Why Do I Break Out in the Winter?

woman with clean skin

Our skin is susceptible to changes in the seasons. If you live in a hot and humid climate, you may notice that your skin is more oily in the summertime. And if you live in a climate with dry, cold winters, you may notice an increase in breakouts. 

Patients frequently wonder why they are experiencing breakouts in colder temperatures. After all, it seems to make more sense to have a negative reaction to heat and sweat in the summer months. However, it is very common for people to develop acne in cold, winter weather. 

Cold Weather Acne Breakouts

If you’ve spent time in cold climates, you probably find yourself reapplying body lotion frequently. Why? Cool air contains less moisture. In response to the lack of moisture, your skin begins to produce more oil, or sebum, in an attempt to rehydrate your skin.

While this may improve your level of hydration, the excess oil can also clog your pores. Oil, bacteria, dead skin cells and dirt from the environment can enter the hair follicle. The follicle becomes clogged, infected and inflamed. The result is a pimple.

Certain skin care products can also irritate your skin in the winter. Certain acne products, acids and serums make your skin too dry for the cold weather conditions. Again, this will initiate oil production in the body and increase the chances of developing a clogged pore. 

In colder temperatures, you spend more time in heated air. Conditioned air is drier than air outdoors, and can contribute to dry and dehydrated skin. 

Cool, dry air also means that we are applying thicker hand creams and lotions on our bodies. While these thick creams and balms may work wonders for the skin on our hands and feet, they may be too harsh on the skin of our face.

Treating Winter Breakouts

Because the cause of many winter breakouts is cool, dry air and lack of moisture, there are some important steps you can take to reintroduce moisture in a safe and controlled way.

For one, avoid touching your face. Your hands carry bacteria and dirt that can clog pores. If you are using heavy hand creams, the ingredients may be too harsh for the skin of your face and result in breakouts, rashes or other irritations.

Treat the air inside your home or office with a humidifier. Humidifiers introduce moisture into the air and can prevent overdrying of the skin. If you live or work in a building with heated air, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and applying non-comedogenic skin products. Take a break from air-conditioned environments as frequently as possible.

Hot showers may feel good on a cold winter day. However, taking long hot showers can strip your skin of vital moisture and contribute to dry skin conditions and breakouts. Instead, opt for lukewarm and shorter showers.

Consult with your dermatologist to see if the skin care products you are using are contributing to your winter breakouts. Particularly, find out if you are using the correct moisturizer. Some moisturizers don’t provide enough hydration or may have ingredients that irritate sensitive skin.

Leading Acne Dermatologist Atlanta 

It can be frustrating to identify why your skin is breaking out. If you have noticed a change in your skin as the weather cools, your breakouts may be caused by dry air and overly dry skin.

The first thing to do is schedule an appointment with a dermatologist who specializes in acne. Your board-certified dermatologist will be able to help you identify the causes of your breakouts and work with you to get on an effective treatment plan. There are many products, treatments and lifestyle suggestions that can help you get healthy, hydrated and clear skin.

Are you looking for the best acne dermatologist in Atlanta? 

Contact the office of Buckhead Dermatology today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Straughn is a board-certified dermatologist who has been practicing for over 25 years. Patients return to Dr. Straughn because of her knowledge, experience and understanding of the emotional toll that skin conditions such as acne can have on her patients.

Contact Buckhead Dermatology today to schedule your appointment at our Atlanta or College Park office.