Winter acne breakouts can be the hardest to treat because acne treatments dry and irritate most skin types.
If you have dry or combination acne-prone skin, you may need winter acne solutions when temperatures get cold. Some skin types will have clearer faces in the winter, but many dry skin types are susceptible to increased acne breakouts in cold weather conditions.
The best way to treat acne in the winter is to follow our skin care routine recommendations for your Baumann Skin Type.
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Your Skin Type Changes in the Cold
The key is YOUR SKIN TYPE CAN CHANGE IN WINTER
So - even if you know you have an acne-prone skin type, you also need to know other things about your skin before you buy skin care products:
- How much oil (sebum) does your skin make?
- How strong is your skin barrier?
- How much inflammation do you have?
Take the quiz to find out the answers to these questions and your find your Baumann Skin Type.
Once you take the quiz- we can tell you which products will work best for your acne-prone skin this winter.
Winter Acne Breakouts
Is your acne worse in winter? Although my dermatology practice is in Miami FL, many of my patients go somewhere cold for the winter. So I hear many questions about skin care for acne-prone skin in the winter.
These are common questions that I hear:
- Why is my hormonal acne worse in winter?
- How to treat cystic acne in winter?
- Do I need to change my acne routine in winter?
Each skin type acts differently in winter! Each of these skin types will need very different winter acne solutions.
Cold dry air can change your skin type to a dry type even if your skin is usually oily.
So- when the weather changes it is a good idea to retake the quiz and see if your skin type changed.
Why Do I Get Acne in the Winter?
Since skin often gets drier in the cold, it can be a little confusing why acne develops during the winter. It is important to consider some other environmental factors that change in the cold. For example, as the air gets drier and colder, dust and dirt are more likely to get caught in the wind, eventually landing on your face and clogging pores. When your skin is dried out by the weather, your skin barrier is less capable of blocking pollutants from clogging pores and entering the skin. For these reasons, acne can happen easily in cold weather. Note that if your skin gets chapped and you have a lot of dead skin, that can also lead to clogged pores.
Getting on the best skincare products for acne is important to get acne under control. You can read more about how to find acne products here or take the acne skin care routine quiz.
Skin Care for Acne Prone Skin in Winter
When the air is cold and dry, your skin is more likely to have an injured skin barrier.
This means that your acne-prone winter skin will:
- Have more water evaporating off of it
- Will be more dehydrated, dry, rough and dull
- Be more likely to get dried out when using humectant moisturizers
- Allow more acne medicine to penetrate into the skin
- Be more likely to get side effects from retinol, tretinoin and other retinoids.
- Have a higher risk of irritation from acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide
- Be less likely to tolerate salicylic acid
- More likely to have allergic reactions on the skin
How do I treat my acne in the winter?
If your skin type changes from oily to dry in winter, retake the quiz and follow our products recommendations which will help you find:
The best skin care products and brands for your acne-prone skin in winter
A cleanser that will be gentle to your skin barrier
The best noncomedogenic barrier repair moisturizer to use to protect acne-prone skin in winter is
This bacteria needs to be treated 2 times a day in the skin care routine to get acne under control.
The problem with treating acne causing bacteria in the winter is that the most commonly sued acne medication for this is benzoyl peroxide. BP is very drying and irritating.
Your other option to treat acne in cold climates is antibiotics - but these can cause problems with your microbiome.
Many dermatologists use silver to treat acne because it does not irritate dry skin.
Here is an example of a topical silver acne product that can be used to treat acne in winter. (NEVER drink colloidal silver to treat acne!)
Is Cold Weather Good for Acne?
Cold weather can be bad for acne because it disrupts your skin's normal desquamation process which can lead to clogged pores and cystic acne.
The enzymes needed to help cells desquamate require water. So when the climate is dry and your skin get dehydrated, these enzymes do not work as well.
While adding a facial scrub may help- over exfoliating can also injure your skin barrier.
That is why you really need to know your Baumann Skin Type before you buy winter skin care products to treat your acne. breakouts.
Is Cold Weather Worse for Acne Than Hot Weather?
The answer to this question depends on your personal skin sensitivities. If you typically have moderately dry skin and are not sensitive to acne breakouts in the summer, then winter might pose some unique challenges such as overdrying, chapping, and vulnerability to pollutants. These factors can make acne worse in winter than summer for some people. Sometimes, when participating in activities like skiing, sweat accumulated on your protective gear can breed acne causing bacteria.
On the other hand, if you typically have oily, sensitive skin in the summer, you might not struggle as much in the winter. Oily skin in the winter provides extra barrier protection that can keep irritants away from the skin, preventing acne. Similarly to ski gear in the winter, protective pads for summer sports is also likely to build up acne causing bacteria and should be washed regularly to avoid clogged, infected pores. In effect, your skin type changes with the weather, so your regimen needs to change as well. Keep your face hydrated in the winter if needed, and keep excess sebum off the face in the summer.
Why does my acne get worse in the winter?
If your acne gets worse in winter, your skin might be too dry, leaving it vulnerable to things like build-up of dead skin, airborne pollutants, or bacteria developing in your dirty clothes or protective winter sport gear.
Will my acne get worse in the winter?
If you have dry or combination skin, your acne might get worse in the winter. If you have oily skin, the reduction of excess sebum on your skin might actually make your acne a little better. Know your skin type to avoid acne breakouts!