While acne is often the result of too much oil and dead skin cells accumulating in the pores, it is still possible to have dry skin and acne. What's worse, many acne treatments dry out your skin even further. In these cases, you'll likely have another unpleasant symptom -- peeling skin. Your skin will likely itch, crack and draw even more attention to your acne. Luckily, there is a way to stop your skin from peeling even as you treat your acne.
Use a mild cleanser twice a day. Look for a product that is free of fragrance, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates and oil. This will ensure you're getting the gentlest cleansing possible while still removing dirt and oil. Wet your face, work the cleanser into a lather and rub it onto the face well before rinsing with warm water. Follow up with a splash of cold water to tighten the pores.
Soak a cotton pad with a water-based toner, and then swipe it all over your face to remove more dirt and dead skin cells. Avoid toners that contain alcohol as these will dry out your skin even more and make your peeling worse.
Apply acne medication lightly once a day or every other day, depending on your tolerance. Start out with one application a day of a topical treatment that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If your skin peeling worsens, reduce treatment to every other day.
Apply an oil-free moisturizer immediately after applying acne medication. This will seal in moisture and soothe the peeling skin and any accompanying itching. Use a small amount of an oil-free moisturizer, and apply it all over your face, paying special attention to the areas that dry out the most, usually around the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead.
Apply an oil-free sunscreen every day, no matter what. Look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 15, and apply at least 15 minutes before going outside. Sun exposure will dry your skin further. Likewise, many acne medications make your skin photosensitive, so using a sunscreen is imperative for proper skin protection.