BY: LBL Team

Why Your Skin Breaks Out More in Winter

The truth behind cold-weather acne

During the summer, the hot weather and humidity cause pesky pimples to crop up along with congested pores. Unfortunately, that cycle doesn’t stop with a change in seasons. Come wintertime, you may find that you’re still dealing with breakouts. Since your skin is naturally drier in winter, the last thing you want to do is slather on anything further harsh or drying. What gives?

Why does cold-weather acne happen?

When it’s cold, there is less moisture in the environment. And when the skin doesn’t have natural oils, moisture leaks out, causing dryness. This leads to the skin’s natural moisture barrier being compromised, meaning it is less able to fight off bacteria and infection. Cold weather further prompts the skin to over-produce oil to compensate for lack of moisture in the air, resulting in unsightly zits. Some of the most common culprits behind cold-weather acne include:

  • Touching your face. Your hands come into contact with a lot of different things throughout the day, such as cell phones and doorknobs. That bacteria transfer could cause breakouts. If you also wear heavy hand lotions during the winter months, that’ll only catalyze the formation of pimples.
  • Not moisturizing enough. In the wintertime, it’s essential that you add a couple of more skincare products to your beauty regimen. Look for skincare products containing humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, that are ultra-moisturizing.
  • Over-moisturizing. A lot of people experience dry skin in winter climates. But, to combat this, some people may end up over-moisturizing or using the wrong type of moisturizer, resulting in congestion, bumps, and breakouts. Use moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, and glycolic and lactic acids that won’t clog pores.
  • Hot showers and indoor heating. Indoor heating produces air that has less moisture, which dries out the skin. Hot water also dries out skin by stripping it of its natural oils. Make sure to shower using lukewarm water to protect the skin’s natural barrier. You can also use a humidifier indoors to help restore moisture to the air.

How do you banish winter acne for good?

To curtail blemishes, incorporate smart acne products into your skincare routine. It’s a complete myth that you have to use drying agents like calamine, benzoyl peroxide, and alcohol on acne. Dry acne needs moisturizing, too. That’s why you want to incorporate a hydrating serum into your skincare routine to keep your skin from drying out. Salicylic acid-based skincare products are also good to use, since they calm acne without over-drying.

  1. “Here’s Why Your Acne is Even Worse in the Winter,” Women’s Health, December 14, 2015.
  2. “Why Your Breakouts Seem to Get Worse in the Winter,” Allure, December 20, 2018.
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