Transitioning Seasons: The Autumn Skincare Edit
As Summer draws to a close and Autumn is fast approaching, it’s time to consider switching up your skincare products and revamping your routine to ensure that your skin stays healthy during the seasonal change.
A change in season typically means a change in the way skin behaves. Whilst the increase in oil production that tends to happen during the summer months is still occurring, the cooler Autumn air creates layers of dead skin build up, trapping oil and bacteria beneath the surface of the skin, creating the ideal environment for dreaded breakouts!
Whilst skincare in the summer focuses on sun protection and lightweight formulas, Autumn brings with it different priorities and concerns and skin may need a helping hand to remain hydrated and happy.
I’ve put together some top tips to keep your skin in its best condition as we transition into the cooler, wetter months ahead.
Consider changing your cleanser
Whilst gel and milk formulas are great for deep cleansing in the summer, they may not be hydrating enough for the cooler weather that can wreak havoc on your skin. As the cold elements kick in, your typical cleansing routine can start to feel too harsh or abrasive. To counter the drying effects, look for balms or oil-based cleansers to avoid stripping the skin of any moisture. Stay clear of foaming cleansers or those that cause a ‘squeaky clean’ feeling. Tightness, dryness or sensitivity are all signs that your skin isn’t happy. Cleansing balms are brilliant to retain moisture and nourish the skin whilst cleansing. Try Emma Hardie’s Moringa Cleansing Balm or De Mamiel’s Restorative Cleansing Balm If balms aren’t your thing, try a gel to oil formula such as Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, which emulsifies into a milk when splashed with water. Make sure to remove all traces of balms or oil cleaners with a warm, damp wash cloth to ensure no residue is left on the skin.
Water, water, water!
Water is essential to hydrate our body and skin. As the skin is our largest organ, we must ensure we are feeding our cells with enough water for them to perform at their optimum level, preventing dehydration, fine lines and a general lacklustre appearance. The cooler air and drying indoor heating strips our skin of moisture, so it’s important that we replenish it by sipping water throughout the day. If you find water boring, you can always experiment with infused water, adding whatever fruits you like. My favourite combination for glowing skin is lemon, mint and cucumber. You can make a big jug in the evening, let it diffuse in the fridge overnight and decant it into water bottles in the morning, or to diffuse water on the go, grab a diffusing bottle such as the Bevgo Fruit Infuser Water Bottle and sip away!
Invest in a good eye cream
Our eyes are the first to show signs of ageing, due to the delicate and fragile under eye area that is easily damaged. Alcohol, lack of sleep or generally busy schedules can all lead to the dreaded puffy, dark circles that make us actually look as tired as we feel! A good eye cream is therefore key to keep us looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. For collagen stimulation and brightening, look for an eye treatment high in caffeine, such as The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% EGCG. To aid hydration, plump and soothe, look for nutrient and vitamin rich creams such as the Farmacy Beauty Eye Dew. Use half a pea sized amount for both eyes and gently dab it onto your orbital bone using your ring finger to tap it in until it’s fully absorbed. To wake up sleep-deprived eyes in as little as 10 minutes, Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are my ultimate go to for a quick fix or to rejuvenate tired eyes whilst travelling. For those that are pre-disposed to dark circles, fear not – Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer has you covered! Just a few dots blended in under the eye will conceal any trace of fatigue.
There’s a common misconception that with the cooler autumn temperatures, the sun isn’t as harmful. Whilst the sun tan/sunburn causing UVB rays aren’t as strong, UVA rays responsible for causing cancer and premature ageing are just as strong as the peak summer months. Protection is therefore a year round job and SPF every day is non-negotiable. It is only at the ripe old age of 25 that I’ve realised just how essential SPF really is for overall skin health. SPF is paramount to prevent pigmentation and sun spots and premature ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles. This is particularly important if you are using any skin-resurfacing ingredients such as AHA’s, BHA’s or retinol. Whilst SPF in make-up is a bonus, it is not sufficient protection, so think of it more as a booster and be sure to get full coverage with a targeted SPF lotion underneath. Don’t forget to re-apply throughout the day as necessary and always look for a minimum rating of SPF30. My favourites are Elta MD SPF 46 UV Clear, which also comes in a tinted version, or, if like me you’re not keen on the thick texture common with sun cream, Vita Liberata Neroli and Argan SPF 50 Milk is the perfect choice. A light, milky elixir that sinks into the skin beautifully with no white cast in sight!
Autumn is the perfect time to address any sun damage acquired over the summer. Chemical peels are brilliant to rejuvenate the appearance of the skin by removing the top layer of damaged cells, revealing baby soft, glowing skin underneath. Peels are also a fantastic way to deal with various skin concerns such as reducing the appearance of large pores, removing dead skin cells, eliminating blemishes and acne and visibly smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. A course of peels is recommended to achieve best results. For dull skin in need of a pick me up, look for glycolic acid peels. For acneic, oily or sensitive skin, salicylic acid is your go to. For pigmentation and sun damage, look for peels with mandelic acid. To replicate the results at home, use products with a high concentration of acids. My favourite is Sunday Riley’s Good Genes for its unbeatable, almost immediate, glow inducing effects. It can be used as a weekly treatment mask, as a pre-event skin boost or incorporated into routines gradually to tackle uneven texture or tone. Another treatment option is Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel Pads, that combine AHA and BHA in a convenient, travel-friendly pad
Up the moisture!
Autumn in the UK generally signifies cold, wet weather and as such, is the time to upgrade your moisturiser to help protect the skin’s barrier from the colder conditions. Look for moisturisers rich in omegas, ceramides, fatty acids and lipids to hydrate, soothe irritation and seal in moisture. My current favourite is Stratia Liquid Gold but I’m also desperate to try Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum which is chock full of omega fatty acids and ceramides. A great way to customise your moisturiser to suit your skins specific needs is to add a few drops of your favourite face oil for an extra boost of skin plumping ingredients. Try African Botanics Marula oil, a nutrient and antioxidant rich oil to plump and regenerate cells, or pick an oil based on your specific skin concern from Skin Owls fantastic range of beauty drops, including lavender and geranium oil. Another excellent way to inject an additional boost of hydration is to invest in a mist packed full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to top up moisture throughout the day. Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator vitamin mist is perfect for whenever your skin needs a quick hit of hydration and also comes in a smaller 2oz size, which is ideal to keep in your bag, on your desk or to take with you whilst travelling.
Although it may seem strange to exfoliate drier skin as the increased oil production noticeable during the warmer months slows down; exfoliation is actually more important than ever following the months of sweat, chlorine and sun cream over the summer, resulting in clogged pores, breakouts and uneven texture. Exfoliating reduces breakouts by removing dead skin cells that can trap oils and bacteria, and encourages the formation of new skin cells, repairing and brightening the complexion. Dead skin cells can also block moisturisers and treatments from penetrating the lower layers of skin cells that desperately need the hydration, so it’s important to keep on top of gentle skin resurfacing. One thing that’s made the biggest difference to my skin and something I’ll never be without is a good acid toner. Acid toners accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin cells, regulate sebum secretion and keep the skin bright, smooth and clear, improving the efficiency of any products used after it. My Holy Grail acid toner is Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, which comes in four, slightly different versions to suit every skin concern. An excellent alternative that won’t break the bank is Pixi Glow Tonic formulated with 5% glycolic acid for its resurfacing properties and aloe vera and ginseng to calm and soothe or The Ordinary's Glycolic 7% Toning Solution. For those who still love a good manual exfoliation, my favourite weekly exfoliating treatment that really packs a punch is IS Clinicals Tri-Active Exfoliant but start off slowly – brilliant as it is, this is not one for the faint of heart!
Don’t forget your lips!
Colder weather can be particularly harsh on our lips. Chilling wind and dry air from indoor heating all combine to cause cracked, chapped lips. The skin on our lips is thin and delicate, so requires a bit of extra TLC to keep them soft and smooth. Exfoliating with a good lip scrub once or twice a week can help to remove the dead skin cells and allow lip balms and treatments to penetrate more effectively, sealing in some long lasting moisture, nourishing and protecting the lips. DIY lip scrubs are super easy to make by combining half a teaspoon of sugar with a few drops of olive oil. Don’t forget to follow it up with a rich, hydrating lip balm and reapply throughout the day. I’ve recently been using Poppy’s Organic Lip Balms that were kindly gifted to me and I’m in love. My favourite is the tingly cool peppermint but there are 4 other delicious flavours to choose from.
As our skin is constantly changing and adapting to internal and external aggressors, it’s important to do what we can to aid it in its quest to remain healthy. Pay attention to your skin and its changing needs, but be sure to introduce any changes gradually, transitioning smoothly to protect the condition, health and happiness of our complexions.
Here’s to fabulous skin all year round!
Laura H x