Skincare struggles are a stranger to no one. Whether they last a day or a matter of years, at some point we have all had to face the dreaded pimple problem, and there is no shortage of advice out there, whether it comes from your GP, your mother or social media. But how do you get to the root of the issue? It turns out some of our issues can be pinned down to seasonal changes – causes and effects that can be tracked and managed by better understanding how our skin might react to the December frost, April showers or July heat. Let’s see how adapting our skincare routines to the different problems and benefits that come with each season can help us to gear ourselves towards glowy, healthier-looking skin year-round!
Throughout the winter months our skin is deprived of hydration, causing a multitude of problems. Outdoors we’re faced with strong winds and low humidity that rob the skin of moisture, and it’s not much better when we manage to escape the cold as the heat provided through central heating systems also lacks moisture. While we most commonly associate oily skin with problems related to acne, dry skin can be just as difficult to manage in this way as it can cause a build-up of dead skin cells that clogs the pores. When this becomes an issue, maybe opt for a heavier moisturiser that will both increase hydration and protect the face from that wintry breeze. The same problem may extend to the lips, the thin skin here being prone to painful splitting. Depending on the severity there is the option of medicated lip balms that will soothe the pain but watch out that these don’t worsen the dryness issue! A good choice may be just a simple petroleum based lip balm that will aid in protecting from the dry, cold winds. It’s also important to remember that despite the grey days, SPF is still a key component in any healthy skincare recipe to help prevent premature ageing and skin damage – it might be easy to forget when we’re longing for the return of the summer sun but keeping on top of your SPF is one of the best things you can do for your skin.
Now, as the days start to get longer we begin to spend more time outdoors so it’s not the time to scrimp on the SPF. Keep on top of sun protection and up the factor if possible, but any SPF is better than none! As the air gets warmer there is an increase in humidity from winter so this is when we should opt for lighter creams and serums, putting the heavy moisturisers away for the time being. It may even be suitable for your skin, to introduce a moisturiser with anti-inflammatory ingredients to calm the skin and any residual redness or irritation from winter; consider moisturisers with ceramides or niacinamide. Regarding makeup products: as things get warmer, to avoid the melting-look that’s a side-effect of makeup applied on oily skin, try a lighter option or even a tinted moisturiser as opposed to full-coverage foundation which may help with issues of oily application. With spring also come increased pollen in the air and the reappearance of struggles with allergies and hay fever. Itchy, streaming eyes and runny noses may mean increased hand-to-face contact, transferring bacteria and dirt onto the face more frequently. Stay on top of managing allergies if this is a problem and ensure that you wash your face twice daily, though a conversation with your doctor is the best way to avoid this problem while avoiding contact with your face where possible! Spring is also the perfect time to commit to exfoliation twice a week, working to remove the clogging of dead skin cells following the winter. Alongside dealing with residual winter-skin issues, prep your summer skin! This is your opportunity to brighten the dull skin that accompanies winter so, maybe treat yourself to a chemical peel to refresh your skin or re-introduce vibrance with a weekly hydrating mask. Lighter, hydrating products and increased exfoliation are the basic components to healthy skin in spring, simultaneously working against the past winter’s problems and readying your skin for the summer to come.
Everybody’s skin and how it behaves is personal to them, dependent on things like genetics, skin type and lifestyle, but for me the summer is when my skin thrives! Due to the increased moisture held by warm air and the upping of humidity, our skin is naturally more hydrated. The oil-producing glands in our face are also producing more natural oils and while this works to aid our pursuit of that healthy glow, it may also come with the issue of ‘greasy’ looking skin and worsen the same problems with makeup application we had in Spring. Therefore, summer should continue to be a time of lighter products (moisturisers particularly) to resist the possibility of being prone to breakouts caused by a shift from normal to oily skin. Much like the dryness of winter, sweat and oils can lead to breakouts in the same way – seems we just can’t catch a break! There simply isn’t one way to deal with pimple problems and the best way to manage is to adapt to what your skin is calling out to you for in response to what it might be lacking or over-producing. Once again: SPF! With the summer comes prolonged sun exposure, and while I stress that SPF is important throughout the year, this prolonged exposure isn’t to be ignored so up the factor again. Rather than tanning in direct sunlight, get it from the bottle! It’s safe to use for that summer glow and while it might require a little more effort than simply basking in the sun’s rays, it’s definitely worth the extra work.
Completing the cycle, autumn marks the beginning of the return to the issues associated with those colder months, and this sharp drop in temperature following the summer really can wreak havoc. Autumn, like spring, is the time to exfoliate if ever there was one, as it is imperative you remove the dead skin cells that can hinder the absorption of moisturisers and serums that are integral to battling the dehydration that accompanies the cold. Don’t overdo it on the exfoliation however and stick to a gentler option, as we are losing the humidity and warmth that seems to buffer the irritating effects of exfoliants, something we don’t need as the drop in humidity itself may already cause dryness and irritation. With regards to moisturiser, best to avoid moisturises with drying alcohol ingredients that will strip the moisture you’ve worked for throughout the warmth and want to retain for the winter cold. The reappearance of those clouds still doesn’t mean you can slack on the SPF. Keep it up! Finally, to go that extra mile in the colder months, consider investing in a humidifier for the autumn and winter to avoid the issue of dry central heating and the dry outside cold. The added moisture in the air will keep your skin hydrated and minimise the issues brought on as Autumn slips into winter once more.