Wearing woolly hats and thick jumpers can make your acne WORSE in the winter
Breakouts can leave us feeling low, miserable and self conscious and often get worse in the winter.
Acne often gets worse in the winter because your skin is drier causing it to produce more oil.
The cold weather can also make inflammation worse, irritating the spots you develop.
But there's a surprising culprit that could leave you with annoying breakouts – your wardrobe.
Wearing woolly hats, big scarfs and roll neck jumpers not only causes spots, but it can make them worse, according to dermatologist Dr Michael Barnish, medical director at revivme.com.
"In contrast with acne, which is usually a result of excessive sebum production, winter acne is generally a result of dry skin and a loss of skin protection," he said.
"It is down to the weather, not the oils in our skin that causes winter acne.
"Our skin becomes drier as a result of the low humidity conditions of cold weather. Pair this with central heating and closed windows, our houses add to this dry conditioning of the skin."
Cold air and strong winds contribute to the loss of skin protection and can strip the skin of essential surface lipids that usually locks in moisture and protect the skin from the external environment, Dr Barnish explained.
With less protections, it is more likely for bacteria that cause acne, to penetrate the dry skin, resulting in spots and blemished.
This can occur anywhere on the body, not just the face.
Dr Barnish's tips to avoid winter acne…
1. Switch up your clothes
"Wearing thick and heavy clothing, such as hats and scarves, can contribute to the worsening of winter acnes," he said.
"This is because these materials can harbour lots of bacteria, and when your skin isn’t protected because do the colder weather, the exposure levels are high.
"By wearing items of clothing so close to the skin of the neck and face, we are allowing bacteria direct access. These area tend to be the most sensitive and prone to this.
"Keeping your winter wardrobe clean and regularly washed should help with this.
"When indoors, I recommend removing such items to let the skin breathe and reduce the exposure time."
We need to encourage the skin to reform and reproduce the protection it has lost.
"There are strong, protective anti-ageing skin products on the market to really help to achieve this," he said.
"I would always recommend ZO Skin Care products. These products can penetrate the skin well to deliver the adequate nutrition it needs to rebuild its defence.
The key ingredients to look out for are antioxidants, vitamins (particularly Vitamin A: Retinol and Vitamin C), DNA repairing enzymes and pore minimising agents.
"Exfoliation can also help to reduce active acne flare ups if prevention is too late."
3. Drink plenty of water
Keeping well hydrated is essential to minimise the effects of the dry, cold weather on your skin.
"To really hydrate well, the average person should consume approximately 2-3 litres of water per day," he said.
"This is water and not tea, coffee, juice or alcohol, which actually dehydrates the body, meaning we may need more water per day to keep hydrates."
4. Eat right
If you're eating a healthy, balanced diet then that will reflect in your skin.
"Vitamin and antioxidant rich diets will nourish the skin with what it needs to protect itself against cold weather," Dr Barnish said.
"Superfoods rich in antioxidant and vitamins are best consumed raw, as when we cook them we lose a lot of their nutrition."
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