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Why Is My Skin Oily in Winter?

The crisp autumn air is usually a harbinger of what is to come—cold, dry winter air, and with it, dry skin. Believe it or not, increased dryness may actually be the cause of oily skin in winter.

 

What Causes Oily Skin

No matter what your skin type or what time of year it is, sebaceous glands produce oil. Ideally, the glands produce just enough oil to lubricate skin and keep it supple—resilient and resistant to pathogenic microbes. However, many people face over- or under-active sebaceous glands, resulting in oily or dry skin, respectively.

 

Common causes of over-activity of the sebaceous glands, include:

 

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Hormone changes

 

Even environmental changes can trigger increased oil production—and that’s exactly what is happening if you experience oily skin in the winter. In response to drier ambient air, your skin kicks up production of its natural moisture-locking and protective oil.

 

How to Deal with Oily Winter Skin

It may be tempting to counter oily skin with aggressive washing and scrubbing or significantly reducing moisturizing treatments. Neither of those strategies will get the results you want.

 

Frequent washing with strong soaps or medicinal cleaners combined with dry winter air (inside and out) are a sure-fire way to over-dry your skin. Instead of an oily sheen, you will likely end up with dull, flaky, possibly red and irritated skin. If your face wash leaves your skin squeaky-clean, you know it’s too strong.

 

The best way to handle oily winter skin is with gentle cleansing and an adequate moisturizer. Twice-daily cleansing with a soap-free wash like Dermist cleanser will remove dirt and excess oil, helping to prevent breakouts and that undesirable greasy-skin feeling. Moisturizing will keep your skin hydrated, and if your skin is hydrated, then your sebaceous glands do not have to work overtime. No matter what your skin type is during the spring, summer and fall, if you experience winter oiliness, you may benefit from using a light moisturizing lotion like C-Fine Milk Lotion or Re-Fine Milk Lotion. These water-based formulas replenish hydration without heavier moisture-locking compounds that may trap excess oil under your skin.

 

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