In the UK, sometimes it can feel like one long season instead of four. But that doesn’t stop you from reinventing your wardrobe every season, does it?
No, just as you pack away your shorts and swimsuits when summer is over, there are skincare products that need switching up too. Autumn weather requires tweaks to ensure your skin gets the nutrients and hydration it needs to maintain your summer skin long after the sun has retired.
As the climate cools, your skin cell turnover slows, which means more dead skin and dullness. You might find you’re breaking out more often or getting dry, flaky patches where before you had none.
But there are small changes that are simple to make and effective at keeping your skin in check year-round.
1. Switch to a Moisturising Cleanser
Your cleanser was probably carefully selected to cater to your skin type, right? Well, whether you’re sensitive, dry, oily or combination, adding a little more moisture into your routine can make all the difference come autumn.
As the weather turns, many of us crank up the central heating without giving a moment’s thought to our skin. But since indoor heating dries out the air around you, sucking all the moisture out of it and your skin, you need to find new ways to keep it locked in.
If you normally use a scrub or a foaming cleanser, try to find products with an oil-based or creamier formula. Even if you’re naturally oily, you’ll produce less sebum as it gets colder, and abrasive cleansers can quickly strip the sebum you do have away.
Keep that balance in check with a moisturising formula that’s just as effective at cleansing, without drying out your skin.
2. Exfoliate Regularly
When autumn hits, there are all kinds of bodily functions that slow down in preparation for the cooler weather. One of those is your skin cell turnover, which decreases considerably as it gets cold. This leaves you with more dead skin cells on the surface, clogging up pores, causing breakouts and generally being a nuisance.
To prevent your skin from growing dull and acne-ridden, add in one extra day of exfoliating each week to compensate. Preferably with a chemical exfoliant, but if you prefer something physical, try to choose natural exfoliants that include nourishing ingredients too.
3. Choose Gentler Retinols & Acids
Though it’s important to keep on with your exfoliating, many people find that their skin is more sensitive in autumn. This is when you need to recognise that the strength of your acids and retinoids might be worsening the situation, causing redness and irritation where before it was fine.
If this sounds like your skin, then try to drop to a gentler AHA that doesn’t leave your skin feeling tight or flaky. Mandelic acid is your best bet for this; not only is it gentle and effective, it’s also a clever chemical for helping hide summer pigmentation and sun spots.
4. Consider Adding Oils to Your Routine
If you’ve got oily skin, you’re probably already dismissing this one as not for you, right? Wrong.
The natural balance of moisture in your skin is frequently disrupted during the colder months as you’re regularly in and out of heated areas like homes, the office, the bus or cars. For most people, it’s a case of cranking up the heating, stepping out into the cold, then repeating the cycle.
To keep the skin nourished throughout, opt for an oil that helps your skin to retain its moisture. One with plenty of ingredients that feed your skin. Even better, look for oils that multitask, clarify or plump the skin for added benefits.
5. Add Some Vitamin C
You already know that vitamin C is exactly what you need to get brighter, clearer and glowing skin. But did you know it also helps to stimulate collagen production, which then helps your skin to hold in hydration, which then protects it from the elements?
That’s exactly why it’s so important to work vitamin C into your skincare routine when the weather gets colder. It’s one of the best ways to combat the constant in-and-out nature of autumnal/winter life that can wreak such havoc.
Dry indoor heating one minute and autumn rain the next, your skin is prone to metaphorical whiplash, and a little vitamin C can help to reverse this damage. And of course, might also help you hang on to your summer glow a bit longer.
6. Amp Up the Moisturiser
We’d be willing to bet that no one in the history of skincare has found cold weather a hydrating experience. Not one.
Chapped lips, cracked hands, flaky patches – they’re all par for the course. So it’s a great time to add in some extra moisture where you can. How you do it, well, that’s up to you.
A hydrating mask once a week is a relaxing, pampering option. Or if you don’t have the time (or inclination), take it one step beyond your lightweight summer moisturiser. Choose moisturisers that contain ceramides to help restore the skin’s natural barrier, and thicker, creamier formulas.
Your skin will need extra hydration as the temperature drops. Trust us, it’s much better to get ahead than try to repair the damage later.
7. Don’t Forget Your SPF
Yes, yes, we know you’ve heard it. But cloudy weather (and even rain) doesn’t mean you can skip the SPF.
You might be wrapping up and exposing less skin, but anything that’s exposed still needs protecting. UV rays can penetrate clouds and windows alike, remember. You should apply sunscreen daily (and top up regularly too) on any part of your body that’s visible. Face, neck, ears, hands – the lot.
8. Calm Redness
The extra dryness that many people experience with their skin in winter can also lead to increased sensitivity and redness.
No one likes the windburned look, so take care to prevent redness and extra irritation this autumn by selecting products with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Natural products that contain oatmeal, mushroom, green tea and camomile are all handy if you prefer the English Rose complexion to an aspiring Ronald McDonald.