne. But for dry skin, they can be too much on their own. That’s why they’re wonderful to mix in with the following moisturizers.

Moisturizer choices

The Inkey List Peptide Moisturizer - $15.99 

This moisturizer feels lightweight, but it actually locks in moisture. If you have mature skin or drier skin plus adult acne, this is phenomenal because the peptides are very lifting and skin supportive. You can combine this moisturizer with the Mandelic acid + HA serum . This combination will become a hydrating moisturizer that contains a targeted exfoliant. This combo will not only hydrate but exfoliate. And hopefully, it will lift and support the skin. This is also a good moisturizer to wear under makeup. 

Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Cream .5 oz - $20  

This is another wonderful one to mix in with AHA + Lactic acid from The Ordinary because it’s hydrating. You could also use mix it in with the Ordinary’s Mandelic acid. 

Combo 4:

2-in-1 combo option

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution - $7.20 

Salicylic acid is one of the most commonly used ingredients for acne-prone skin, but it’s oil-soluble. So, it literally dissolves the oil in the skin, and it can make dry skin worse. If you do have dry skin and acne, a salicylic cleanser or moisturizer might be too much. So, you can try this salicylic acid with squalane. Squalane is almost identical to squalene with an "e," the oil our skin naturally produces and makes up the acid mantle.

But, when our skin is dry, our acid mantle might be a bit compromised. So, when we use an active for acne, we want to give it to our skin in the form of an oil that can replenish our skin barrier. That’s why this product is amazing. It’s truly one of Cassandra’s favorite dry skin products from The Ordinary. Because it’s lightweight, you can still use it if you have oily skin. 

This is a beautiful formula, and it gives you a nice glow. It has a main ingredient that helps to exfoliate and get rid of acne bacteria, but it also moisturizes.

Coverphoto cred: Getty/ Klaus Verdett