Winter is Here: Tips to Prevent Acne and 'Dry Skin Blues'

Share Article's leading facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. John Rachel, offers tips for managing acne and dry facial skin during the winter.

When the weather outside is "frightful," better begin preparing for the "dry skin season," especially if you suffer from acne. Whether your dry skin problems are seasonal or year-round, certain acne medications make the skin even drier. This, in addition to the cold dry air and biting winds of winter, can cause real problems for acne sufferers. When skin becomes exceedingly dry, there is an increase in the number of dead skin cells present. Dead skin cells clog pores, which in turn leads to acne breakouts. "An ounce of prevention" will keep your skin soft and comfortable, and help you beat the discomfort and pain caused by dry, irritated acne-prone skin.

Dr. John Rachel, a noted facial plastic surgeon and contributing editor to (, recommends taking the following steps for winter skin comfort:

  • Think soft and smooth when choosing scarves and coats with high collars. Wool and rough materials irritate facial and neck skin. This in turn can precipitate bouts of acne.
  • Regular use of a moisturizer is important, even for acne-prone skin. Use an "acne-friendly" moisturizer, but a moisturizer is definitely a must. This will prevent the harsh winter weather from completely drying out your skin and contributing to clogged pores. Whatever moisturizer you choose, be sure it is marked non-comedogenic (products less likely to clog skin pores).
  • Drink plenty of water to help keep your skin properly hydrated. Hydrated skin can help fight off cold weather dryness, thus reducing dead skin cell formation that leads to bouts of acne.
  • Cut back on the use of acne creams, gels, and liquids if your skin feels dry, tight, or uncomfortable. Most acne products contain drying agents. Dry, cold weather will typically increase the drying effect of these products. Of course, if you are using prescription medications, always check with your doctor before altering your treatment regime.

"In order to help prevent outbreaks of acne any time of the year, use a good common sense approach to your skin," Dr. Rachel suggests. Dr. Rachel shares these tips with his own patients:

  • Don't pick or squeeze pimples. Squeezing blemishes or whiteheads can lead to infections or scarring. It almost always makes the acne you have worse.
  • Don't go to bed with makeup on. It can clog your pores and lead to breakouts.
  • Shower as soon as possible after exercising since sweat combined with skin oils can trap dirt and bacteria in your pores. Bacteria trapped in pores is the primary cause of acne.
  • Soft pillowcases and towels are "skin friendly" and reduce the chances of irritating sensitive skin.

For more information about acne, and many of the products Dr. Rachel recommends to his own patients, visit .

Dr. Rachel is a graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine, and is board-certified in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Rachel is in active practice in Glenview, Illinois, and lectures nationally teaching other physicians the art and science of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Rachel joined in 2007 and serves as a contributing editor. provides a reliable source of information relative to medical problems, and is a convenient option for affordable high quality healthcare products. Since 1999, has reached out to millions of Americans, in addition to visitors from more than 30 different countries around the world, who suffer from arthritis, foot, knee, back, hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and skin ailments. For more information, visit .


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