Glowing skin can be quickly undermined by changes in the season, which require many individuals to change up their skin care routines, as well.
Right now, in most parts of the country, it is winter. And not just any winter. This year, many across the nation have been blessed with what has been called a polar vortex, with temperatures dipping as far as 40 below zero. It’s the kind of weather where a St. Paul weatherman was able to turn raw eggs into marbles that didn’t crack when he dropped them.
Winters like this, with a bracing wind chill and ice shards in the air, wreak havoc on the skin, leaving it parched, irritated, tight, and dull. Add heat to the mix—whether it’s wood heat, oil heat, or electric heat—and the dry air will leave your skin feeling even more parched.
Summer’s overbearing heat, which can cause the skin to sweat so much that pores become clogged by makeup that swiftly melts away, is not much better. All in all, the four seasons—as well as the changes in between—can be cruel to delicate skin.
Woe Is Winter Skin
The New Year kicks off in winter, and although individuals begin with the best of intentions, making resolutions to improve themselves and their lives, suddenly, you might look in the mirror and see a face full of dry skin peering back. Sure, some time spent out in the wind and cold leaves people with a rosy glow, but once that glow fades, dull, dehydrated skin is left behind.
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If you’re using the same skin care routine that you use the rest of the year, winter is the time to switch it up.
Winter calls for creamy cleansers, not the foaming ones that can leave skin dry and tight, Santa Monica-based dermatologist Christine Choi Kim told Reader’s Digest magazine.1
Apply with your fingers—not a washcloth—because scrubbing just lifts away much-needed natural oils. Instead of lightweight lotions that you may use in summer, use creams. To moisturize your body, adding a spritz of body oil into your skin cream when your skin is still wet from a lukewarm shower (hot showers, no matter how tempting, dry skin out even more) can capture moisture, adding welcome hydration.
A serum is a good option for adding extra moisture and nutrients. Try adding a few drops of a hydrating essential oil to your evening moisturizer so your skin can take in the antioxidants the essential oils provide.
And don’t forget the sunscreen. “Your face is still exposed in the wintertime, and the sun will still cause damage,” Dr. Chris Adigun of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City reminded in an interview with Health magazine.
When it comes to makeup, go bold in winter. The snow and cold make a bright backdrop for wine-colored lipsticks, heavily saturated eye shadows, and black mascara. Use a rich liquid foundation to protect your skin from toxins, but make sure to remove everything at the end of the night before cleansing and moisturizing.
Dry skin also calls for ultra-moisturizing essential oils, such as lavender, rosewood, and almond. Each helps create a barrier layer on the surface of the skin, locking in moisture and preventing cold air from zapping your skin of moisture.
Suddenly, It’s Spring—or Is It?
Spring is a heady mix of warm days intermingled with blasts of cold, making it tricky to determine if you should stick with your winter routine or ditch it for your summer regimen. Experts say neither.
After a long winter of pampering parched skin, spring is the time to slough away dead surface cells to reveal new cells, just as vibrant as those first blades of grass. “Light micro-dermabrasion, followed by a moisturizing mask, will help get rid of that old dead, winter skin,” Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Ava Shamban told Allure magazine.2
While spring calls for lighter products, those cold days that are often interspersed between warm ones as the weather patterns struggle to make up their minds require some extra moisture now and again. While sunscreen is important to wear every day—that means even on the gray days of winter when you think there’s not a chance that a ray of sun might come close to touching your face—with the arrival of spring, switching between lightweight and richer moisturizers can help keep the glow you achieved during winter going strong come spring. When spring officially arrives, use an oil-free moisturizer to avoid clogged pores.
While winter allowed for deep, rich wines, metallics, and richly hued shadow, spring calls for lighter shades with a more natural look to your makeup. Instead of foundation, try a tinted moisturizer or a mineral powder (which will keep environmental toxins from entering your pores and damaging skin proteins) instead. 3
Spring calls for essential oils that wake up the senses, such as lavender, lemon, Roman chamomile, lemongrass, peppermint, thyme, and eucalyptus.
Summer in the Sun
While sunscreen is the most important skincare product you can use this season— a moisturizer with SPF and a sunscreen combined will keep you protected—finding the right skin routine can be tricky during the hottest months of the year.
When the sun comes out, if you don’t wear shades, an eye cream is a must to help prevent wrinkles from squinting from settling in. Use a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer, and an antioxidant spritz to keep skin feeling cool, refreshed, and primed to take on toxins.
Exercise tends to cause makeup meltdowns, so keeping your routine simple, with a lip stain that stays in place, a liner that is casually smudged and light, airy products that don’t settle into creases or melt away completely. A bronzy blush for evenings out and a metallic shadow will keep you looking dewy and refreshed, no matter how high the temperature soars.
The essential oils of summer are cooling, floral, herbaceous, and light, reminiscent of a beach breeze or a stroll through an herb garden. Some lovely options for facial care include lavender, chamomile, and calendula, each of which will provide lightweight moisture and an appealing aroma, as well.
Oils to keep on hand include tea tree for blemishes, calendula to soothe bug bites, sandalwood or peppermint to cool skin on hot days, diluted with a lightweight oil such as sunflower or sweet almond, and patchouli to bring to mind long summer days at the beach.
Fall, a Color-Filled Season
While the allure of pumpkins, changing leaves, and harvest season can be enticing, don’t forget that summer’s transition to fall is also a seasonal change that can wreak havoc on skin. Summer’s heat changes to breezy fall days with a chill in the air and lightweight moisturizers no longer keep skin properly hydrated.
As the temperatures drop, the first step is an exfoliating treatment that lifts away the dead skin cells of summer that accumulate with hot days and steamier nights. Both spring and fall are good times for a professional treatment that safely reveals vibrant new skin.
It’s also time to make the switch from oil-free moisturizer to a richer product that will help protect skin in the wind, rain, or early snowfall. Again, sunscreen is still necessary, especially on those days when you take a walking tour to check out the changing colors of the leaves.
The fall is a good time to being to transition to darker colors. Wine lipstick and eyeshadow, darker liner and mascara, and a sweep of burgundy blush can give you a fresh and vibrant seasonal look. Mineral makeup will create a protective layer on the surface of the skin that will keep toxins from attacking delicate skin cells.
Fall is harvest season, so essential oils that celebrate the harvest such as rosemary, thyme, ginger, and florals can be used along with a carrier oil such jojoba. For aromatherapy, evergreen scents and other autumnal scents such as cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are also great options, and each blends well with citrus for seasonal aromas that pop.
Ultimately, the most important aspect of skincare is keeping skin hydrated and moist, which protects against signs of aging and allows vibrancy and radiance to shine through.
PhotoCredits: AntonioGuillem/shutterstock.com, Maridav/shutterstock.com, FotoDuets/shutterstock.com