Seasons of Love (for your skin)
Yes, that's right! When seasons change, my wardrobe is not the only thing that changes, but so does my skincare routine and products.
Why do I need to change my skincare routine?
The change in seasons affects our skin dramatically. Do you notice that your skin changes when the weather changes? Or your skin starts to have different reactions after using certain products for a while? Our skin likes consistency, especially since our face is the first point of contact with the weather. Our bodies adjust to the change of the climate (wind, heat, rain, etc.), the change of the environment (i.e. changes in the air, such as pollution like the recent forest fire smog in the Summer) and our health. Whether you have normal, combination or dry skin, weather affects us all, and since we can't control the weather, we can control how we adjust our skincare to cope with the changes.
No, I'm not saying have you should have 10 different products for each season, because that is impractical since our skin needs consistency in not just the weather, but also in the products we use, as well, it can become very expensive, and potentially do more harm to your skin than the weather. The main focus is that changing the number of products used and changing the concentration of certain products within your routine, can be useful in helping your skin deal with seasonal changes.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
What is your skin type? I have sensitive and dry skin. If you want to test that, wash your face with cleanser, don't put any product on your face after, just let it dry off on its own, and if your skin feels tightened then you have dry skin. Or If you have an oily T-zone and a dry U-zone (from lower nostril around the chin area), you are also team dry skin. You can seek for professional websites and people to identify your skin type, but do research on trusted sites.
Which season(s) affects your skin the most?
This is different for everyone. Your skin can change from warm to cold or from cold to warm based on your skin biology. The transition from Summer to Fall/Winter can affect your skin by becoming extra sensitive due to the drop in temperature and heavy wind, you skin can get tighter, and in my case I also get dry patches around my lower cheek area. Your T-zone area can get even oilier, which leads to acne. Note: having an oily T-zone doesn't automatically put you into the oily skin category. Your skin will produce oil when your face is dry, to compensate for the lack of hydration on your skin.
When your skin transitions from cold to warm, the exact opposite effects come into play. You might notice the humidity playing with your skin and your skin gets sticky, you sweat more, and you produce more oil which can clog up for your pores.
What products are the most important for your skin? Figure out a routine that works for you and your skin. Cleanse, tone and moisturize are the three most basic steps that you should follow if you don't want to do anything else. Cleansing will 'open' up your pores to get rid of the underlying dirt under your skin that normal make-up remover cannot remove. Especially if you put sunscreen on everyday, you need to use make-up remover and a cleanser because sunscreen is a very thick product and often contains silicone polymers that make it more water resistant and sweat-proof. Next, toner will close your pores and prep your skin for moisturizer. Last, to tie it all up, a good moisturizer will lock up the moisture and keep your face soft and fresh.
A Good Seasonal Skincare
Over the years, I have tested through trial and error, many skincare products and routines and narrowed it down to a 6 to 8 step skincare routine (depending on the weather and AM and PM), which I now do everyday. Your skincare routine, does not have to be elaborate and complicated, nor does it have to be expensive, whatever floats your boat! I use two serums because my skin is very sensitive and dry due to my allergy to dust and pollen and it has been working for me. Note: More steps doesn't necessary mean better skin. It all boils down to what you and your skin is most comfortable with and the nutrients you give it.
Cold Weather Routine
I find that during the change from warm to cold, I need to use my moisturizer in larger amounts or even a change into a thicker moisturizer so that it would lock in the moisture of my skin better when the cold air hits my face. As well, during winters, I take extra care of my face with sheet masks or sleeping masks over clay masks because it's much more moisturizing for my face, as opposed to the clay mask, which tightens my face even more.
On a daily basis, you should avoid using irritating, harsh exfoliants, especially during Winter. These can be physical exfoliants such as scrub tools, loofas, scrubs, large particle exfoliant products that don't melt on the skin but just rubs. Those products are rough for the skin can result in dullness, wrinkles and scrubbing aways healthy skin, which can result in acne. One thing that I occasionally like to when my skin feels extra dry and rough, is to use a light facial oil after my essence (or just after your toner), before my serum and moisturizer. I find that a light drop goes a long way to balancing the texture of my skin. Another option is to use a small drop into your foundation to create an even texture (like a smooth canvas) as you apply your make-up.
Look out for these HYDRATING ingredients:
Hyaluronic acid (the superstar)
Green tea extract
Honey (locks in moisture)
Warm Weather Routine
Usually, during Summer time, my skin is at its peak (when I say peak I mean better than the dry patchy skin). I remember when I was in Singapore for my exchange in January, my skin thrived in the heat once I transitioned from winter brisk to Asia's scorching heat. I prefer humidity because it replenished the moisture that my skin lacked and I remember sweating a lot just from walking outside. Sweating is a good method of "cleansing" not just your body but also your face because you are getting rid of the bad stuff inside of your body, just as you would when you go to the bathroom to relieve yourself. Being active through simple exercises, helps blood cells circulate around your body and nourishes your body from inside out.
However, be careful, because with humidity and heat, it opens up your skin pores and can trap make-up products, sunscreen, and dust particles easily and clog up your skin as compared to Winter time. Your sweat is not clean, if you've ever wiped you arm with a towelette in the summer after wearing a t-shirt, I can guarantee that towelette will not come out clean. So always use make-up remover and then use a cleanser and continue your skincare routine. Again, avoid using harsh exfoliants with fragrance. Bristle brush exfoliators are good for really getting rid of thick dead skin, but silicone ones are far less irritating and harsh for your skin, which can get rid of dead skin that have built up from previous days and allow for the underlying skin to breathe.
Since our skin likes consistency, we should keep some important things in life as consistent as possible:
1) Drinking enough water throughout the day to keep your body stay hydrated
2) Stay active everyday and make sure your sweat, even if it is just small exercises for 15 - 30 mins
3) Sleep the recommended amount of hours to maintain a healthy body clock
4) Make sure your mind is as healthy as your body