The colder months raise concerns about dry and flaky skin, but what about oily skin?
Did you know skin gets oily in the colder seasons, too? Yes, the chilling winter doesn’t stop your skin’s sebaceous glands from producing excessive oil.
The good news is a proper winter skin care routine is all you need to eliminate that excess oil. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon the products you use currently.
Continue reading to learn more about caring for oily skin during winter.
What Makes Skin Oily?
Sebum, produced and secreted by the sebaceous glands, is a complex lipid mixture. (1) It keeps the skin moisturized and protects it against friction. (2) Excessive sebum production results in oily skin, (3) leading to acne breakouts. (4)
The body of a teenager, which is at puberty, makes more androgen hormones that encourage the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, causing acne. The immune system and genetic factors are also responsible for oily skin. (5)(6)
If the layer of dead skin cells blocks the pore opening, the sebum can’t escape, resulting in whiteheads or blackheads. They can also turn into pimples due to inflammation.
Acne develops in areas with excessive oil, such as the chest, shoulders, face, and back. (5)
How to Take Care of Oily Skin in Winter?
People usually care for dry skin in winter. However, the winter season also causes oily skin. If you have oily skin, make a few adjustments in your skin care routine. Follow these steps to take care of your oily skin.
1. Cleanse Using a Face Wash
Washing the face twice daily with a mild and gentle face wash takes care of oily skin and mild to moderate acne. Gently scrubbing the face also reduces skin oiliness. (7)
The gentle nature of facial cleansers doesn’t damage the skin barrier or lead to sebum overcompensation. It deep cleanses the pores and manages symptoms related to acne. (8)
Remember, when cleansing your face with a face wash, use cool water, as hot water strips off natural skin oils and reduces oil density and viscosity. (9)
Note: Bar and gel-based cleansers are excellent for oily skin. (10)
How to use a face wash:
- Rinse your face with water.
- Take a coin-sized amount of face wash in your palm.
- Gently rub it to your face.
- Wash it off with water and pat your skin dry.
2. Apply Toner
Apply a moisturizing toner after washing your face. Toners are a second cleansing agent that extracts residual makeup after regular face washing. They also remove excess sebum to prepare the skin for the next nourishing treatment. (11)
Witch hazel, a natural botanical anti-inflammatory astringent, is a primary ingredient of most toners that eliminates excess oil from the skin. (12) Also, guava toners reduce forehead oil significantly. (13)
Sebum-absorbing ingredients are put into cosmetic products to reduce skin’s oiliness. (14)
How to apply toner:
- Take a small quantity of toner on your palm.
- Apply it to your face.
- Target your T-zone (forehead, chin, and nose areas).
- Wait for a few seconds to let the toner air-dry.
3. Apply a Water-Based Moisturizer
Petroleum jelly has excellent moisturizing properties that can prevent water loss from the skin. (15) Water-based moisturizers cool when water evaporates from the skin’s surface.
You can also use silicone-based derivatives for oily skin. (15) Oil-based moisturizers make the skin oily; therefore, use water-based ones for oily skin in winter.
How to apply moisturizer:
- Take a small amount of moisturizer in your palm.
- Put dots of moisturizer on your face (forehead, chin, nose, and cheeks).
- Massage your skin gently.
4. Apply Sunscreen
Always apply sunscreen on uncovered skin when stepping out in the sun. Sunscreen minimizes and prevents skin damage from the UV rays and increases skin tolerance. (17)
Moreover, sunscreen combats skin oiliness as it causes low sebum production. (18) Gel or spray sunscreens suit acne-prone, oily skin. Newer sunscreens have microfine particles that are effective and safe. (19)
How to apply sunscreen:
- Apply the required amount of sunscreen to your face and neck in upward strokes.
- Evenly spread it to your face, neck, hairline, and back of your head.
Tea Polyphenols for Oily Skin
Skin care products that contain tea extracts such as polyphenols soothe the skin and improve its appearance. Thus, applying green tea extract topically reduces excessive sebum production and benefits the skin. (23)
Additional Tips for Oily Skin Care During Winter
Follow these skin care tips during winter to manage oily skin.
1. Avoid hot showers
Hot temperatures damage the skin barrier. Use lukewarm or cold water for washing your body, and avoid hot water. (24)
According to a study, skin regions treated with warmer temperatures experienced more significant damage. (25) Long and continuous skin exposure to water (especially hot water) damages the barrier function and can harm your skin. (26)
2. Use alcohol-free products
Using methanol (toxic), acetaldehyde (carcinogenic), and ethyl acetate (skin defatting) poses risks to the skin. (29) Always check the product label to see if it’s alcohol-free.
3. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water, at least 8 glasses per day, is recommended to maintain proper skin hydration. (30)(31) Consuming water daily in increased amounts improves and positively impacts dry skin. (32)(33)
To significantly improve your skin’s physiology, drink more than 2 liters of water daily. (33)
4. Follow a healthy diet
High-fat diets hinder skin healing, promote inflammatory responses and oxidative stress of the skin, and reduce protein synthesis. Moreover, consuming sugary and fatty products, beverages, and milk causes acne. (34)
Skin diseases cause nutritional deficiencies and metabolic imbalances. (35) Therefore, a proper winter diet for skincare is essential.
Natural Ingredients to Use on Oily Skin
Here are some natural ingredients you can use on oily skin.
Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that boosts the production of collagen and elastin fibers in photoprotected skin and stimulates fibroblast production, making the skin wrinkle-less and more elastic. (36)(37)
Aloe vera protects the skin against UV rays, reduces sebum production, and removes excessive oil from the skin.
According to studies, almonds are loaded with fatty acids, antioxidants such as vitamin E, and phytochemical polyphenols. It keeps the skin hydrated by controlling water loss and sebum production. (38)
Consuming almonds daily reduces skin pigmentation and facial wrinkles and fights oily skin. (38)
What Happens to the Skin in Winter?
The first answer that comes to people’s mind is that winter causes skin dryness. Although this is true, winter also causes oily skin.
During winter, dry skin experiences scaling, inability to hold water, compromised barrier function, and decreased ceramide levels in the stratum corneum. (39)
To avoid these problems, along with itching, flaking, tightness, and irritation, the skin must produce sebum (natural oil).
Which season is good for oily skin?
Summer is the highest sebum-producing season. During winter, reduced barrier function and lower lipid production were found with seasonal variations in the T and U zones. (40)(41)
People assume oily skin fares better during cold weather. However, weather changes often lead to acne outbreaks. Both zones (T and U-zones) experience increased skin moisture during summer and autumn compared to winter. (41)
Is oily skin good?
Oily skin is a common cosmetic issue caused by enlarged sebaceous glands that produce excessive sebum, which results in oily skin and acne. (42) Oily skin is shiny and greasy, contributing to acne development and accompanied by oversized face pores. (43)(44)
Oily skin is good during winter as it doesn’t turn dry or flaky and traps the moisture inside.
No matter the season, using the proper skin care products on oily skin, such as face wash, toners, moisturizers, and sunscreen, is also essential.
Excessive sebum production causes oily skin, resulting in acne. Dealing with it can be tricky, as applying certain products or nothing at all can make the skin even oilier.
Thus, choose products that are alcohol-free, water-based, and meant for oily skin. Stay away from oil-based products.
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