If your skin is highly susceptible to acne, it might not take much to trigger a breakout. And when winter rolls around, your flare ups might increase in frequency and severity thanks to the drier, colder air. This lack of moisture in the environment can weaken your skin’s moisture barrier, leaving it more vulnerable to debris, bacteria, and infection. To make matters worse, certain acne treatments can leave your skin even drier than it was before. If you’re not armed with the proper knowledge or products, then, you might experience a winter filled with whiteheads. Let’s go over some ways for those with acne prone dry skin to steer clear from breakouts this winter.
The cold outside air isn’t the only factor responsible for drying out your skin during the winter -- the things that warm you up, like hot showers and indoor heating, contribute to dry skin, too. In other words, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, your skin may suffer the consequences. The key to mitigating dry skin and the acne breakouts that follow is to keep your skin properly hydrated.
First, take control of your lifestyle and surroundings -- shorten your baths and showers and reduce the water’s heat so it’s still comfortable but not scathing hot, and install humidifiers in your living room, bedroom, etc. to combat the dry air from interior heating. Then, boost your skin’s hydration directly by applying a moisturizer that’s right for your skin type once or twice daily. And if you want to use products to treat your acne, make sure they don’t dry out your skin in the process or introduce too much oil -- both extremes can result in further breakouts. Ultimately, you want to take a balanced approach regarding the products you use and the way you adjust your surroundings.
While it’s important to regularly exfoliate your skin, it is possible to go too far, especially during the winter when your skin is more sensitive. Over-exfoliating in the winter can irritate and tighten your skin, dehydrating it, reddening it, and exaggerating lines and wrinkles. As mentioned previously, moisturizing your skin with the right product(s) helps combat these effects, but it’s important to avoid over-exfoliating in the first place. If you typically use a particular exfoliating solution for your skin, then (i.e. salicylic acid), you may want to either reduce the frequency with which you use it during the winter or use a less-potent exfoliating solution for the duration of these colder, drier months (those with acne prone dry skin might consider using an exfoliating solution that doesn’t contain alcohol).
Yes, your skin can still undergo sun damage during the winter, even on a cloudy day. Fortunately, if you’re outside during the winter, most of your body will probably be covered by layers of clothing. Your face and hands, however, might remain exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Overexposure to sunlight can further dry out your skin and contribute to other skin problems, so make sure to apply sunscreen (30+ SPF) to these uncovered areas, especially if you plan on being outside for a while.
If you’re concerned about breaking out from wearing sunscreen, you can put these worries to rest -- high-quality sunscreen will not worsen your acne or cause new breakouts. On the contrary, wearing sunscreen will help you avoid such problems during the winter and beyond. Best of all, some sunscreens even contain moisturizing properties (and some moisturizers contain SPF), so you can protect your skin from the sun while boosting its hydration levels at the same time.
The best way to care for your acne prone dry skin this winter is to first speak with your dermatologist. They can give you further advice on keeping your skin healthy and hydrated during the winter, point you to and prescribe the most effective acne treatment options for your skin type, and more. Let the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners help you beat those breakouts and maintain beautiful skin all winter long. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.