Just like how you don’t perform the same skincare routine in the morning and evening, temperature drops and changes in weather require a change in your skincare routine. Depending on where you live, summers usually mean lots of sun time, higher humidity levels and warmer temperatures, while fall starts to bring colder weather, drier air, indoor heating and exposure to wind, rain and snow. Our skin is the first and most important barrier between our bodies and the environment, so it’s the first organ to feel the effects. This can mean dryer and more fragile, flakier and itchier skin.
It’s hard to know exactly when you should start to change your skincare routine – but the tip is to pay attention to a decrease in humidity vs. temperature. (It’s the decrease in humidity levels that causes a lot of changes to the skin when seasons are transitioning!) Your skin starts to feel drier in cold weather because there’s less moisture in the air, which means less moisture for your skin. Increased exposure to indoor heating and wind, rain and snow also contribute to drier skin by breaking down the skin barrier and causing irritation and inflammation.
Here’s how you can easily transition your skincare from summer to fall and winter.
In the summer, we usually try to control oil production and do a nightly deep clean with gel and foaming cleansers – but that’s not ideal for colder temperatures. Now there’s less moisture in the air and the skin produces less oil. So using cleansers that strip the skin of its natural oils will speed up and intensify dry skin.
If you’re using clarifying, acne-focused cleansers, it’s important to limit your use of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These are both harsh ingredients that can worsen dry skin!
I like to swap my cleansers for something more gentle and creamy. Double cleansing will also give your skin an extra boost of moisture and help keep a healthy skin barrier.
This is the most important swap you can make when transitioning your skincare routine from season to season. Try rich, creamy moisturizers vs. the lightweight water-based moisturizers and tinted creams that are popular in the summer. You’ll want key ingredients like glycerin, ceramides and Niacin to keep your skin hydrated and your skin barrier intact. To help my skin absorb as much moisture as it can, I like to use a heavier night cream before bed!
The best way to apply moisturizer for maximum hydration is to follow the “soak and smear.” After cleansing your face and patting dry, apply your moisturizer (after you’ve applied your serum) to still damp skin.
Use a hyaluronic acid serum
Serums are always great to have in your skincare routine because they help target specific skin concerns. To combat dry skin, add an HA serum into your routine. HA is a sugar naturally found in our skin that retains water and helps keep it plump and hydrated. HA can hold water 1,000 times its weight – and not only does it retain moisture in our skin and joints but it also prevents moisture from evaporating into the air. It naturally occurs in our bodies but decreases as we get older, so adding HA into your skincare routine during the colder months will help bring moisture to the skin’s surface.
Remember to apply your serums BEFORE your moisturizer! If you have multiple serums in your skincare routine, apply the most active ones first.
Cut back on the actives and exfoliants
The potentially irritating active ingredients to look out for include alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and retinoids. It’s especially important for sensitive skin types to tread lightly here. It’s easier for skin to become inflamed during the drier months, so cutting back on exfoliating is also something to consider. Excess exfoliation can increase dehydration by stripping the skin’s natural oils. Unless you have visible flakiness, it’s recommended that you chemically or physically exfoliate once or twice a week.
Don’t forget the SPF
No matter the weather, SPF is ALWAYS a must! The side effects of overexposure to UV rays (sun spots, the breakdown of collagen and elastin, wrinkles, etc.) can actually be worse in the fall and winter months. It’s harder to feel the effects of UV rays on your skin in colder temperatures, which can lead to more sun damage without you even noticing.
The only change you need to make in the fall and winter is where you apply it and how often. In the colder months, you only need to apply SPF to any areas of exposed skin, which is usually smaller since you’re more covered and layered up. Since you also won’t be sweating or swimming as much, you should reapply every 3-4 hours vs. every 2 hours in the summer.
At the end of the day, the best and most natural way to stay hydrated is by drinking water! I always like to carry a water bottle with me throughout the day to make sure I’m keeping my hydration levels up and I’m constantly replenishing any moisture-loss.
How are you transitioning your skincare from summer to fall and winter? I’d love to hear your beauty tips!