Dealing with breakouts in the winter can feel like something of a catch-22: How is it possible to combine drying anti-acne treatments with a dry complexion? To figure out your best course of action, Bustle reached out to experts for advice on treating acne in the winter — Board certified dermatologists Dr. Dhaval G. Bhanusali (who is based in New York City) and Dr. Viseslav Tonkovic (who is based in Kansas City) both weighed in and offered some great tips on how to eradicate breakouts and keep your skin happily moisturized in the winter.
Complexions tend to be drier than ever in winter months, which unfortunately can aggravate skin, especially breakout-prone skin — don't despair yet, though: whether it's upping your moisturizer game, skipping out on the harsh salicylic acid-infused cleansers, or even hunting around for gentler formulas, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your winter skincare in balance. It can be tough, sure, to make sure you're moisturized and breakout-free when temperatures drop (and heaters get set on blast) but it's definitely possible to keep your complexion happy and glowing in colder weather. Read on for 12 amazing tips on how to treat breakouts in winter.
For some with acne/an oily skin type, it's easy to let moisturizing fall to the wayside. However, in winter more than ever, staying moisturized is key — according to Dr. Tonkovic, it's actually the most important step to treating acne in the winter.
Even if you're used to only moisturizing in the morning and at night, you might want to start adding in touch ups. Dr. Tonkovic recommends applying "a good moisturizer several times day."
A facial spray can be a great way to do this extra step on the go.
That said, certain spot treatments may be too harsh for the winter months. If you're noticing flaky dry skin, it might be time to kick things down a notch and go for a formula with a lower percentage of benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid, according to StyleCaster. Tea tree oil can make a great natural option!
Acne-busting cleansers are great, but it might be worth switching to something less drying for winter: "Harsh cleansers can worsen dry skin, as they often remove the skin’s essential oils", explained NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur to Women's Health. If you're on the hunt for something new, CeraVe and Aveeno both happen to have super gentle cleansers that come dermatologist-recommended.
"I like using heavier moisturizers, especially in those who tend to get dry skin very easily," Dr. Bhanusali tells Bustle.
What with all the heaters blasting, it's easy for the air at your home and/or office to get dried out. "Adding a humidifier is a great way to keep the skin hydrated when the weather isn't cooperating," says Dr. Bhanusali.
"Hyaluronic acid is one of the best ingredients for retaining water in your skin," explains Dr. Bhanusali to Bustle. It "feels light" which is good for people who might be prone to acne, yet it still "makes a big difference." He especially likes Neutrogena's take on hyaluronic moisturizer, Hydro Boost Water Gel.
"Acne-prone skin is actually deficient in EFA, an important group of oils. Borage oil and jojoba oil are two excellent options," explained Arizona-based dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Linder to Teen Vogue.
Thick vaseline might not be the first thing that pops to mind when you're thinking about acne-prone skin, but Dr. Tonkovic has a great trick: "For very, very dry skin, I recommend wetting the skin with tepid water, and immediately following with application of plain Vaseline, as Vaseline does not plug pores," he tells Bustle. He notes that this step is best done at night, as it can make the skin too greasy for daytime.
So, there you have it — turns out there are tons of ways to take care of your skin this winter, be it frequent hyaluronic acid touch ups, or the occasional Vaseline mask.