Ever noticed that your acne seems to get worse over the winter months? It’s not just your imagination! Research shows that the change in seasonal conditions can impact on your skin and result in a higher rate of acne.

What is acne?

Acne is a common skin condition that normally begins in the teenage years. It occurs when the hair follicles and associated oil glands become blocked and inflamed. This results in the appearance of whiteheads, blackheads and inflamed pus-filled spots on the skin. Acne most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back and chest, as this is where the largest and most active oil glands reside.

According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, there are number of factors that can cause acne, including:

  • Hormones – during puberty, the skin’s oil glands respond to the production of androgens by producing more sebum – the oily substance that lubricates your hair and skin.
  • Sebaceous (oil) gland blockage – this occurs when the skin cells lining the upper part of the hair follicle duct accumulate and form a plug, with oil trapped behind it.
  • Bacteria – the prevalence of acne bacteria can cause inflammation and lesions in acne affected areas.
  • Genetics – while there’s no specific gene for acne, if your parents or other family members had acne, there is a higher chance that you will too.
  • Stress – when you are stressed, your adrenal glands produce more androgens, which can make acne worse.
  • Diet – ever experienced that sudden breakout after a big block of chocolate? Then you probably already suspect that diet can have an impact on acne.
  • Occupation – in some industries, people can develop occupational acne when Work Health and Safety regulations haven’t been observed properly.

What about the weather? Why does my acne seem to get worse in winter?

Weather is another factor that can influence the rate of acne you experience.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, which used the Physician’s Global Assessment (PGA) scores of 9,301 acne patients to evaluate the seasonal variation of acne severity, found that acne did in fact worsen for patients in winter.

That’s because, as well as exposure to cold air being a form of physical stress, the dryer conditions of winter can cause your skin to produce more sebum. This results in an increase in skin inflammation, clogged pores and acne breakouts.

Even people who don’t normally experience acne throughout the year can sometimes find themselves with a few skin blemishes throughout winter.

Skin care tips to reduce acne in winter

So how can you help to reduce acne over winter? DermCosmesis’ Dr Dhruva Ramachandran shares some key skin care tips to help get you and your skin through the colder months.

  1. Be gentle to your skin – during winter, it’s important to use gentle products that won’t irritate your skin or cause it to dry out further. Avoid scrubbing or over-washing your skin, as this can make your acne worse. It also recommended that you opt for fingers to apply a mild skin cleanser rather than a washcloth, sponge or anything that might irritate the skin.
  2. Moisturise – continue to moisturise throughout winter. If your skin is feeling clogged and greasy, consider using an oil-free skin moisturiser. If you have particularly dry skin or an existing skin condition, talk to your dermatologist about which moisturising product is best suited to you.
  3. Hydrate – make sure you continue to drink plenty of water in winter. It is just as important to keep your body hydrated during winter in order to help maintain good skin health.
  4. Avoid hot temperatures – avoid having your water temperature too hot when you shower or bathe in winter, as this will further dry out your skin and exacerbate your acne. Using warm water and a moisturising body wash will help prevent your skin from drying out when bathing.
  5. Apply your sunscreen – while we may not feel the sun as much in winter, it’s still important to apply sunscreen any time that the UV Index is above 3. Not only does sunscreen provide an extra layer of protection for the skin, but too much exposure to the sun can cause our skin to dry out and result in irreparable damage.

Advanced acne treatments available at DermCosmesis

If you have any particular acne concerns, DermCosmesis can offer a range of advance treatment options for acne, including chemical peels, subcision and laser treatments. Our treatment plans will often combine several techniques into the one session to help give you the best outcome for your skin care needs.

We also stock the Mesoestetic Acnelan product range, which is an intensive medical treatment for acne prone and seborrheic skin. These products deep cleanse blocked pores, remove impurities and improve skin texture.

*Before and after results of this client, who received 3 Acnelan treatments at DermCosmesis. Please be aware that results may vary from patient to patient.

Our cosmetic physician will initially consult with you to discuss your concerns and will then work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan, choosing the best combination of treatments to address your specific concerns.

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