Skin: Acne in Winter and How To Avoid Breakouts
You may find it strange that you still break out during the colder months. I know that I do (break out, and find it odd). My job allows me the luxury of using the best products available for my skin, and while I take very, very good care of my complexion, some skincare concerns aren’t necessarily about what you put on your skin, but what you put in your body.
Simple Skincare dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Segal, says that a common misconception for people with acne is that they feel the need to treat their skin harshly. Don’t do it, especially not in winter when processed heat and the cold climate are already drying out your poor face! Gentle is more effective. Dr. Segal urges us breakout folk to limit our touching of the skin and keep our skincare routine simple. Use products with few ingredients and nothing too abrasive (this can spread bacteria, causing more zits!). Try Simple Skincare’s Refreshing Facial Wash Gel; it’s effective at getting rid of dirt and grime, but also won’t over dry. She also suggests the age-old advice of drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day. “Steeping water with teas, fresh fruit (such as lemon or orange) or herbs (such as mint or basil) yields interesting and delicious, caffeine-free warm weather beverages that fill the water quota and won’t aggravate your skin,” says Dr. Segal.
What I’ve noticed about my skin is that if I dry it out, it will actually produce more oil. This happens to be a scientific fact: if you dry out your skin, your oil glands will go into overdrive to compensate. Therefore, it is imperative to always use a moisturizer. I like Simple Skincare’s Vital Vitamin Night Cream because, should my skin get a little t-zone shine, I’m not bothered by it while in my silent slumber. It’s also really important to remember to change your pillowcases every two days. Oils from your hair and face transfer to the pillowcase, then back to your skin. This is a massive nightmare (no pun intended). A quick fix is to change the case of the pillow that you sleep on, not every pillow on your bed. Dr. Segal suggests taking vitamins internally to level out oil production. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (most often found in fish), give the complexion positive oils. I am not a fish lover, so I turn to Flax Seed Oil, which, more or less, has the same effect. I like this one as it has a lemon flavor and goes down a bit easier (apparently, Gwynie gives her kids lemon flaxseed oil too!).
Okay, so let’s assume you know all of this – and you’re putting it into action… but you’re still breaking out. Could it be your diet? Dr. Segal says yes. “Over the years, several clinical studies have examined the relationship between dairy products and acne. Generally speaking, in patients who have a tendency to develop acne, the effects of dairy can make their acne worse. In such cases, dermatologists may recommend a dairy-free and low glycemic load (LGL) diet,” notes Dr. Segal. This is such sad news for me as I LOVE my cheeses, but I’d prefer to have a flawless complexion than a few slices of brie.
I also notice that if I eat a diet high in olive oil (which happens to be a healthy oil for your skin), my face looks more alive. Whereas, if I’m noshing on tofu scramble a few times a week, I not only feel bloated, but my skin looks dull and gets the occasional pimple. Dr. Segal suggests cooking at home and playing around with recipes to see what works and what doesn’t. Personally, I have a major aversion to my kitchen, so you won’t find me fixing up a feast, but even if you are like me and loathe cooking, you can still tell what foods react positively and which ones react negatively with your complexion.
Have any acne-fighting tips? Let us know in the comments below.
*originally posted in 2013.
*Note: I post this every winter because I still think that the information in this article is highly beneficial for those who suffer from acne. If you have an acne tip, please leave it in the comment thread below!