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Dry, oily skin: This care helps if your skin can't decide between dry and oily!

Dry oily skin combines two skin conditions that couldn't be more opposite. Does the following sound familiar to you: On the one hand, your skin feels tight, constantly looks flaky and dry - on the other hand, it tends to have deep-seated impurities and feels like oily sandpaper? And the knock-out: Both care for dry and oily skin only makes things worse?

Don't worry, help is at hand. With our SOS care compass you can finally find your way out of the skincare labyrinth. We'll show you step by step how you can finally bring dehydrated, dry, oily skin back into balance.

Seborrhea sicca skin care

Photos by Ron Lach and Pavel Danilyuk

What is dry oily skin?

Dry oily skin (Seborrhoea sicca) is a variant of oily skin in which characteristics of dry and oily skin appear at the same time.

  • The cause of this skin condition is a lack of moisture in the skin, which coincides with increased sebum production and a keratinization disorder in the top layer of skin (visible through increased skin flakes).

  • If you have dry, oily skin, your skin barrier is weakened , meaning that too much moisture escapes to the outside. Dry fatty skin is therefore also called “dehydrated fatty skin”.

  • To make matters worse (in a very literal sense!), the skin produces too much sebum for this reason.

In this skin condition, seemingly irreconcilable opposites come together: an extreme feeling of dryness and greasy scales as well as impurities.

This is also why choosing the right care for Seborrhea sicca can feel a lot like Mission Impossible.

Dry, greasy – or both?! Why proper care for dehydrated oily skin is a real challenge

  • If you consider your skin to be dry - and use rich, moisturizing skin care - this type of skin care is often an optimal breeding ground for additionally clogged hair follicles and the resulting impurities.

  • You're also not doing yourself any favors with care products for oily, impure skin. They often dry out the skin even more . Your already hyperactive sebaceous glands then compensate for the increased dryness with an absolute skin sebum overdrive.

What dry, oily skin needs instead is not fat, but: moisture . Sounds easy? However, it's not quite.

To ensure that moisturizing care finds its way through the flaky, thickened stratum corneum, there are a few skincare tips to consider. I'll tell you in detail what these are below. First: What are the typical signs of dry, oily skin?

Do I have dry, oily skin? You can recognize seborrhea sicca by these symptoms

If you have dehydrated oily skin , it can sometimes feel like your skin is talking to you in riddles. Clogged pores, too much sebum and impurities suggest that you have oily skin - while itching and feelings of tension indicate dry skin. Because your skin creates a very special balancing act: it is dehydrated and oily.

These symptoms are typical for dry oily skin:

  • Your complexion looks pale and brittle.

  • Oily scales collect on the surface of your skin.

  • Your skin is prone to clogged pores, impurities and blackheads.

  • You often suffer from itching, increased sensitivity and redness.

  • When you stroke your skin, it feels like greasy sandpaper.

By the way: The most striking difference between dry, oily skin and oily skin is the lack of moisture , which characterizes the former and does not occur in the latter. Here you can find more information about caring for seborrhea oleosa, the more well-known form of oily skin .

Did you recognize your skin? Then let's break down together which care products will transform Seborrhea sicca into happy, feel-good skin.

Bring dry, oily skin into balance: Your skin needs these products and care now.

The right care for dry, oily skin has the following goals:

  • Remove greasy scales and calluses

  • Soothe irritations with gentle care ingredients

  • Provide intensive moisture to your thirsty skin

  • regulate sebum production , clarify the skin and thereby prevent impurities

With the following 5 steps you can implement this in your daily skin care routine for dehydrated, oily skin:

1. A smoothing scrub

Why can't you treat dry, oily skin without peeling?

Because it is the most important prerequisite for all subsequent care steps . The fact is: Even the best moisturizer cannot work if flakes of skin and a thickened stratum corneum block its way into the skin.

Especially when it comes to seborrhea sicca, peelings work like a thorough spring cleaning for the skin: by removing calluses and old skin cells , they create the basis for your subsequent skin care to reach where it should.

  • Salicylic acid and fruit acid peels can help rid dehydrated oily skin of dead skin cells and relieve discoloration and acne scars 1 . They are gentler than many mechanical peels with abrasive particles - these can damage the skin barrier.

  • Approach AHA and BHA peels slowly until you find the right one for your home care routine. This is especially important if your skin is inflamed or sensitive.

  • Depending on how severe your keratinization disorder is, more concentrated fruit acid or salicylic acid peels may be necessary for optimal effect . We recommend that you have such stronger peels carried out by your natural beautician.

You can find our tips for choosing the right peeling in my blog . With the right peeling everything goes smoothly .

Important : Always make sure you have adequate sun protection if you integrate salicylic acid and fruit acid peels into your care routine 2 . Because AHA and BHA peels expose “new” layers of skin, they increase the skin’s sensitivity to light.

2. A gentle cleanse.

Optimally cleaning dry, oily skin is a real balancing act.

  • On the one hand, the skin should be thoroughly cleansed and freed of deposits, excess sebum and make-up residue.

  • On the other hand, the facial cleansing should be so mild that it does not dry out or irritate your dehydrated skin .

We therefore recommend facial cleansing in two steps:

1. Oil cleansing.

What initially sounds counterintuitive actually brings decisive change to many people affected by dehydrated fatty skin. Since oil binds sebum and dirt without removing lipids from the skin, the skin does not react to make-up removal oil with increased sebum production - but with a refined complexion, clean pores and soft skin.

Oil-based make-up removers , such as FIVE's make-up removal oil, formulated with skin-smoothing organic apricot oil , gently remove make-up, eye make-up and deposits - and give you a soothed, relaxed skin feeling.

2. Mild washing lotion.

To get dry, oily skin under control, we recommend using a mild washing lotion with fruit acids to cleanse your face twice a day - if necessary after removing make-up - for example

  • the clarifying cleansing foam Phaze with PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) from pai Skincare

  • or the skin-refining Shasta wash gel with 5% AHA acids and aloe vera from Holifrog Skincare. 

If after a few weeks your skin has fewer calluses, blackheads and impurities, you can slowly switch to washing your face in the morning with only warm water .

3. A hydrating facial serum.

The ice is broken - or better said: the calluses are removed - and that means: Now your skin is ready for the real game changers in your routine. We're talking about the two intensive moisturizers hyaluronic acid and glycerin - contained in the FIVE facial serum , for example. 

  • Hyaluronic acid works like a thirst quencher for dehydrated, dry, oily skin. There is a very special property of the care substance behind this: hyaluronic acid is a hygroscopic (= water-attracting) substance and can bind 1000 times its own volume in water 3 ! Applied as a serum, hyaluronic acid ensures optimally moisturized skin.

That's not all: hyaluronic acid has a soothing effect on irritation - it also plays an important role in the wound healing process 3 .

  • Like hyaluronic acid, glycerin helps to retain moisture in the skin. By helping to regulate the skin's moisture balance, glycerin also strengthens the functions of the skin barrier 4 . Dry, dehydrated skin in particular benefits from the care effect of this ingredient. Because glycerin provides moisture without being greasy, it is perfect for caring for seborrhea sicca.

  • Rose petal hydrolate has a calming and harmonizing effect. Therefore, it optimally complements the other ingredients in the Five moisturizing serum when caring for dry skin.

You can treat your skin to the deep, hydrating effect of this moisturizing power trio with the oil-free FIVE facial serum , for example - best used in the morning and evening after cleansing your face.

4. A sebum-regulating, lightweight facial oil.

Do you feel like your dehydrated, oily skin needs an extra dose of care, especially in the cold season?

Instead of resorting to moisturizing creams that are too heavy on the skin, we recommend our FIVE Facial Oil Balance . It dissolves calluses thanks to the black cumin oil it contains and keeps your skin soft and smooth . Because black cumin oil is particularly rich in linoleic acid 5 , it also influences the skin's sebum production 6 .

Simply mix the FIVE facial serum and a small amount of FIVE facial oil balance in the palm of your hand and gently apply the resulting emulsion to your face.

5. If necessary: ​​An appointment with your natural beautician.

Was this article a little aha moment for you? If it has just become clear to you that your skin, which seems to be happy with nothing, is actually dry, oily skin, it may make sense to put yourself in the hands of an experienced professional for the time being.

She can help you develop a suitable care routine and give you other valuable tips for daily skin care for seborrhea sicca.

You can have treatments such as microdermabrasion carried out in a dermatological practice. This is a type of peeling in which dead skin cells and deposits are gently rubbed away. Some people affected by dehydrated oily skin report on blogs about a noticeable and visible improvement in their skin condition after treatment.

These tips will help treat dehydrated oily skin

  • Find out how your diet affects your sebum production . The group of B vitamins and vitamin D, as well as vitamin C and zinc, have a sebum-regulating effect 7 . Foods with a low glycemic load (such as legumes and whole grains) can also help control excessive sebum production in dry, oily skin. They reduce the concentration of IGF-1 8 . High concentrations of IGF-1 have a stimulating effect on the formation of sebum in the sebaceous glands.

We have found out what else you can do in our article Reduce sebum production: With these 5 holistic tips you can get too much skin sebum under control! researched for you.

  • Avoid hot water when caring for your skin and body . High water temperatures can wash away important lipids from the skin and have a negative impact on barrier functions 9 . Because more moisture can then escape to the outside, a drying effect occurs - this is particularly fatal for oily skin that is low in moisture.

  • Discover tea tree oil for yourself . Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide that studies have shown works effectively against Malassezia Furfur 10 . This yeast 11, which occurs naturally in the microbiome of our skin, sometimes grows excessively in severely dry, fatty skin. It likes to eat fatty acids, which it finds in abundance when the skin is dehydrated. If the fungus multiplies, metabolic products are produced that can increase the symptoms of sicca and have an irritating effect.

    • Soothe your skin with a tea tree oil and healing clay face mask . Simply mix two drops of tea tree oil with some healing clay and water. Leave the mask on for about 15 minutes, then gently wash off and apply your usual care.

    • Use tea tree oil as an itch-relieving hair treatment. The yeast fungus often extends to the scalp as a side effect of seborrhea sicca. In this case, mix up to 5 drops of tea tree oil with your favorite hair oil and massage the mixture onto the scalp. Rinse out the hair treatment after half an hour.

    • Complete your skin care routine with a tea tree oil hydrosol if you notice that the tea tree oil healing clay facial mask is working for you.

Conclusion: For dry, oily skin, gentle, coordinated care is the key to success.

Here is a brief summary of what is important. When it comes to Seborrhea sicca, the motto is: moisture! If you support the shedding of dead skin cells with a peeling as needed (and twice a day with a mild, thorough cleansing), you will help your dehydrated , oily skin to optimally absorb the subsequent moisturizing care.

Small changes to your skin care habits and food choices can also help keep dry, oily skin and excessive sebum flow at bay.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!
Your Anna

Are you still looking for a facial serum that provides intensive moisture to dehydrated, oily skin with hyaluronic acid? Then discover the vegan facial serum from FIVE here!


1. Rendon, Marta I et al. “Evidence and considerations in the application of chemical peels in skin disorders and aesthetic resurfacing.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 3.7 (2010): 32-43.

2. Funasaka, Yoko et al. “Effect of chemical peeling on the skin in relation to UV irradiation.” Experimental dermatology vol. 21 Suppl 1 (2012): 31-5. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0625.2012.01500.x

3. Bravo, B, Correia, P, Gonçalves Junior, JE, Sant'Anna, B, Kerob, D. Benefits of topical hyaluronic acid for skin quality and signs of skin aging: From literature review to clinical evidence. Dermatologic Therapy. 2022; 35(12):e15903. doi:10.1111/dth.15903

4. Fluhr, Joachim & Darlenski, Razvigor & Surber, Christian. (2008). Glycerol and the skin: Holistic approach to its origin and functions. The British journal of dermatology. 159. 23-34. 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08643.x.

5. Albakry Z, Karrar E, Ahmed IAM, Oz E, Proestos C, El Sheikha AF, Oz F, Wu G, Wang X. Nutritional Composition and Volatile Compounds of Black Cumin (Nigella sativa L.) Seed, Fatty Acid Composition and Tocopherols, Polyphenols, and Antioxidant Activity of Its Essential Oil. Horticulturae. 2022; 8(7):575.

6. Monica Ottaviani, Emanuela Camera, Mauro Picardo, “Lipid Mediators in Acne,” Mediators of Inflammation, vol. 2010, Article ID 858176, 6 pages, 2010.

7. Podgórska A, Puścion-Jakubik A, Markiewicz-Żukowska R, Gromkowska-Kępka KJ, Socha K. Acne Vulgaris and Intake of Selected Dietary Nutrients—A Summary of Information. Healthcare. 2021; 9(6):668.

8. Burris, Jennifer et al. “A Low Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Diet Decreases Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 among Adults with Moderate and Severe Acne: A Short-Duration, 2-Week Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics vol. 118.10 (2018): 1874-1885. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2018.02.009

9. Herrero-Fernandez, Manuel et al. “Impact of Water Exposure and Temperature Changes on Skin Barrier Function.” Journal of clinical medicine vol. 11.2 298. 7 Jan 2022, doi:10.3390/jcm11020298

10. Hammer, K.A. et al. “In vitro activities of ketoconazole, econazole, miconazole, and Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil against Malassezia species.” Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy vol. 44.2 (2000): 467-9. doi:10.1128/AAC.44.2.467-469.2000

11. Berke, Andreas: Technical information on seborrheic blepharitis . Contopharma Deutschland GmbH

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