Dr. Umar Answers Why Acne Seems to Be Worse During the Winter

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Some people may notice that their acne seems to worsen during the colder months. Here is a possible reason why.

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that individuals struggle with, including adults. It is not just a coming of age phase that teenagers go through. And nor is it a condition that is necessarily caused by lack of hygiene. The more stubborn cases are often the result of physiological imbalances. Many acne sufferers seem to notice that they tend to break out more during the winter. And they may experience the opposite effect during the summer. They may come to the conclusion that they need more sun exposure in order to improve their skin. Earlier this month on his clinic’s blog, Los Angeles dermatologist, Dr. Sanusi Umar helped provide clarification on why acne seems to get worse for some people during the winter.

Should Individuals Use Tanning Beds to Improve Their Acne Condition

Those who experience a clearing of their skin during the summer may come to the conclusion that tanning beds may be the next best alternative to natural sunlight during the gloomier winter months. However, Dr. Umar and other medical experts discourage this practice and emphasize that excessive UV rays can cause detrimental effects in other areas. This includes: unwanted pigmentation, premature aging and even skin cancer. Sun light, or other sources of UV rays should not be considered as part of an acne treatment plan.

When it comes to sun exposure, it is important for individuals to use moderation, daily SPF protection and good judgement.

How Winter Dryness May Cause the Skin to Produce More Oil

When the weather becomes colder, there is less moisture in the air. In terms of basic chemistry, molecules will move from areas of greater concentration to less concentrated regions. Therefore, the water in our bodies will be directed towards the air.

Therefore, a likely reason why acne develops more in the winter is that the sebaceous oil glands may become increasingly active in trying to restore balance. This oil helps to moisturize the skin. It also forms a protective barrier to prevent further water loss.

In some people, the inner lining of their follicular ducts are prone to shedding at a high rate. This cellular debris can accumulate in the pores and create obstructions which facilitate the development of pimples.

As the sebaceous oils move from the glands to the surface, this path of travel will carry along dead skin cells which can become trapped within the follicular duct. Since the origins of these blocks come from deep within the skin, it then becomes more difficult for an individual to use topical cleansers and products to clear out their pores themselves.

When to Seek Help for Acne From a Dematologist

Severe forms of acne can be quite detrimental to an individual’s confidence and social life. Many people tend to isolate themselves and shy away from group activities or even dating. If a person is extremely unhappy about their appearance and feel that their self esteem is being impaired by their acne condition, it may be a good idea to seek the aid of a doctor.

For winter acne, a dermatologist may recommend specific moisturizers to help minimize the risk of increased breakouts. Additional treatments may be recommended as well.

At Fine Touch Dermatology, Dr. Umar uses light based therapies such as Lutronic's Spectra laser with enormous success. Whereas many forms of treatment only target one type of acne cause, this laser is able to treat multiple factors including: deep blockages caused by the patient’s physiology, bacteria and overactive oil glands. Dr. Umar also offers the VISIA digital imaging technology to provide an objective basis for monitoring improvements in the skin.

To view an example of an actual patient who had this done, click here.

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Katie Pegler

Dr. Sanusi Umar
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