Acne – something more synonymous with the Summer – is seemingly causing havoc on skin during the Winter months as well. With the temperature dropping, the central heating going up and the necessary need to wrap up warmer, it’s no wonder that our skin is feeling the effects. However, not all hope is lost because we’ve caught up with some of the most sought after skin experts to bring you some much-needed advice on how to tackle those pesky winter spots.
What causes winter acne?
According to sk;n’s Group Medical Director, Dr Daron Seukeran, it’s down to multiple reasons.
“Central heating dries it out, scarves suffocate it and harsh weather irritates it, so we’re left with dry, angry and flaky skin”, he reveals.
Which, isn’t ideal given that with the temperatures dropping and the dark, cold nights setting in, all of the above are 100% necessary.
On top of that, Dr Michael Barnish, Aesthetic Doctor and Skin Expert at Expert Aesthetics by Dr Jonquille Chantrey, adds that “our skin becomes drier as a result of the low humidity conditions of cold weather”.
He continues: “Strong, cold winds contribute to the loss of skin protection and can strip the skin of essential surface lipids, that usually lock in moisture and protect the skin from the external environment. With less protection, it is more likely for bacteria to penetrate the dry skin, resulting in spots and blemishes. This can occur anywhere on the body”.
However, it’s not just the weather that’s the issue. It’s how we’re dealing with it too.
“Covering your skin with winter clothing means that your skin is unable to breathe as much as normal. Hats that sit on the forehead such as beanie hats, and scarves that cover the face, can trap oil and encourage breakouts”, Aesthetic Nurse and Skin Expert, Kay Greveson of Regents Park Aesthetics adds.
Well, what are we meant to do about that? With the weather out of our control and our desire to stay warm, we need to find something that is going to rid us of these pesky spots before party season.
How can I treat my winter acne?
Thankfully, there are some steps that we can take to prevent a breakout during the colder months that won’t leave us freezing cold either.
Go Shopping – Kay Greveson suggests going shopping for alternative winter warmers.
“Choose hats & scarves with natural fabrics if possible and try to wash your winter woolies regularly to remove oils and dirt that could transfer onto your skin”, she suggests.
Exfoliate – Dr Daron Seukeran recommends exfoliating once or twice a week as it will “remove a build-up of dead skin cells, makeup and oils which will reveal glowing fresh skin underneath. Regular exfoliation also helps to minimise the appearance of pores”. Just make sure you’re not aggressive with exfoliation, especially if you have sensitive skin. If your skin is super reactive, you might want to pass on physical exfoliants completely and opt for topical serums and creams that break down dead skin cells without the need for washing off.
Stay Hydrated – Likewise, a handy trick of the trade is the ‘8 by 8’ rule in order to stay hydrated.
Dr Daron explains: “The phrase ‘8 by 8’ is useful at keeping track of how many glasses of water you consume before the end of the day; simply drink eight glasses of water by 8pm and you’ll have had your fill for the day”.
Dr Michael Barnish agrees: “Keeping well hydrated is essential to minimise the effect of the dry cold weather on your skin. This is water and not tea, coffee, juice or alcohol, which actually dehydrate the body, meaning you may need more water per day to keep hydrated”.
Change How You Shower – Apparently your showering technique could also be to blame.
“Whilst a hot shower on a cold winter’s morning may sound heavenly, think twice before reaching for the thermostat. Very hot water strips our skin of essential oils, creates a mild burn and leads to dehydration. This causes our skin to appear red and sometimes swollen. However, warm water is skin safe, and covering the skin with an essential oil or moisturiser immediately afterwards will reap more nourishing benefits, as your skin is more porous and therefore more likely to absorb to products applied”, Dr Daron reveals.
What products can I use on my winter acne?
Changing Your Moisturiser – sk:n’s Group Medical Director, Dr Daron Seukeran suggests you should “look for moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid, as it helps prevent skin from drying out. If you’ve got flaky patches, don’t be tempted to peel, but opt for a heavier moisturiser instead. You’d change your clothes for summer and winter, so change your products, too”.
Alternatively, for very dry skin that needs regular, daily nourishment try applying Mixa Restoring Body Lotion (£6.49 – £8.99, Superdrug) after your morning or evening shower.
And BONUS: it’s enriched with Allantoin meaning that the non-greasy formula soaks straight in, allowing you to get dressed immediately.
Try Anti-Ageing Products – Might sound odd if you feel that you’re not yet at an age where such products are required but turns out, that they have somewhat magic ingredients in them. Michael Barnish reveals that “we need to encourage the skin to reform and reproduce the protection it has lost. There are strong, protective anti-ageing skin products on the market to really help to achieve this. I would always recommend ZO Skin Care products. These products can penetrate the skin well to deliver the adequate nutrition it needs to rebuild its defence”.
Always Use SPF – In order to keep your skin looking healthy, SPF should be part of your daily skin routine. Surprisingly, even during the winter months, UV rays can still be extremely harmful to the skin and can lead to discolouration and dry skin.
Opt For A Purifier – Kay Greveson of Regents Park Aesthetics offers a solution to tackling the dry air in your home as “investing in a air purifier may help rebalance your home or office environment & be kinder on your skin”.
Skincare – A product that we’re obsessed with is Sanoflore’s Concentré Magnifica. It really does live up to it’s ‘magnifica’ name and is a bit of a miracle worker for spots and blemishes. Not only that, though, it combats shine along the T-Zone and reduces the appearance of pores by absorbing excess sebum and sweat in an instant. However, it’s seriously kind to your skin as it contains ten essential oils and salicylic acid and perlite to control any future breakouts as well.
Now you can go forth and conquer the party season with super clear and enviable skin.
words by Katie Meadway
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