Acne and breakouts should be less common in the winter, since skin is already dry. But as I’m sure many of us have found, blemishes can somehow occur just as easily in the winter months. We sat down with Dr. Ro of Oracle Dermatology, the highly prestigious and largest network of dermatology clinics in Korea, to discuss what causes acne and breakouts during this time of the year.
Dr. Ro says “Simply put, overly dry skin can trigger an over-production of oil in skin to compensate, which can in turn cause or exacerbate troubled skin. During the winter months, we tell our patients to remember to exfoliate, hydrate and treat.”
It seems counter intuitive to exfoliate during the winter but during this time, dead skin cells can easily build up on skin, preventing essential skincare ingredients from effectively penetrating and working. It’s important to regularly use a gentle exfoliator, at least once a week, that helps to slough off dead skin cells and help with skin turnaround. Also, Dr. Ro recommends that you avoid larger natural scrub ingredients such as crushed apricot seeds or walnut seeds. Under a microscope, these particles are often highly irregular, with jagged edges that can potentially create micro-cuts on skin. This leaves the skin vulnerable to bacteria and can potentially cause inflammation, redness and breakouts.
Our recommendation for a gentle yet effective SLS-free cleanser with naturally exfoliating fruit enzymes? Dr. Oracle’s Enzyme Powder Wash ($25, 80g)
Once skin is best prepared to receive active ingredients, the next step is to hydrate. Hydration should happen on 3 levels – from within your skin, on the surface layers of your skin and in the environment. So in shorthand, the key is to drink sufficient amounts of water, so that your body and skin isn’t dehydrated, create a strong moisture barrier with an emollient moisturizer that contains humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate, and try to create a environment where your skin isn’t being sapped of moisture. For example, if you are (understandably) blasting your heater on a high setting during the winter, the dry environment can pull moisture from your skin because the humidity in the air is so low. So whether it’s turning on the humidifier, or even leaving out a shallow bowl of water, being mindful of the environment your skin is in will go a long way in keeping it supple and hydrated!
Our recommendation for a hydrating moisturizer that works for troubled skin? LJH’s Tea Tree 80 Cream – lightweight & oil free.
Now for treating and preventing blemishes? The 3 FDA approved ingredients to treat acne are salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide and sulfur. These potent ingredients, however, can also cause dryness. During the winter months, an alternative option to using spot treatments after a blemish has already formed is to use a serum with natural anti-bacterial and soothing properties such as Tea Tree on an on-going basis to keep skin blemish-free.
Our recommendation for a tea-tree treatment to keep skin blemish free? LJH’s Tea Tree 90 Essence- formulated with 90% tea tree extract. Our intern Elle has been suffering from breakouts around her chin lately and she also posted a photo testimonial on her experience with LJH’s Tea Tree 90 Essence here.
Dr. Ro’s final tip? Remember to wash your pillowcase regularly and clean and disinfect your cell phone. All the blemish-fighting skincare products and diets in the world won’t help if you are constantly pressing your skin – for prolonged periods of time – into surfaces that can transfer oils and bacteria onto your skin.
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments!
Get your glow on,
The Glow Recipe Team