Tips for Surviving the Winter with Acne-Prone Skin


“It turns out that acne can worsen in the winter,” “It’s common in all areas of the body and can occur during seasonal changes, especially in winter,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D., a Dove dermatologist with a private practice in New York City.

 If you’re prone to winter acne and want to survive the winter successfully, then you’ve come to the right place.  Listed below are some informative reasons and tips which will help you brave the acne and look gorgeous and beautiful.

Reasons Why Your Acne Is Worse In Winter

Natural Lipids. The cold air from outside contains less moisture than the warm or hot air linked to other three seasons of the year, and this leads to weather related dryness. The harsh chilly winds strip your skin of its natural surface lipids. Usually, the lipids hold in moisture and keep dirt and other environmental toxins out. With the lipid protection gone, bacteria gets in and causes acne breakouts in winter.

Air Temperature. During winter you mostly stay indoors, so you are exposed to dry air most of the time. When you go out in the cold weather, you’re exposing your body to a sudden change in the air temperature. The skin gets affected, and even this may lead to acne breakout.

Hot Shower. There is nothing more stress-reducing and satisfying than taking a hot shower after commuting in cold conditions. But do remember that high temperatures can strip your skin of its natural oils, proteins and fats. This action leads to inflammation, itching and even peeling and aggravates the condition of acne. Aim for warm temperatures in the shower.

Central Heating and Dry Air. To combat the cold, we use central heating in our homes. The artificial heating means less moisture in the air which can dry the skin and lead to acne breakouts. Layers of dead cells form on the skin’s surface and prevent sebum from flowing freely.

Dry Skin Build Up. Your skin dries out from external factors, and if you compensate by adding a rich moisturizer, it causes a buildup of dead skin that clogs pores.

Stress and Lack of Sleep. Holidays can be a hectic time. There may be less natural daylight which prompts your body to be less active. If you push yourself to exert more, you could become tired and stressed out which could lead to acne breakouts.

Skin Care Products. Due to increased work pressure sometimes you may go to bed without completing your evening skincare routine. Since you won’t be cleaning your pores, it can cause acne breakouts. Changing seasons can bring in new skincare products. You must choose the right formulas for your skin type. Otherwise, your skin could suffer due to blemishes.

You may update your look during the winter months. Berry, new fringe, smoky eyes or a new hair color so to speak. If you change or add new hair color or makeup products, you may notice a knockout effect on your skin.

Hats and Scarves. When you wear hats and scarves, you’re creating a closed environment between your skin and the wool outerwear. The hats cover your forehead and scarves your lower face; these can trap oil and encourage breakouts.

Tips To Take Care Of Your Acne Prone Skin During Winter

Drink Up

Try to keep yourself hydrated during winter, because of the low temperatures you tend to have less thirst and can quickly become dehydrated. You should make drinking water a habit. Keeping your skin cells hydrated results in clear skin.

You can eat fruits and veggies to boost your hydration levels. Drinking salty soups helps retain the water you have. To check your hydration levels track the color of your urine. Clear to light yellow is ideal. If you pass dark yellow urine, then be known that you’re not getting enough water.

To increase your moisture content, you can go in for detox waters. Here are some great recipes for you to try.

Detox Water for Clear Skin:

Cucumber Lemon Mint

Source: Vicky B.TV

Lemon is rich in vitamin C and helps in the collagen synthesis making your skin look young. Cucumber adds hydration and flavor to water. Mint aids in digestion and makes your skin glow.

You can make detox water with lemon, apple cider, aloe, honey and mint for clear skin. Check out the recipe at Young and Raw.

Detox Water For Acne Prone Skin:

Blueberry Orange Water

Source: The Peach Kitchen


  • 6 cups water
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Two mandarin oranges cut into wedges


  • Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher. Keep in fridge for 2-24 hours.You can squeeze the fruits to pep up the flavor.

Cucumber Watermelon and Mint Infused Water

Source: All Because She Saved


  • 4-5 small chunks of fresh watermelon
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cucumber cut into slices


  • Add all the ingredients into a 16oz jar. Mash the fruits and fill the pot with water. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Chia Fruit Water

Source: My Fussy Eater


  • Fruits of your choice
  • One tablespoon chia seeds


  • Add all the ingredients to a large jar and shake well.
  • Keep it in the fridge for 10 minutes and shake again.
  • Drink within a couple of hours.

Green Tea

While it is great to drink detox water, sipping hot green tea during the icy conditions is the best way to relax as it helps to reduce acne breakouts. Green tea inhibits the production of sebum and is more effective than benzoyl chloride.

Green tea has antibacterial properties which help to kill bacteria that causes acne. It contains six active catechins that prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation and irritation. These beneficial catechins protect against free radicals that cause acne.

Green tea prevents acne scarring. It balances hormones, helps regulate insulin levels and blood pressure all of which contribute to the severity of acne. Drinking 4-6 cups of green tea a day inhibits acne formation.

Change Your Cleansing Regimen

Try using a gentle cleanser. Harsh soaps will irritate your skin and dry it further. You should opt for a cleanser that won’t strip the skin of its moisture. Try Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser. It removes oil, dirt, makeup and lightly hydrates and tones your skin. Use it once every morning and night.

 You can also try Garnier Clean + Smoothing Cream Cleanser for Dry Skin. It is soap free and removes dirt while leaving your skin feeling hydrated. This cleanser is infused with nourishing jojoba and macadamia oils and leaves your skin perfectly clean and revitalized.

Avoid alcohol based toners and irritating scrubs. Experts suggest you go in for alpha hydroxy acids. These products even out skin tone and rids skin of surface buildup. Alpha hydroxyl acids prevent pores from getting congested and does not spread bacteria like the physical exfoliators.

Try to limit the use of topical acne treatments. Treatments containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will dry out your skin. These can be too harsh for winter. If you have stubborn pimples, then go in for treatments that have a small concentration of these ingredients. You can try Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment.Southern California-based dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu recommends a prescription gel-like Aczone which calms inflammation caused by acne.

Moisturize Your Skin

Using the correct moisture formulation is half the battle won. Thick moisturizing creams may be too heavy for the acne prone skin. So you can try a light moisturizer like Evologie Stay Clear System. It uses natural ingredients that are safe and keeps your skin clear. If your skin is too dry, you can use a heavy cream at night.

Ellen Marmur, M.D., a Dove dermatologist advises you to go in for Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Revitalizing Gel-Lotion. For even a greater moisture boost, try using a hydrating sheet mask like Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask a few times a week. When it comes to moisturizing bath products Murmur suggests using Dove Deep Moisturizing Body Wash. It contains stearic acid and glycinate, nutrients that replenish your skin’s lipids and prevents itching or rashes.

Adding a moisturizer into your beauty routine is essential, even if you have oily skin because the dry weather can confuse your oil glands and lead to more breakouts. So hydration is important.  Dr. Jennifer Linder, an Arizona-based dermatologist, advises choosing a moisturizer that is rich in essential fatty acids.

According to Dr. Linder, acne prone skin is deficient in EFA and borage oil or jojoba oil are excellent options for acne prone skin.  Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B helps to reduce oil production and redness. Dr. Linder advises trying PCA Skin’s Clear skin moisturizer.

Dr. Annie Chiu suggests oil free hyaluronic acid based products like Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water-Gel. It helps pull moisture into the skin and doesn’t clog the pores.

Wear Sunscreen and Avoid Abrasive Products

Wearing sunscreen may seem counterintuitive, but sun-induced inflammation can be worse during the winter. According to Dr. Linder snow reflects 80% of the sun’s rays. Sand and water reflect only 10%-15%. If your primary concern is about clogging pores, then go in for Supergoop Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50.

Foods to Eat for acne

Avoid Dairy. Dr. Mark Hyman wrote in Huffington Post that, dairy boosts male hormones such as testosterone or androgens. It increases insulin levels, just as foods that quickly raise blood sugar such as sugar and starchy carbohydrates spike insulin.

Include Antioxidant Rich Foods. Fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants will significantly reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. Experts say that acne sufferers have substantially lower levels of vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also have low levels of zinc and selenium that regulate the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body. To boost your antioxidant quotient, you can include strawberries, prunes, red berries and raspberries in your diet.

Carbohydrates. Processed foods are usually higher on the glycemic chart. In a research study, investigators found that participants who followed a low-glycemic-load diet had a reduction in inflammatory acne lesions.

If you have oily skin, try including almonds and grapefruit in your diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and grapefruit is a powerful antioxidant which is rich in fiber and vitamin C. If you have dry skin just drink more water and include spinach and avocados in your diet. Spinach is rich in vitamin A, and avocados are rich in vitamin A and C.

Home Remedies for Acne

Green Tea. Green tea has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Wash your face with a cup of cold green tea or keep the green tea bags over the affected area.

Tea Tree Oil. It has natural inflammation-fighting properties. A 5 percent tea tree oil is less harsh than a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide solution. Tea tree oil can be just effective as benzoyl peroxide but can clear up less quickly.

Just mix a few drops of tea tree oil with 20-40 drops of witch hazel and use a cotton swab to apply. Try this treatment for twice a week. More of this could dry your skin and make your acne worse.

Honey. Honey has antibiotic properties that can help improve acne. Mix half cup of honey to one cup of plain oatmeal and leave it on for 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can just apply a teaspoon of honey to the affected areas.


If you experience breakouts after prolonged exposure to cold. Try to cut your time outdoors and give your skin some TLC by keeping it warm and comfortable. Central heating systems bring in dry air. So invest in a humidifier for your home. It will re-balance the moisture levels in the air and give your skin a breather space from air conditioned or centrally heated areas.

If you suspect stress and loss of sleep to be the cause of your acne breakouts, pace yourself as much as possible and don’t burn the candle at both ends. Take time to cleanse and moisturize your skin every night.

Pillow cases can house oil and dirt and may cause acne. The buildup of oil and dirt from your skin and environment can clog the pores resulting in acne breakouts. Launder your pillow cases once in two or three days and make use of natural pillow cases.

Open your windows for 10-15 minutes every morning, so the dry air escapes making room for fresh air. Make sure you wear a warm robe to avoid catching a cold. Due to the cold weather many of us tend to become lethargic so try not to stop exercising in winter.

Do you suffer from winter acne? How do you cope this inflammatory condition? Please do share with us in the comments section. Please try out all our tips and let us know your experiences.

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