Why Do I Get Acne In the Winter?

For people who suffer from acne it is not uncommon for it to get worse during the winter.  It is also not uncommon for those who do not suffer from acne to breakout during the winter.

Why does winter cause my skin to breakout?

Winter weather can bring on a number of skin problems and it is not uncommon for people to suffer from dry skin, irritation or dry and cracking skin that can cause acne to worsen.  These problems also tend to lead to excessive oil production which then leads to more acne outbreaks.  Part of the reason that skin becomes some problematic during the winter months is due to the wind and dry, cold air sucking moisture out of our skin.  If you are already using topical medications or other treatments for your acne that tend to dry out your skin then that combined with the drying of skin from the weather is the perfect disastrous combination for discomfort, dryness and peeling to occur.

What can I do to help prevent dryness from occurring?

Switch Cleansers

The good news is that there are a few things you can do to try and keep your skin hydrated during the cold winter months.  For starters changing your cleanser can sometimes be helpful.  If your skin feels tight or dry after cleansing then try switching to a less concentrated cleanser that is milder.  Your skin will thank you later!

Even though proven to be effective, cleansers that contain ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid can be harsher on skin, and particularly drying, especially if used in the winter time when your skin is already suffering dryness.  Try switching from Benzoyl or Salicylic Acid to a gentler foaming cleanser or bar such as Dove.  You can always switch back to your original treatment once the weather warms up and your skin stops being so stubborn.


Using a moisturizer regularly is important and can be very beneficial during those cold winter months.  Nearly all acne treatments dry out skin to some extent, so remembering to moisturize is always a good idea as it helps avoid flaking, peeling, and keeps skin hydrated when its cold out.

You do not have to use a lot of moisturizer as it can be greasy sometimes.  A small amount will do just fine.  Try using a moisturizing gel or lotion.  They tend to be less greasy and lighter than other products that are labeled moisturizing creams.  Making sure that your moisturizer is marked non-comedogenic.  Non-comedogenic products are less likely to cause blockages in the pores.

Drink lots of fluids

Drinking lots of fluids like water can help keep your body hydrated.  Keeping your body hydrated is just as important as keeping your skin hydrated.  If possibly try to get the 64 oz. of recommended water intake daily.  This helps keep your body hydrated and restores nutrients etc.  If water is just not striking your fancy try something like decaffeinated tea.

Alternate Topical Medications

If your skin is still feeling really dry and nasty try alternating the use of your topical medications and cut back on them.  Instead of using them every day try using them every other day.

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