As temperatures drop and snow accumulates outside, our bodies start to change. Our hair becomes brittle, our fingernails dry out, and facial complexions change. Most often, winter weather dries out the skin, creating tight, flaky, and sometimes painful faces. For some people, though, this excessive drying results in something a bit less intuitive: excess skin oil.
If you struggle with oily winter skin, know that you’re not alone. This is a very common experience, especially in Missouri. Below, we’ve broken down exactly what’s happening to your skin, what excess oil might cause, and how to combat the ubiquitous winter pimple.
What’s Happening with the Skin?
Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These glands secrete sebum, the oily, waxy substance that keeps skin soft and buoyant. Sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles, pouring the sebum into the follicular duct, where it is then transported to the surface of the skin. These glands exist on every skin surface except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, they are most abundant on the scalp and face.
When the temperatures drop and the furnace heat turns on, the air will strip your skin of its natural oil. To counteract this environmental phenomenon, the sebaceous glands will kick into high-gear, overproducing sebum in an attempt to keep the skin soft and pliable. This overproduction can result in oily spots across the face. However, some parts of your body and face may remain dry and flaky, even though others become slick with oil.
Missouri winters can exacerbate this seasonal oil production. While winter tends to be our driest season, it still yields a significant amount of average precipitation with wet winds coming in from the American southeast. As a result, winters can oscillate between extremely dry and mildly humid air, wreaking havoc on our sebaceous glands.
Winter Acne is Normal, Too
Excess oil production brings with it everything you might expect: a shiny, oily complexion, uneven skin tone, and acne. If you notice patches of your face becoming oilier than usual in the dry winter months, pimples and blackheads are often not far behind.
Acne treatments from a dermatologist are the safest and most effective strategy for clearing an uneven winter complexion. Most over-the-counter medications, like daily facial cleansers and spot treatments, inadequately treat the combination of oily and dry skin so often associated with winter weather. If you work with a dermatologist to find a medication or treatment that works for your type of acne, you’ll better target the cause while maintaining overall skin health.
It is also worth mentioning that winter is an excellent time for acne and skincare treatments. Typically, these treatments prevent patients from exposing themselves to direct sunlight for a couple of days afterward. This can be difficult in Missouri. Our summers are long and hot, our springs and autumns sunny. However, winter brings cloudy days and fewer reasons to spend time outside, making it a perfect time for skincare treatments that may result in temporary photosensitivity.
What to Do About Oily Skin in Winter
Nobody likes oily skin and acne, especially in the winter. Visiting our Chesterfield, MO clinic can help clear your skin and lead you to a healthy winter complexion. Whether OTC products haven’t worked, or you want a treatment tailored to you, we are uniquely equipped to help you. Contact Us today to set up your appointment.