Acne Specialist’s Tips For Dealing In Winter Times


You can combine stuffy skin with warmer months, when the air is thick with moisture, and the flaming temperatures leave an eternal layer of sweat. But, unfortunately, acne does not experience a season, and sometimes winter outbreaks are even more difficult to eliminate: cold weather can aggravate dry, flaky skin, but many ingredients that treat acne also dry out (benzoyl peroxide and witch hazel come to mind). And if your skin barrier is constantly compromised, it is even more susceptible to irritants such as acne-causing bacteria. Do you see the dilemma here?

This begs the question: how can you treat these annoying rashes without completely ridding your skin of moisture? We have used the beautician and certified acne specialist Zaida Gordon, founder of Skintegrity LA, for all her tips for the winter outbreak:

1. Stick to soft and less drying ingredients.

Instead of opting for the aforementioned benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, etc., Gordon first recommends looking for ingredients that will heal rashes and soothe the skin at the same time. “Apply a less drying acne treatment, like a sulfur stain treatment,” she says (like this option from Face Reality). Sulfur is a great ingredient for sensitive skin, as it helps to remove oil from the surface of the skin and prevent blackheads, but it is less irritating than other acne-action ingredients.

Tea tree oil is another good choice to remove acne without exposing the skin: essential oil has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties — one study found that a topical 5% tea tree oil gel helps to significantly improve mild to moderate acne symptoms—but it is also anti-inflammatory and has the ability to soothe the skin.

Or you can always use a harder (but more effective) serum, lotion or mask as a one-time treatment: just squeeze the solution on the pimples and leave it overnight. In this way, you will aim to escape without removing moisture from your entire complexion.

2. Try soft clay masks.

Gordon is also a fan of “the use of a soft, detoxifying clay mask instead of too many hard acids.”Clays can effectively extract oil and dirt from the pores when they dry — as soon as you wash off the mask, these lumps swirl down the drain with it.

Soft kaolin clay is appreciated for sensitive skin, while bentonite clay is especially excellent at eliminating acne: one study found that a mask of jojoba oil and bentonite clay – applied two or three times a week for six weeks —could reduce the number of acne damage by an average of 54 percent. This MARA Volcanic Sea Clay Detox mask contains both types of clay, and it does not dry completely to a hard, cracked shell, so it is especially soft for the skin.

3. Use ice.

We understand: the last thing you want to do in icy weather is to press an ice cube on your face. But Gordon recommends a glaze (especially if you have inflamed acne) twice a day after cleansing to help shrink the hillocks. Ice, you see, is a vasoconstrictor—which means it narrows the blood vessels in your skin, which restricts the flow to the area and pulls back inflammation.

Be sure to cover the ice with a towel before holding it on your skin; you don’t want to completely surprise your skin with the freezing temperature, as this can lead to even more inflammation, sometimes broken capillaries.

4. Invest in a humidifier.

Ah, humidifier: the best friend of your skin in this cold season. “A humidifier in the bedroom can help balance the drying effects of central heating and prevent excessive drying of the skin,” notes Gordon. “Often the skin will overproduce sebum with the aim of moisturizing, which can lead to more rashes.”

Specifically, dehydration can cause the release of CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), a hormone that instructs your sebaceous glands to produce more oil to balance it. Humidifiers can humidify the air and stop dehydration; here’s one we love, and these are some of our favorite desktop options, or you can try other DIY methods to increase the humidity in your home.

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