Q: Dr. Macrene, I have been breaking out recently which is very odd for me. Nothing has changed in my routine except switching from using a serum over the summer to face oils during the winter, but that was a couple of months ago so it cannot be that. What is causing my breakouts?
A: One of the most insidious causes of breakouts in the wintertime is the use of face oils. These oils at first seem innocuous; they are giving the skin luster and keeping it looking moist during the dry winter months. However, with ongoing daily application, the oils slowly track down the pores, forming small plugs that eventually create an anoxic (without oxygen) environment deep in the hair follicles of the face. Inside these deep plugged pores, bacteria multiply and incite deep-seated inflammation. This type of acne first appears as tiny red marks in the mid cheek area or around the mouth and gradually evolves into red cysts. The remedy is to stop using the oils! Wash your skin with a cleanser designed to treat acne, such as 37 Actives Cleansing Treatment containing niacinamide and biotin that control blemishes and sebum production. Then apply your acne medicine on top containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid or get a prescription from your dermatologist. It will take as many months as you used the oils to get rid of the acne, so stick with the new routine and to oil-free moisturizers such as 37 Actives Serum which is lightweight and non-comedogenic.