Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why Does My Skin Break Out in Dry Weather || 5 key suspects in my Harmattan Break Outs

So two weeks ago I'm scrubbing my face with my DIY dilke body scrub (coming soon!) and I feel a little, painful bump.

What's this? A pimple? No way!

But I've been good, haven't I?

I hadn't had a break out in over 10 months!

So I became more serious and made sure I was sticking to my daily routine while being cautious and less aggressive to my sensitive skin.

That should help control the pimples right?


As we speak my forehead is quite bumpy with at least 3 mini clusters of raised skin. There's also a little cluster on both cheeks and one on my chin.

*breathing hot air*

But I was being so good!


Wait, hold on, didn't this happen last year? January, to be precise!

Rewind a little, I think it happened in January 2015 too! 2014 doesn't count because I was heavily preggers and and my face resembled sand paper, but all the Januaries after that have been a little pimply.

What is it with January (The month I was born!!!) and break outs?
Well, in Nigeria January is smack in the middle of Harmattan season, which is very dry, windy, dusty and often cooler than other months.

Could this be the reason my skin is at its worst during Harmattan?
Lets rule out the constants: PCOS, Hormonal Changes and my oily/combination skin are constant all year round.
What changes?

Let's discuss 5 reasons why I'm blaming Harmattan for my breakouts!


Dry Season = Dry Hair = More Hair Products. I should've known this al along. My hair gets super dry and coarse when there's no humidity so I usually switch from Coconut oil (which is light) to shea butter and Castor oil (thick oil). 
I also noticed I only have pimples on my forehead and my cheeks. None on my nose, which is an oily area. 
I'm very hairy (Hirsutism rocks!) and my hairline touches my brows from the sides and I also have side burns that go down to my jaws. Now that I look at it, most of my pimples are localised within an inch or two of my hairline!


I need to get me one of these ASAP!

I think I'll wear it at night and around the house all day and hopefully it'll prevent the oil from melting down my face. 
Since it contains oil, I have to also wash it daily! 
Maybe I should get two! Or three!


Let's see, how many weddings did I attend in December/January? Well, much more than the total number of weddings I attended all year, that's for sure! Then there's Office parties and special birthdays and your favourite out of towners are visiting, so you're taking them out more often! 

Bottom line is you're getting dressed and glamming up much more than you used to making...

Party Season = Make Up season! 

I went from only wearing a full face of make up 2 to 3 times a week to glamming up almost daily over a two week period!

Even though I always remove my make up before going to bed, there are nights when we get home and 1am and all you're thinking about is rushing to bed, so your face won't be as clean as it should be...

Skin doesn't get time to breath and all that prodding and rubbing causes inflammations causing blocked pores and all that jazz! *sigh*


I'm letting my skin breathe this January! No foundation till my birthday (Jan. 29th!) My studio fix powder should be okay.
I also clean my makeup brushed much more regularly now. I now wash my beauty blender BEFORE and AFTER each use instead of only AFTER use.


There's pretty much no humidity in the air both indoors and outdoors and this really dries my skin out. Dry skin = Dead skin cells that can clog pores and trap sebum, leading to breakouts! 


I exfoliated my skin yesterday using a glycolic acid peel and oh, I instantly felt an improvement . Exfoliation really works and that is why I love doing a dilke scrub once in a while. Skin feels soft and refreshed instantly.

I'm also going to be turning on my humidifier more often! I bought one of these ones when Baby R had tonsillitis. We use it from time to time and now that I know humidity helps my skin, I'm going to be turning it on all night. 


Sometimes, being away from home can really throw me off my normal routine. Like at home my cleanser is always beside my toothbrush so I apply cleanser, brush my teeth and then wash it off; its almost robotic. But since we've been in Kano and Daura for most of the holiday, I wasn't in my zone so I didn't exfoliate at all and well, sometimes, I didn't even use a toner after cleanser! *yikes!*

Also, all these dilke and kurkum scrubs can be a little tedious when I'm in a hurry so sometimes I give my weekly facials a miss.


This year I plan on making a Beauty Calendar that'll include hair, skin and other feminine type things. I work well with calendars and planners, so I'm hoping it'll keep me consistent. *fingers crossed*


We moved to our current district almost two years ago, and immediately we noticed the water is so different!

I would spare you a photo of the residue that's left behind when soap mixes with this hard water of ours. The water contains heavy minerals, making if difficult for other substances to dissolve in it. Whats left is a film of sticky residue, so we end up using more soap, more detergent, more cleanser which can seriously irritate skin. Its so obvious on Baby R's feet, cos her toe nails appear brittle and the skin on her feet is often dry and peeling.

Let's just say the entire family now suffers dry scalps, coarse hair and, as I noticed dry skin.

From a physiological stand point, dry and irritated skin thats been stripped off all its natural oils will cause a negative feedback system because on noticing excessive dryness, the body overcompensates by producing excess oil leading to more clogged pores.

Apparently even our clothing and linen washed with hard water can further irritate our skin and even lead to dermatitis,  which I've had in the past and it sucks majorly. *sigh*


We are currently looking for a lasting solution to the problem. We might have to just install a water softener in the tanks and call it a day. Until then... well, I just have to deal with it. sigh

That's it guys! These are the five things I'm suspecting are responsible for my current break out and I am currently working on a new routine to help me tackle them swiftly. 

My birthday is on the 29th and I don't want any blemishes on this very special milestone birthday of mine! *sigh*

Thanks for reading!

I hope you find my tips helpful for you too.

Any questions? leave them in the comments below.

Lot's of Windy love!


x o x o


  1. Such a helpful blog post, love it!

  2. Happy Birthday!!!
    Harmattan can be so annoying mehn! I've been breaking out and i kept thinking 'i've been good na-eating healthy, period is not around the corner,why am i breaking out?'.I guess in my case the dry air is the biggest culprit, please where did you get ur humidifier? My Michael Todd Soniclear has been helping with dry skin but i still get lazy using it sometimes. Sorry about the hard water, getting a water filter system is probably ur best bet sorting that out.

  3. Hi Ummi,

    Ah, pimples! Story of my life. My face got super clear last year, but stress and inconsistency have been my problem this year.

    I've been hearing good things about chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid, I think I'll try the peel.

    I trust you had a good "milestone birthday" :-)