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Why You May Have More Oily Skin During the Winter and How to Fix It

Experiencing oily skin during the winter? Read on to find out why the cold weather may actually be the cause!

During the crazy cold months, everyone has amazing hacks for dry flaky skin. But what people forget is that breakouts and other skin concerns caused by changes in weather can be varied, and sometimes counterintuitive. Dry skin can mean an overproduction of sebum and oils…not to mention constantly going from freezing cold to overheated indoors.

Why dry skin can mean oily skin:

Environmental causes are some of the biggest factors in skin concerns, and weather is at the top of that list. When it is cold and dry out and you are constantly switching between that and an overheated indoor space, it can really freak out your pores. I find that even in winter, I sometimes wake up with a weird greasy film in the morning if I don’t take proper care of my skin.

According to Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group, “Skin can become more oily as a mechanism to compensate for excess dryness. The skin will overcompensate in sebum or oil production to moisturize itself.” This is a great survival tactic but can be a problem when that oil production leaves us shiny, and not in a good way.

Farber adds, “If your skin is dry, it’ll often feel tight and have a white-ish flaking more diffused all over the face. Oily skin will often concentrate around sebaceous areas, like the T-zone, and pores in this areas may be visibly larger.”

That being said, these are just guidelines. Our skin is way more nuanced and mercurial than just dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin. Those categories can give us a starting point, but it’s important to understand when building your routine how your skin fluctuates between those types.

For me, my sensitive skin leans toward the dry side, but when I’m not using a routine and taking proper care of my skin it can almost seem like combination skin. That greasy film never fails to rear its ugly head and confuse the heck out of me. It wasn’t until I tested and refined my routine that I realized I have fairly normal, albeit sensitive, skin that needs a little more TLC.

Preventative measures:

When you’re dealing with oiliness as the result of dry or dehydrated skin, it can be confusing where to start with treatment. The knee jerk reaction is all too often to use drying products that “mattify” or soak up oily sheen. In actuality, this can make the problem worse. When dealing with oily dry skin, you want to focus on appeasing the dryness without upsetting the pores.

That’s where layering come into play. I could write volumes about the benefits of layering your skin care, but first and foremost the biggest advantage of this technique is that it really allows you to listen to your skin’s needs on a daily basis.

According to Farber, the best way to treat this kind of oily skin is “ to gently replace your skin’s moisture barrier. Use mild soaps without fragrances or preservatives, and layer on oil-free moisturizers with ceramides and hyaluronic acid.”

You’ll want use a light but effective moisturizer that also helps oil control…sounds impossible right? Not when you layer together some of these Klog favorites:

For oil control:

CosRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-sol

Acids in general are amazing ingredients, but AHAs and BHAs in particular are a great way to gently exfoliate your skin but also moisturize. This CosRX toner is perfect for people trying to clean out and calm down overactive pores without drying out their skin. Use this as a toner or even as a booster layer after your regular toner.

Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner

This toner is a must-have. I started out just using a sample when I traveled and then eventually missed it so much when I was home that I just made it my everyday toner. This plant-based formula from Klairs is gentle and soothing. It will effectively balance your skin’s pH and amino acids help to soothe any irritation. It’s on the thicker side, but still feels light on your skin while also getting the right amount of moisture in there.

For moisture:

Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Essential Moisturizer

What can I say other than this is hands down my favorite moisturizer for layering. It’s not sturdy enough on it’s own, but when dealing with this particular skin problem that’s a really good thing. You don’t want a moisturizer that is going to overwhelm your very confused skin. Snail mucin is a super nourishing ingredient that will lock in moisture and improve the plumpness of your skin, perfect for someone with dry or dehydrated skin. The formula is light enough that it will not add the oiliness and will actually help reduce that greasy film.

Missha Super Aqua Clear Cream

This is a moisturizer I often recommend to people with acne-prone or oily skin, but it is also great for combination and those with dry skin that is presenting as combination or oily. This Best of K Beauty winner is light and locks in moisture. The oil free formula guarantees your pores won’t be aggravated, while hyaluronic acid plumps and protects your skin.

Extras that balance:

Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray

Misting can be another great way to lightly layer your moisturizer. This refreshing spray is a great way to get an effective serum that won’t overwhelm your overactive pores. I like to spray this on as I apply my SPF BB cream or foundation to get a smooth and glowy look.

Leaders Balancing Recovery Coconut Gel Mask

I’m a huge fan of all the Leaders coconut gel masks, but this one in particular is great for evening out your skin. The cellulose mask is made with fermented coconut that will help reduce fine lines and moisturize. It helps to calm oil production and keep your skin at a healthy shine rather than a greasy end of day film. Use this once a week, or when you feel like your routine needs a little extra boost!

Bottom line:

Oily skin can be caused by more than just “oily skin.” No single skin type is exactly the same so it’s important to create the right routine that gets your skin a healthy glow. Experiment, research, and adjust to get yourself on the right track!

+What product has helped you combat oiliness caused by dry skin? Share in the comments!

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