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For anyone with acne, you probably know by now that treating your skin is a job that needs to be done 365 days a year. However, many people don’t realize that as the weather changes with the seasons, our bodies do too, and this includes our skin.
Our skin is the largest organ on our body, and because it is exposed to the world, it also feels the effects of the elements, whatever they may be at any given time of year. During the cold months, the surface of the skin tends to dry out due to freezing temperatures, harsh winds, forced hot air, and an overall decrease in hydration, as people tend to need less water when they’re not sweating as much.
Much the same way as how our diet affects acne from the inside, the condition of our skin can trigger certain responses from within the body. When skin becomes too dry, the surface can become flaky, or even crack and break, exposing our bodies to harmful bacteria. The dryness can also indicate to the sebaceous glands that they need to produce more sebum (an oily substance needed for skin to stay moisturized and protected). When these glands produce too much sebum, it can become trapped within the pores, and when paired with dry, dead skin cells or debris on the surface, the pore can become clogged which leads to acne breakouts.
Keeping your skin acne-free this winter is not impossible, as long as you have a solution to combat the cold, dry air. These are our top tips for keeping winter from harming your acne prone skin.
Note to AcnEase® users: Some people have asked if they should change their dose during the winter months. Remember, AcnEase® works 24/7 for you, so you don’t have to change anything if you’re positive that you’re taking the correct regimen for your skin. To be on the safe side, if you haven’t already, you can always check here to see what type of acne you have and which treatment is the best for it.
1. Moisturizing inside and out. By moisturizing the skin with a non-comedogenic moisturizer, the surface of your complexion will keep from flaking and triggering the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, the oily substance needed for skin to maintain a healthy function. If you can’t resist cranking the heat, try adding a humidifier, at least in the bedroom while you sleep. A lot of moisture can be lost from the skin by lingering in a hot shower on a cold morning, so try keeping the temperatures warm, and shortening the duration. Also, make sure you’re hydrated and if anything, drink some more water!
2. Switching up your formulas. For anyone with acne, finding the right topical solution for your skin usually isn’t something you want to stray from, but finding an alternate to take over once the seasons change might be more beneficial than you think. Harsh chemicals found in many topical acne treatments, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide will often dry even the oiliest complexions to the point of flaking, which will only exacerbate the acne condition. If you can’t live without a wash intended for acne-prone skin, consider switching to a creamy or soap-free formula, and find a fragrance-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer that works for you. If you already have dry skin, reach for a thicker formula until some humidity finally returns to the air.
3. Keeping skin covered. Between the dry, whipping winds outside, and the dry, stagnant air inside, the winter can be a hard time for skin to stay hydrated. In the same way that moisturizing lubricates the skin (be it with a lotion, cream, or tall glass of water), keeping that skin covered allows for a barrier which keeps moisture in, and dry air out. Wearing natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton, hemp or silk can protect the skin indoors, while a scarf made from alpaca, cashmere or pashmina can keep those cold winds off of your face, and lock moisture in.
4. Keeping linens clean. This applies to anything that could possibly come in contact with your face (or chest and back, for those with body acne). Towels, pillow cases, shirts, bras, and scarves should be washed in warm water just as often in the winter as in the warmer months. Bacteria, dead skin cells and other dirt and debris can build up on these surfaces, contaminating skin and possibly clogging pores, which can lead to acne breakouts.
5. Working out. It might be a little tougher to get off that warm and comfy couch and into a gym when temps are near freezing, but working up a sweat is an important aspect in keeping skin healthy. Increasing your heart rate gets your blood pumping, which circulates oxygen to the skin’s cells, and allows the liver to flush waste and cellular debris from the system, detoxifying the body. As always, remember to shower, wash your workout wear, and drink LOTS of water to stay hydrated. Your skin, body and brain will thank you for it!
We want to hear from you! What are your winter skincare must-do’s? Tell us in the comments below!