Did you know that acne usually gets worse in the winter?  Summer is tough on acne-prone skin because we tend to sweat more, BUT winter brings it’s own set of challenges, including dry skin! Colder temps will be here before you know it, so let’s talk about how you’re going to prevent acne and avoid dry skin this winter.

Why the Cold Makes Acne Worse

Before we dig in to preventing acne and dry skin, I want to share WHY the cold can make acne worse.  When its dry and cold, your skin tries to overproduce sebum as a means of keeping itself hydrated.  It’s the body’s way of keeping your skin soft and moist, BUT there has to be a delicate balance.  If you produce too much sebum, it can lead to clogged pores.

Also, for some people, cold, dry air can lead to inflammation.  If you are already prone to acne, additional inflammation can lead to a breakout.

On top of the actual cold weather, there are a few other things that happen during the colder months that can lead to breakouts.  The first is being sick.  More people get sick during the winter months than summer.  If your body is trying to fight off a cold, you may not have the capacity to also fight off acne causing bacteria and that’s when you’ll see a breakout.

And last, but certainly not least, STRESS. Stress can cause inflammation, which as I just mentioned, can contribute to a breakout. Plus, with winter comes the holidays. The holidays can bring an added level of stress, plus dehydration and poor food choices all contributing to an acne breakout.

Prevent Winter Acne and Avoid Dry Skin

As you can see, there are a lot of things that can trigger a breakout during the winter months.  So, now the question becomes, how are we going to prevent winter acne and avoid dry skin?  I recommend attacking it from all angles, starting with the easiest tactic, adjusting your skin care routine.

Winter Skin Care Routine

Since your skin care routine is easy to adjust, I suggest this be the first thing you change as winter approaches.  Here’s a few options to consider.


Make sure you’re using a gentle cleanser.  You don’t want to use a cleanser that is too harsh because it can strip your skin of its natural moisture.  When that happens, your body will try to compensate by overproducing sebum and it can lead to clogged pores as I mentioned earlier on.  If you were using something for oily skin over the summer, definitely reconsider what you’re using for the winter.  Most clients need at least two cleansers and two moisturizers depending on the season.

Acne Treatments

If you are using any type of topical acne treatment, we should evaluate it and adjust your usage for winter.


Moisturizer can be tricky for someone with acne prone skin.  You need to keep your skin hydrated but you also need to be conscious of not clogging your pores.  If you have acne prone skin and you’re looking to prevent acne this winter, I suggest you start with a light moisturizer and adjust it depending on the dryness of your skin.

Oil-free hyaluronic acid-based products are a great option and so are products with essential fatty acids.   Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is also another great ingredient to look for.  It can help your skin retain moisture while reducing oil production.

Home Environment

When the winter comes and you’ve got your heat cranked up, remember all that artificial heat can take a toll on your skin.  Try running a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.  It can also help with cold and flu season so regularly running a humidifier in the winter is a no brainer!

Now, Let’s Go Inside

Adjusting your skin care routine is probably the easiest thing you can do to prevent acne and avoid dry skin.  But, it’s no secret that good skin starts from within.  The right skin care products and routine are very important BUT if your internal system is off, your products will only do so much.

Water, Water, Water

A lot of people don’t drink as much water in the winter as they do in the summer.  In fact, many people think they need to drink more water in the summer because it’s hot. The truth is, your body needs the same amount of water to stay hydrated regardless of the temperature.

At a minimum, you need 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. However, most experts will tell you that if you really want to be properly hydrated you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water per day.  So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink at least 70 ounces of water per day to be properly hydrated.


There are many nutrients you can get from a healthy diet that can benefit your skin.  I suggest you try altering your diet to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients.  That said, I realize changing your diet can be easier said than done, so if you are concerned about getting these nutrients from diet alone, you could consider taking a supplement.  If you want to prevent acne and avoid dry skin, here are several supplements to consider.

(Note: I’m not a medical professional so before you add any of these into your diet, please consult with your doctor to ensure it’s safe for your individual circumstances.)

  • Vitamin C & D3 – These vitamins can help decrease cortisol levels which in turn can help relieve stress.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium can help to protect your skin from external damage. It can help your skin recover when it is disturbed and strength it when it’s under attack.
  • Zinc – Zinc is a great anti-inflammatory.
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3s can help your skin retain moisture. The skin’s ability to retain moisture plays a role in how your skin ages so this is a big one!

Here’s another post on attacking acne from the inside, out. 

To Sum It Up

The drier and colder it is, the worst acne tends to get.  If you know you have acne prone skin, don’t wait until you notice a change in your skin to start making adjustments.  It’s better to be proactive, than reactive so make these adjustments early in the season.  This will help you prevent acne and avoid dry skin this winter.