Do you think the cold temperatures and brisk air of winter give you a pass on acne breakouts? The truth is that acne does not hibernate once the temperature drops. In fact, you may be more likely to experience breakouts during the winter months, even if you have normally clear skin.
While the end result may be the same, the scientific reasons for winter acne breakouts are different, requiring a change in your skin care routine to effectively control them. Here is a closer look at why acne breakouts happen in winter weather along with tips to battle back:
How Cold Weather Intensifies Acne
Since breakouts occur when pores are clogged with excess oil and debris, it would seem to be a logical conclusion that cold, dry air should reduce oil production in your skin. In reality, when your complexion becomes dry, oil glands kick into high gear in an attempt to compensate for the lack of moisture.
During the summer, heat and humidity cause you to sweat more than usual. Perspiration is your body’s natural way of controlling its internal temperature while flushing out dirt and other toxins in your skin, a process that occurs much less frequently in the wintertime, allowing debris to accumulate in greater quantities.
Avoiding Winter Acne Breakouts
Consistency is the common thread running through both summer and winter skin care routines. When you find the methods and products that work for you, use them faithfully for maximum protection against breakouts.
1. Use a gentle cleanser
During winter, it’s even more important to avoid products that can irritate your skin. A water-based pore cleanser will work without stripping your complexion of precious moisture. Limit face washing to once in the morning and once at night.
2. Reduce or eliminate use of acne products
Toners, scrubs and other topical products usually contain harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide that are extremely drying to skin. If you have serious breakouts that just won’t go away, apply a spot treatment that has a lower concentration of acne-zapping ingredients.
3. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
A good moisturizing product should be a part of your daily routine regardless of skin type, but it’s absolutely essential during the winter months. There are several brands on the market made with a lighter texture to work specifically for oily skin. If your skin remains excessively dry, consider using a heavier moisturizer at night.
4. “Feed” your face
Excellent nutrition isn’t just for your diet. Fruit facials are an organic way to add natural moisture along with a rich supply of valuable vitamins and minerals. You can purchase ready-made fruit packs or make your own with a blender. Papayas, bananas, strawberries, mangoes and grapes are good choices, with yogurt added for a bit of creaminess. Honey’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful ingredient as well.
5. Keep it cool
While the idea of a steaming hot shower on a cold winter day is appealing, the heat will counteract any benefits from the water and leave your skin even drier. Use lukewarm water when showering or washing your face.
6. Moisturize from the inside out
In the absence of heat, you tend to be thirsty less often, which increases the chance of dehydration. Set the alarm on your cell phone as a reminder to drink plenty of water. Caffeine-free tea, with your choice of options such as lemon, mint and honey, replenishes fluids while also keeping you warm and relaxed.
7. Hit the gym… or the sledding trails
We tend to be more sedentary in the winter, but you don’t have to let frigid temperatures turn you into a couch potato. Traditional exercise like cardio workouts and weight training are great, but you will benefit from any type of physical activity. Enjoy a spirited snowball fight with friends and family, help the kids build a snowman, or take a thrilling sled ride. The boost in circulation delivers nutrients to skin cells, while perspiration carries away dead skin cells and other debris.
With proper wintertime care, your skin will show the glow of good health rather than the dullness and irritation of acne breakouts. Talk to your dermatologist about these and other suggestions for maintaining your complexion in cold weather.