Many women and men experience severe acne outbreaks in winters. There are many reasons why this may be the case. Winters cause excess skin dryness and destruction of the protective barrier lipids. Under-protecting the skin causes the skin to become even more dehydrated. On the contrary, the use of oil based or comedogenic moisturizers tend to clog pores leading to comedones and breakouts. So if you happen to experience acne in winter but not in summers, read on-this guide is for you.
Why does my skin look so bad in winters?
The main reason why the skin tends to become dry in winters is because of the cold air. Indoors too we use central heating which dries up the skin’s barrier further. Bathing habits like the use of hot water also further depletes water from the skin. If you have the habit of using alcohol or astringent based skin care products like toners etc then the skin’s barrier is further destroyed. Over exfoliation, scrubbing loofahs and even so-called natural soaps can all make your skin extremely dry. All these factors send your sebaceous glands into an overdrive. They try to overcome the dryness by producing excess sebum. The sebum dries up and interacts with bacterium and dirt resulting in inflammation of the hair follicle. The result: acne, pustules and pimples on the cheeks, chin and forehead.
Can cold weather cause acne? Yes- you now know why!
As based on explanation above the main factor behind acne in winters is hyperactive sebaceous glands. However, cold weather is not the only contributing factor for adult and teenage acne. There are many other contributors like hormonal issues, improper diet and stress all of which could result in acne. Also, the soaps and cleansers we use in summers may end up being very harsh on the delicate skin in winter; skin which already has been stripped off its delicate protective barrier. So, it is very important to replace your regular cleansers with non-alcohol cleansers like Cetaphil which have in-built moisturizers to replace the lost lipid barrier and protect the skin.
What can you do to prevent winter acne breakouts?
1. Change your cleansing habits
Always wash your face with cool water and a moisturizing face wash. If needed, get recommendations for cleansers from your dermatologist for sensitive skin. To prevent acne breakouts on the back and buttocks, soak in bath water to which you have added some Epsom salts or essential oils. However, do try to keep the bath short in order to prevent skin winter dryness. Do not scrub your skin harshly after cleansing. Always pat it dry gently.
2. Moisturize after bathing
For any skin type,you must avoid toners in winters. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer after cleansing, each time. Use a different product for the face and another one for the body. Learn to read labels, and avoid products with alcohol or astringents in them.
3. Watch your diet
In winters, we often crave hot, oily and spicy foods. However, these could trigger acne outbreaks. Focus more on watery fruits and vegetables that will keep your skin hydrated from inside out. If possible, keep a food journal to see which foods may be triggering your flare ups. Limit intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol. If you are a smoker, try to quit. These factors can also lead to hormonal acne which gets worse in winters.
Home remedies for winter acne
- Avoid constipation. Drink tons of water and eat fiber rich foods (mainly colorful fruits and veggies) to stay regular.
- Get adequate sleep. The metabolic processes which affect your skin also work during rest. So adequate sleep of 6-8 hours is essential.
- Run a humidifier in the room to prevent the heaters from drying up your skin.
- Avoid picking at the pimples as this can spread the infection.
- Wash your face with raw, organic honey. Massage the honey into the skin and leave on for a few minutes. Wash off with cool water. Repeat every day.
- Make a face mask with egg whites and dried orange peel powder. Apply this to the acne and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with cool water and repeat weekly. This remedy hydrates the skin and also reduces blemishes.
- Aloe Vera extracts are a wonderful treatment for winter acne flare-ups. Slice a leaf and apply the gel to the blemishes. If allergic reaction occurs, discontinue use. You can also use lemon juice for acne but this remedy stings if you have active pus filled zits.
- Never step outside without sun protection. Use a product with broad spectrum SPF
- For pimples and zits, use products containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These will dry up the pimples quickly.
- Take Vitamin C supplements to enhance immunity.
Cold weather can cause acne breakouts and make your skin look worse in winters. We hope these preventive tips and home remedies for winter acne help you.