Is Adult Acne Seasonal?

Acne in adults is usually triggered by a set of inflammatory responses to P.acnes bacterium activity and excess sebum. Over production of sebum in turn is caused by improper diet, stress, hormonal imbalance and other factors. The sebum, along with debris and toxins, becomes a perfect food for the acne-causing bacteria. Recently, many of our readers had sent in questions pertaining to seasonal acne in spring, fall and winter months. We will answer these questions in this guide:

Seasonal acne fall and spring-possible causes and reasons

Some men and women experience much clearer skin in summer while others have acne breakouts due to hot, humid weather and salty sea air. There is a simple explanation for both:

Why does my skin clear in summer

In case your skin clears in summer, it could be because you are drinking more water. Other factors like exercise can also help- people tend to spend more time outdoors in summers and sunshine makes them cheerful owing to the extra boost of vitamin D. These factors could play a role in clear skin summers. People also tend to eat more watery fruits like cucumber and watermelons etc all of which benefit the skin. Seasonal associative disorder or SAD in winters causes depression in some people. These winter blues tend to throw our hormones out of whack, resulting in stress and subsequent acne in fall and winters. Many men and women also drink lesser quantities of water in cooler months. This could be the reason why the skin clears up in summers.

Acne breakouts in fall and spring

Allergic reactions to certain foods, temperature and humidity changes, etc can all factor in acne breakouts. We often tend to use heavy lotions and skin creams in winters, fall and spring months to counter skin dryness. Such skin cosmetics and products could trigger acne. Many women also experience cravings for certain foods in winters and fall months-particularly for sweets, sugary and spicy foods. These could also cause seasonal acne. In winters, we do not receive beneficial effects of sunlight which can also trigger acne. As stated before, not drinking adequate quantities of water can also be one of the factors of acne during seasonal changes.

Remedies and tips for seasonal acne prevention

The treatment of seasonal acne depends on its severity. Following tips can help:

  • Wash the skin well. This is especially true in summers when we sweat excessively. Avoid alcohol based cleansers which tend to aggravate sebum production.
  • Avoid excess sun exposure in summer months. Use a good sunscreen. Reapply the sunscreen every 2-3 hours. Also cover up with a scarf or hat and avoid going outside in peak sunny hours.
  • In winters, drink plenty of water to keep the skin clear. Pay attention to what you eat.
  • Use a mild cleanser to wash the skin in winter. Avoid heavy moisturizing lotions and creams which clog pores.
  • Do not pick at the acne scabs as it could lead to scarring. Germs from the hands can also cause further breakouts.
  • If and when you wear makeup, avoid oil based foundations which clog pores.
  • Avoid deep fried foods, sugary preservative laden foods and refined flour. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables all year round.
  • Take a good multi vitamin pill. Zinc and vitamin B complex deficiency can cause acne flare-ups.


For severe acne, you might want to consider antibiotics but for milder, moderate cases, many over the counter medicines can help. Go for products with salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. These are available in form of creams, lotions, and cleansers. Use them as directed.

For severe seasonal acne and hormonal acne that is worse in winters, your doctor might prescribe tertracycline or minocycline. These are especially given when you have acne all over the body and severe acne on forehead, chin, cheeks, back, neck and chest. Acne antibiotics reduce bacteria in the follicles and clear the skin. However, you may need to keep taking these medicines as the moment you stop, the acne might come back. You could also consider gentler treatment like homeopathy instead. Sulphur is a good homeopathic acne remedy and you may also apply topical homeopathic creams with Calendula or witch hazel.


Seasonal acne breakouts in spring fall and winter can be annoying indeed. With timely appropriate treatment, you can reduce the severity of the disease and avoid complications like scarring.

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