As the weather changes, so does our lifestyle. We instinctively rotate our clothes, shoes and makeup, but many people don’t change their skin care wardrobe season after season. Let’s talk about why it’s important to use correct products and technique to adjust for changes in climate to keep your skin healthy, comfortable and protected.
Which seasonal changes wreak havoc on our skin
Every day of the year, the delicate balance of the climate around you is changing. Not paying enough attention to the corresponding changing needs of your skin can leave it with all sorts of issues. Maybe you’ve noticed your skin getting greasier in the summer or flaky in winter. But why does weather affect our skin?
There are four main causes of seasonal skin disruption:
Lower temperatures dramatically reduce oil production…
Low sebum is a contributing factor to a disrupted skin barrier that makes the skin more susceptible to problems such as infection, dehydration and sensitivity. Some people can even experience allergies manifesting as hives or eczema due to a sudden influx of cold air.
… while hot weather increases sweat and oiliness.
Summer has been branded as the oiliest skin season. The activity in sweat glands during long summer days also triggers sebum production. And we all know that an overproduction of oil can lead to acne. As the flowers bloom in spring, pollen can bring about allergic reactions in those susceptible, and in the peak of summer you might even develop heat rashes.
Low humidity leads to dehydrated skin…
The skin wants to give up its moisture content to the dry air brought about by a dry climate or central heating. This causes dehydration leading to flaking, peeling, redness and irritation.
… while high humidity produces sweat and infections.
While muggy weather prevents dehydration, it can also cause excess sweat production and acne, especially in the form of closed comedones. Susceptibility to fungal infections also increases as the skin isn’t able to dry out properly and fungi thrive in moisture.
Keep your skin wardrobe updated
Unfortunately, there’s no one set product that will solve all your winter or summer skin woes. If there were, the person who produced it would be a millionaire!
You need to balance and counteract the issues the weather brings with the correct blend of products. You should have seasonal routines because collection and application methods may need to be updated gradually throughout the year.
The simple guide to skin care for any weather
To prevent the negative effects of the cold:
- Cleanse only in the evening and use a gentle, low- or no-foaming product. Try Neutrogena Ultra Gentle for a basic, fragrance free cleanser.
- Switch out for a richer moisturiser or addition of an oil if dryness becomes a problem.
- Turn down the thermostat to mitigate the drying effect of central heating.
In warmer weather:
- Cleanse more thoroughly, using a foaming product up to twice a day if need be. I use Hada Labo Hyaluronic Foaming – it’s fragrance free and gentle.
- Swap in a lighter or oil-free moisturiser if oil production is a problem.
- Reapply sunscreen. Only two hours of direct exposure degrades the ingredients in sunscreen, so as the sun comes out and you spend more time outside it needs to be reapplied throughout the day.
- Wear less or lighter makeup to not only let your skin breathe but also to make sunscreen reapplication easier.
When dealing with an arid climate:
- Incorporate a humectant to attract moisture from the deeper layers of the skin as well as the air. I swear by Hada Labo Premium Lotion, which is a serum filled with hyaluronic acid, urea and more.
- Make use of an occlusive to trap hydration in the skin once it’s there.
- Purchase a humidifier for your desk or bedroom.
In the humid season:
- Reduce or stop humectant use if your skin is properly hydrated, which will prevent exacerbating extra sweat.
- If sweating is a problem for you, skip the occlusive ingredients to allow moisture to evaporate more easily from the skin.
- If you live somewhere especially humid, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier to keep your living space comfortable.
Handling the transition between seasons
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as checking the calendar and one day just completely switching all your products. There are a couple of key points to think about when planning your seasonal skin care routine.
Be mindful when travelling
If you’re going somewhere with a vastly different environment, pack some extra products. Keep an eye on how your skin is reacting and change your approach accordingly.
Don’t change all your products at once
Just like the seasons, your routine should develop incrementally. If you throw your whole routine out the window at the first sign of a change in weather, there’s no way you’ll know what helped or what harmed.
Be flexible with dates
There are no set rules as to when you should be implementing seasonal routine changes. Everybody lives in a different climate combinations, even ones that change year to year. Some places have dry summers and mild, rainy winters and some have a wet season punctuated by long and harsh, dry winter. Adjust to your unique climate as you see fit.
Follow your skin
Don’t feel like you need to use ‘summer’ products if your winter moisturiser works well for you. Not everybody has to change their products. You may need something totally different to what I’ve suggested here or what everybody else tells you. You’re the one who knows your skin best so do what works for you.
I hope these tips will help you understand the changes you see in your skin throughout the years and navigate the next change in season with confidence!