If you ask me, sticking to your tried-and-tested skincare routine is a-okay. After all, if it stops you from breaking out and stuff, why should you change it, right? But who am I to say that when I’m not an expert? As it turns out, this recommendation of sticking to our skincare routine all year long is not the most beneficial to our skins; we have to change our routine or products according to the season. Your skincare routine in spring and summer is not really the most appropriate in fall and winter.
According to dematologists, the changes in the air and temperature of the seasons directly affect the state of our skins. Think about it: during late spring and summer months, our skin would feel smoother and moisturized even if we don’t try, but come fall and winter, it would feel dry (and maybe even flaky).
“Cold, dry, and windy weather with little humidity leaves our facial skin, in particular, exposed to the elements,” tells London-based dermatologist Anjali Mahto to InStyle magazine. What are these elements? For one, once the humidity level drops and the air becomes dry, we lose that natural moisture, which is usually present in late spring and summer. Not only that, but when exposed to cold, harsh winds, our skin gets stripped of the natural barrier that keeps it from drying out. The sudden change from the cold air outside to the warm temperature indoors can cause the skin to dry out quickly too. Lastly, the long hot baths or showers we usually love to take during the cold months wash off many of our natural oils and moisture, leading to dry and even irritated skin.
So, how can we update our skincare routine for fall and winter and prevent this dry, unmoisturized skin? Here are 7 ways!
Reduce (or Eliminate) Exfoliants and Retinoids
Remember, exfoliants and retinoids have irritating effects. And, according to dermatologist Julia Tzu, MD, the humidity and warm temperature in the summer, which result in increased oiliness of the skin, usually buffer these effects. But when used during cooler months, they may overly dry and irritate the skin.
If your skincare routine includes exfoliation now and you really can’t eliminate this step, try cutting it down to once or twice a month at least. Exfoliating is good for the skin to better absorb products, after all, but too much of it (especially on cold months) will lead to damaged skin barrier and moisture loss.
But Retinol is Okay (Though Not Every Day)
According to Dr. Shereene Idriss, fall season is the perfect time to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine. While retinol is a type of retinoid, the former is a weaker formula and has fewer side effects. It’s also good for dry skin since it’s usually formulated with hydrating ingredients. Also, since fall air isn’t as dry as it will be in winter, this is the perfect time for the skin to adjust to the product.
If you want a gentler formula, you can also try using bakuchiol, which is marketed as “extra-gentle vegan retinol.” Of course, its formulation isn’t even remotely the same as that of a retinol, but it functions the same as the latter.
Yes to Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid helps combat dry skin. It’s that extra layer that keeps your skin from dehydration, which is prevalent during cold months. Just as you layer clothes in fall and winter, so should you layer hydrating skincare products too. Hyaluronic acid-infused serums, sheet masks, and cleansers are a great way to do that, locked in with a heavy moisturizer. New York City-based dermatologist, Dr. Joshua Zeichner likens hyaluronic acid to “a sponge that pulls in water to the skin’s outer layer.” It gets moisture in your skin, but it doesn’t really keep it there.
Switch to Gentle Cleansers
Fall and winter are all about moisture retention. And the best way to keep moisture in your skin is to change your regular cleanser to something more gentle and cream-based, as they don’t strip skin of moisture.
Use Products with Less Active Ingredients
Reducing the use of active agents in your skincare products can help hydrate your skin and lessen its irritation due to dryness. One way to do that is by swapping your toners with something that contains natural ingredients or PHA (polyhydroxy acid). PHA is a less intense chemical exfoliant that brightens and deeply hydrates the skin without stripping it.
Moisturizing is Key (Don’t Forget Your Eyes and Lips!)
While we can use a thinner moisturizer in the daytime, it’s important to switch to a thicker, more hydrating moisturizer during our nighttime skincare routine. According to Dr. Tzu, we have to compensate by adding moisture and retaining it. And don’t forget to give some hydration-love to your eyes and lips too! When shopping for moisturizers, make sure they’re hydrating and non-comedogenic!
Collagen and Vitamin C (and the like) are Your BFFs
The transition of summer to fall also marks the transition of our skin. Fall time is usually when our skin renews and repairs itself from the damages of the summer sun and heat, according to dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban. In order to restore hydration and even out the skin tone while preparing for the dryness our skin will be subjected to once the temperature gets cooler, we can turn to supplements like collagen and vitamin C.
Dermatologists recommend hydrating and coating the skin with oils, serums, and creams infused with collagen, vitamin C, elastin, aloe, and the likes to protect and help repair the skin from environmental damages.
(Story by Assistant Editor, Carmela Valencia)