With the weather shifting from beach season to sweater season, the leaves and your wardrobe aren’t the only things due for a change-up. In fact, if you’re not updating your skincare to keep up with the seasons, your skin will suffer the consequences for the whole year.
Not sold? Not sure how to transition your skincare routine? Here’s a look at why skincare should change with the seasons (even in temperate climates) and a few simple steps to transition your skincare routine.
Unfortunately, cooling weather doesn’t just bring vibrant foliage. It also brings unwelcome (and often uncomfortable) changes in your skin. If you have dry skin, it may feel tighter and drier than usual, or if you have oily skin, your acne may look more inflamed than ever. This can even happen for those who live in temperate climates.
You see, the weather (and your changing lifestyle) have a dramatic impact on your skin.
For one thing, skin loves consistency. So when you make the transition from hot, humid air in the summer to cool, dry air in the fall, your skin has to work a lot harder to maintain healthy moisture levels with less ambient humidity to help out. This is why your skin may seem drier or more broken out than usual–your skin is in overdrive trying to maintain homeostasis without any environmental help.
Unfortunately, lifestyle changes that accompany shifting seasons often make this worse. The biggest changes are central heating and long, hot showers, both of which strip the skin’s natural moisture and oils. As a result, your skin has to work even harder than usual, and your skincare routine isn’t doing you any favors.
Because of this, your skincare routine should not stay the same throughout the year. In fact, if you keep the same routine throughout the whole year, you’re doing your skin a serious disservice.
The exact skincare shift will vary somewhat depending on whether you have dry, oily, sensitive, or combination skin. That said, the underlying problem is your skin frantically drawing moisture and oil. For oily skin, that means more breakouts. For dry skin, which didn’t have enough oil and moisture during humid summer days, that means dryness.
Here are a few ways to switch up your skincare that most people can benefit from.
Switch Up Your Cleanser
First, if you’re using the same cleanser you used in summer, it’s time to make the switch to a winter cleanser.
In the summer, certain foaming cleansers are perfectly fine to use morning and night, since you need them to keep up with the pace of sweat and oil on your skin during the day. However, as fall dries out the air, your skin needs that extra oil and moisture, and your summertime cleanser is too harsh.
In general, fall and winter demand much gentler cleansers. If you have oily skin, simply swapping to a gentler cleanser will do the trick. If you have dry skin, though, you’ll need a gentler cleanser with a moisturizing element.
Add a Thicker Moisturizer
Even once you stop stripping your skin of much-needed oil, moisture, and sebum, the ambient air is still much drier. This is why your skin produces new oil as quickly as possible. That means that it’s time to add a moisturizer.
This might sound counterintuitive if you have oily skin. After all, isn’t the problem too much oil? In reality, the issue is your skin thinking it doesn’t have enough moisture (since the ambient air is drier). By adding a moisturizer, you can actually get your skin to calm down, which will actually reduce the amount of oil production. In other words: less acne.
If you have dry skin and already use a moisturizer, it’s time to switch to a thicker one. This is especially important if you have eczema. Don’t be shy about reaching for an oily moisturizer, since your skin doesn’t have enough oil to begin with. Also, look for a moisturizer formulated with ceramides (a type of healthy fat that’s essential to your skin barrier and in short supply in cooler months).
Cut Back on Exfoliating
While you can keep certain elements of your skincare routine throughout the year, one thing that should be cut out in fall is exfoliating. Or at least, you should plan to do way less exfoliating.
Basically, an exfoliating agent is an irritant. That’s fine in the summer when you need to cut through extra oil, but those same agents are way too harsh in the fall and winter. And while some exfoliating can brighten your skin, it’s easy to overdo it.
Your best bet is to play it safe–stick to light exfoliants and don’t do it more than once or twice a week.
Consider Adding Vitamin C
Of course, when fall comes knocking, you’re not just repairing damage caused by dry air. You’re also repairing the damage of the summer sunshine. This is where a bit of vitamin C can be helpful.
This little vitamin is legendary in the skincare world. It’s an anti-inflammatory antioxidant known to reduce dark spots, hydrate your skin, level out your skin tone, brighten your complexion, and reduce signs of hyperpigmentation.
The trick is knowing how to use it correctly. Those with sensitive or dry skin should stick to lower vitamin C serum concentrations (around 5%) while those with oily skin or significant pigmentation issues can handle higher concentrations (though the effect plateaus above 20%). If in doubt, start with a lower concentration and build up. And whatever you do, don’t use vitamin C at the same time as benzoyl peroxide.
Keep Your SPF
There is exactly one element of your skincare routine that should remain the same for the whole year: your sunscreen.
While you’re not about to get sunburn sitting indoors in the middle of winter, you still need sunscreen (unless you happen to live in a windowless box). If you can see your hand in front of your face, there are enough UV rays and sunlight to perpetuate premature aging and hyperpigmentation.
Looking for skincare you can count on to support you for the whole year? We offer a complete line of gentle skin hygiene products formulated for clinical cleanliness and hydration you can trust. Make sure to check out our store to find the perfect fit for your skincare needs.