13 Jan Got Winter Acne? We’ve Got Solutions
Acne isn’t an inherent rite of passage for teens and for many people it can extend well beyond the high school years. There are numerous types of acne, causes of acne, and fortunately treatments for acne (but you’ll probably have to do more than apply OTC topicals to find a solution). From genetics to hormone fluctuations, we all have different reasons for breakouts, but for a lot of people winter is prime season for acne.
Common acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a kind of inflammatory skin condition that affects the oil glands and hair follicles. Our pores are connected to our oil glands, sometimes known as sebaceous glands. These glands are, in turn, connected to our hair follicles. When there is too much oil (sebum), dead skin cells, or other kinds of debris in the follicles, they can get clogged. This doesn’t necessarily “cause” acne, but it does create the ideal breeding ground for the bacteria that causes acne, Propionibacterium. This kind of bacteria doesn’t need oxygen and it can quickly multiply, resulting in common acne.
Acne also has a number of triggers. This can include stress, some medications, some cosmetics or other skin care products, and even weather.
Winter Skin Woes
Winter brings dry skin for a lot of people. That means the body will produce even more sebum to compensate for dry skin. In cold weather there’s a steep drop in humidity, which leads to dry skin, which in turn means oily skin. However, it’s not just Mother Nature who’s at fault. A lot of indoor heating systems can cause dry skin, as can the inclination to take more, longer hot baths and showers this time of year. Excess sebum in itself isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing, but it can become an issue if it clogs pores and hair follicles.
Plus, dry skin isn’t an optimal protective barrier compared to oily skin. This means that if your skin is dry in winter and you’re one of the few who don’t overproduce sebum, bacteria can still become easily trapped sebum and cause infections. This can lead to skin irritation, cysts, and more severe forms of acne. So, whether you have oilier or dryer skin in the winter, either way you’re at a higher risk of irritated skin and breakouts.
Best Practices to Prevent Winter Acne
If you can, limit your piping hot showers and baths this season in favor of lukewarm water. Choose a medical-grade cleanser that is gentle. Harsher cleansers can further weaken the skin barrier, and we have a variety of cleansers to choose from that can help you keep skin healthy. Always moisturize after a bath or shower, particularly in acne-prone areas like the face, back, and chest.
Exfoliating at home with a gentle medical-grade product should be done no more than once or twice per week. Always follow exfoliation with a moisturizer. Some people may not be good candidates for such routine exfoliation, and you should be extra careful with open lesions. If you’re struggling with breakouts and basic winter skin best practices aren’t cutting it, it’s time to get an expert involved and your acne under control.
In-Office Options for Acne
Acne treatments usually fall into one of two categories: treating active acne and erasing acne scarring. If you have active acne, options like prescription medications and laser skin rejuvenation can be helpful. If acne scarring is the issue, lasers can still work but so can chemical peels and microneedling. Oftentimes, a combination of treatments is needed to achieve fast relief, and this can be discussed during your consultation. Remember that acne is a real medical condition and severe acne can cause permanent scarring. The sooner you tackle your acne, the better off you and your skin will be.
However, if scarring has already occurred, don’t panic. We have a suite of options to undo this damage while helping you prevent future breakouts. Create your own customized acne regimen in collaboration with a skin pro starting today. Get in touch with RefinedMD by calling the office or, for an even faster response, complete the online contact form today.