Is it good to dry out acne? Is it better to dry out or moisturize a pimple? Should I use a drying lotion to get rid of acne fast? This is the scientific answer.

THIS Gets Rid of Acne Fast… and I NEVER Recommend You Use It

In Acne by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

I still get that feeling. Of feeling so self-conscious about a breakout all I want to do is stay home. I’m willing to try anything under the sun to get rid of it because breakouts make me feel embarrassed, ugly, helpless and insecure. And so when drying lotion became a thing, I was all over them.

Take that Vesuvius chin acne.


But my friend… drying lotions were part of what kept me trapped in a constant treating-healing cycle. In fact, they worsened my acne long-term.

Psst – I’m not here to tell you drying solutions don’t work. Because heck yes they do. Drying lotions can help you get rid of pimples fast – but – they do it at a cost…

I’m just so happy you’re here with me now so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did. Remember, you are beautiful with or without acne, I’m just here to help you notice what your skin’s ‘screaming’ so we can get your body and skin health booming.

These are 3 reasons why I scientifically never recommend you use drying solutions to get rid of acne fast, plus, what I counterintuitively recommend you do instead 🥰

Is it good to dry out acne? Is it better to dry out or moisturize a pimple? Should I use a drying lotion to get rid of acne fast? This is the scientific answer.

1. Drying Lotion Makes Acne Bacteria Thrive

😨 you say bye, bye blemishes with a few applications of a drying lotion but here’s what’s happening after.

When you dry out acne you dry out your skin and this upsets your natural skin biology. Ever heard of pH levels? Well, your skin has one and it LOVES to be slightly acidic (between pH 4.2-5). When your skin gets dry your skin’s pH level rises like it’s on a rollercoaster. In fact, it increases to a level that encourages acne bacteria to thrive.

It can’t be argued with my friend, peek at this quote from a published science study;

The uppermost layer of the stratum corneum is acidic. The low pH provides protection by slowing down the growth of some bacteria. Curr Probl Dermatol. Basel, Karger, 2018, vol 54, pp 115-122

Yeesh – how science gooky eh.

Translation – the top layer of your skin is acidic. Yes, yes, yes – it needs to be this way because a slightly acidic pH protects your skin against an overgrowth of bacteria, like for example acne bacteria.

Your skin’s acidity’s like a superwoman cape, shielding you from the baddies 😂

Now peek at this;

P. acnes grows well in an environment with a pH range of 6.0~6.5, but when pH drops to 5.5, its growth noticeably decreases. Ann Dermatol. 2016 Apr; 28(2): 216–221.

Translation – P. acnes is the fancy name for acne bacteria and here this study tells us they LOVE to grow at a higher pH level – one that our skin can easily reach when we use drying solutions.

Removing drying skincare is one of the first things I do when I’m working with a new client in my Acne Clinic. It can show a quick improvement, fast when paired with the right skin health-supporting changes.

Is it good to dry out acne? Bottom line: Yes, drying lotions can help you get rid of pimples fast BUT with long-term use they’re highly and scientifically likely to make your acne worse.

2. Drying Lotion Can Worsen Your Acne Flares Long Term

We just touched on this a wee bit. So I know you’re already one step ahead of me here 😉

You now know when you use a drying lotion for acne your skin’s pH level increases. Boom. What I didn’t mention yet is this upsets something called your skin’s acid mantle and in turn your skin barrier.

These are both shields to your skin.

They’re like double contraception 😅

See your skin doesn’t want to be impregnated by the wrong bacteria. It’s selective, it knows what it likes.

So your skin’s acid mantle – a layer of acidity – plus your skin barrier – a layer of closely packed dead skin cells – form an impenetrable barrier to the wrong bacteria. Bacteria that will make your skin’s immune function start behaving like it’s at an all-night rave.

BUT – when you use a drying lotion these two changes happen.

First, your skin’s acid mantle becomes less acidic. 

Second, holes are getting pierced in your skin barrier – your layer of closely packed dead skin cells.

Your skin barrier starts to get leaky because popular drying lotions like Mario Badescu drying lotion contain actives like alcohol and zinc. In science, we give these actives the fancy name of ‘astringents’.

An astringent is just an ingredient that can change the shape of your skin cells, think of it like drying them out to a crispy shell. Ever used a vacuum-packed clothes bag? A similar thing’s happening to your skin cells.

The kicker is this – when your skin’s shielding system is poorly (i.e. your skin ‘condom’ is off), bacteria that naturally live on your skin but are prevented from penetrating your skin get an all-access pass. That’s when they cause inflammation and further infection. Red, hot, angry, inflammatory acne is a sign of this.

Is it good to dry out acne? As Destiny’s Child would sing, No, no, no, no, no. Drying out your acne depletes your skin barrier, worsening acne flares long term.

3. Drying Lotions Are Irritating Your Skin

…and guess what. Irrigation causes inflammation and acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition.

Drying lotions are like a domino train that ends in a worsening of your acne flares.

Remember how drying lotions are upsetting your skin biology?

And how they’re depleting your skin’s contraceptive 😉 shield?

Well, this means everything and anything can get into your skin.  Dust, pollution particles, pollen, allergens, irritants.

It also means your skin’s losing hydration fast. There’s nothing to trap it in.

It’s the perfect irritation storm. 

In fact, acne can literally be caused by irritation alone. That’s the major trigger for MaskNe.

Is it good to dry out acne? Bottom line: drying out your acne can cause irritation. As irritation causes inflammation and acne is an inflammatory skin condition, drying lotions can make acne worse long term.

Psst – here’s what I recommend you do instead. It might seem crazy at first.

>>> Instead of drying out your acne, I recommend you start eating your way out of acne 😀

Because the foods you eat are likely a key cause of your acne. They were certainly a big foundation of my ‘Vesuvius mountains’. And we need to tackle your acne foundations to clear you of acne for good. I have this free cheatsheet you can download here which is a yes, no, sometimes list for clear skin eating.

Click here to download it now and get started on the path to clearer, healthier, happier skin.

I can’t wait for you to finally start feeling like something’s working. Like your skin can be clear again.

Oh and psst – if you have a friend who needs to hear this right now, will you use that big green sharing button to forward her this blog with my love?