Girl touching her forehead

DO NOT pop those zits! Here’s help on how to deal.

As promised, this week I’ll be spending a lot of time on skin care tips for the cool weather. And also as promised, first up will be tips for acne-prone skin. Are you ready? Thought so!

Since cold weather can make your skin more sensitive to the harsh ingredients found in acne treatments that seem just right for summer heat, you’ll want to switch to more gentle cleansers and add protective ingredients to avoid irritating your delicate pores during the colder months. Some tips:

  • For morning cleansing, try a gentle soap-free cleanser, lotion cleanser, or cream cleanser. My favorite? Clean & Clear’s Deep Action Cream Cleanser. At night (please don’t forget to wash your face at night!), you should use an acne-focused product that contains either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If these products seem too drying, adjust accordingly, scaling back one use per week until you find the right balance.
  • For moisturizing (yes, even acne-prone skin needs to be moisturized, otherwise it may naturally over-compensate by producing too much oil in an effort to hydrate itself) try an oil-free lotion in the morning which boasts an SPF of 30 or higher. This is important even in the colder months as our skin is always exposed to damaging rays to some degree each day. Not only that, but acne treatments can leave your skin even more sun-sensitive than non-treated skin.
  • Blast your zits the instant they take root. Call it a sixth sense, but we can almost always detect a zit while it’s still in the brewing stage. Once you suspect you’ve got a volcano on your hands, go on the attack, since once it’s full-blown, spot treatments can only help dry it up (often leading to further irritation). Instead, try a treatment with 2 percent salicylic acid cream or a benzoyl peroxide lotion to stifle a disaster before it happens. One of my favorites: Persa-Gel 10 by Clean & Clear.
  • If you’ve got more than just one mountain on your hands and several areas of your face are broken out, dilute an oil-free salicylic acid moisturizer with a regular moisturizer and apply it to your entire face each night. Also, apply a facial mask containing sulfur every other week (or every week, if necessary) to tighten pores and zap zits.
  • If you still end up with a troublesome blemish despite all your efforts (you know it will happen), conceal the offender with a small, slightly pointed makeup brush dipped in an opaque concealer and dab it on the blemish only (not the surrounding skin).
  • And finally, if you wear foundation each day, consider switching to a mineral formula which won’t clog your pores. As a devotee of the same foundation for years and years, I have always been fascinated with mineral foundations and plan to give some a try very soon. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. I’ll be sure to do the same for you as I go on the hunt.

Give these cool weather tips for acne-prone skin a try and let me know how they work for you – and if you have any other tips, please share.

*These tips come in part from the October 2008 issue of Allure magazine; the remainder come from personal experience and years of research.