Main content
A person looking in a mirror checking to see a blemish on their face


5 Tips For Managing Blemishes In The Winter

For some, blemishes may appear to worsen in the winter. Here at Kiehl’s, we explain why—and offer our top skincare tips for managing winter blemishes.

If you find that your skin often appears worse off when the temperatures dip, you’re not alone. Excessive dryness is commonly associated with cold winter weather, but other skin concerns—such as blemishes—can also be exacerbated by chilly, dry air. There are several reasons why your skin’s condition may plunge as the temperatures do. Some may be obvious (cold air equals drier, duller-looking skin, for example), while others may surprise you.

Here, we’ll explain potential reasons why you may struggle with stubborn blemishes in the winter. You’ll also discover five of our top tips for addressing these unwanted skin concerns. So snuggle up with your warmest blanket, grab a steaming mug of tea, and read on to learn how to manage blemishes during the winter.

Why Are My Blemishes Bad In The Winter?

For those who live somewhere with distinct seasons, the winter is typically characterized by frigid temps, dry air, and occasionally, harsh, biting wind. The coldness in and of itself isn’t necessarily a problem—it’s the lack of moisture in the air. Your skin needs water to stay plump and hydrated. When the humidity in the air drops, your skin becomes drier (which is part of the reason why dryness is such a common skin concern during the cooler months). Long, steamy showers and baths—a common cold-weather indulgence—can similarly strip your skin of moisture, leaving it both dry and dehydrated.

For some, exposure to these stressors may just result in skin that feels dry and tight, with no significant increase in blemish count or severity. When skin gets too dry, however, your body may respond by ramping up sebum production as a way to make up for the lack of moisture in your skin. While increased oil production may help alleviate some of the symptoms of dryness, it can also contribute to clogged pores and blemishes. You may be tempted to slather on thick ointments and creams to help keep your skin moisturized, but this, too, can contribute to blemishes if you’re not using the correct formulas for your skin. So while you want to keep your skin moisturized to help prevent your skin from producing too much oil, overdoing it can also lead to blemishes. It’s a bit of a catch-22. The good news? The right products can help keep your skin balanced and healthy-looking.

5 Kiehl’s Tips For Managing Winter Blemishes

Now that you know what can contribute to blemishes during the winter, keep reading for five winter skincare tips to help keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

1. Deep Clean Your Pores Weekly

An oil-absorbing mask may seem like the last thing you’d want to use if your skin feels dry and flaky, but they can be incredibly helpful in addressing clogged pores. Once weekly, we recommend deep-cleaning your skin with a clay face mask, such as Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Detoxifying Clay Mask. The award-winning mask, which contains fairly-traded Amazonian white clay and aloe vera, helps draw out dirt and impurities that can cause clogged pores. In a single application, it’s demonstrated to diminish clogged pores by more than 37%.* The powerful formula also helps boost clarity and smooth skin’s texture, giving way to a more refined appearance over time.

*Results based on expert grading in a two-week clinical test on 54 subjects.

2. Keep Your Skin Well-Hydrated

As we explained earlier, exposure to drying stressors, like indoor heating and hot water, can dry out your skin and cause increased oiliness. This, in turn, may contribute to an uptick in blemishes. To help prevent excessive dryness, we recommend incorporating hydrating products into your regular skincare routine. For the best results, you’ll want to choose formulas that are suited for your skin type. Check out our article How To Choose The Best Moisturizer For Your Skin Type for help narrowing down which Kiehl’s formulas suit your needs best.

3. Spot-Treat Breakouts As They Appear

Breakouts are frustrating at any time, but especially so when they’re made worse by drying winter weather. While it can be tempting to pick at or even pop blemishes when they appear, doing so runs the risk of worsening the spot or causing a post-blemish mark to develop. Instead, address individual blemishes with a targeted spot treatment, such as Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment. Made with mineral sulfur and vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide), this spot treatment is clinically-demonstrated to rapidly reduce the appearance of acne blemishes.* The powerful formula absorbs quickly and blends evenly into the skin, making it suitable for use day or night. We recommend applying a dab to blemishes once to three times daily as needed to help reduce active breakouts and prevent new spots from developing.

*Tested in a dermatologist-controlled clinical study.

4. Add Retinol To Your Skincare Routine

Blemishes don’t only refer to breakouts—the term can be used to describe any visible skin imperfection, including dark spots and rough patches. Topical retinoids, including retinol, can be incredibly helpful in addressing these concerns. To incorporate retinol into your skincare routine, we recommend reaching for Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide. This fast-absorbing serum helps promote gentle skin surface turnover to refine the skin. It’s clinically-demonstrated to visibly improve skin texture and tone, reducing fine lines, and minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores in as little as 12 weeks.* Over time, it also helps firm and smooth the skin. Best of all, the carefully-formulated serum produces results with minimal dryness, making it suitable for all skin types (even retinol newbies).

*Results based on expert grading in a clinical test for subjects showing improvement after 12 weeks of use.

5. Wear Your Sunscreen Every Day

When it’s cold out, it may feel like you don’t need sunscreen, but we’re here to tell you that is not the case. Sunscreen is a necessity, all year round (even when it’s raining or snowing). To help keep your skin protected from the sun’s damaging rays, complete your morning skincare routine with a healthy layer of broad-spectrum sunscreen. Not only will it help protect your skin from photodamage, but it’ll also help ensure that existing blemishes aren’t made worse because of sun exposure. As with anything skincare-related, you’ll have the best results if you choose a sunscreen formulated for your skin type. Learn a bit about different types of sunscreen and their benefits in our article Your Guide To Chemical vs. Mineral SPF.

Orientation message
For the best experience, please turn your device