As the days start to get shorter and the weather finally becomes brisker, thus signifying fall's return, you may begin to notice some not-so-fun changes in your skin. They might be similar to the symptoms that can arise when winter turns to spring, and when summer is nigh. For instance, your skin might feel tight or appear drier than usual, or if you're acne-prone, maybe your pimples are more inflamed than ever. According to dermatologists, these adverse changes in your skin can more than likely be attributed to the transition of seasons.
While there's nothing you can do about seasonal shifts (aside from moving somewhere with a milder climate), that doesn't mean your skin has to suffer the consequences. Allure spoke with several dermatologists who revealed why skin tends to freak out during these phases, as well as what measures you can take to ensure your complexion stays in tip-top shape. Follow their advice and you'll be one step closer to having happy skin — no matter what season it is.
Why (and how) does your skin change from season to season?
From warm to cold weather:
Put simply: The skin likes consistency, so when factors, like weather, change on a dime, it's like a shock to the system. "Rapid fluctuations in weather can take its toll on our skin as it adjusts to the new environment," explains New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. "For example, as we shift from summer to fall, temperature and humidity will drop quickly, so the skin will have to work harder to maintain adequate hydration as cold weather and wind start to kick in."
Zeichner says this can lead to cracks in the outer skin layer, loss of hydration, and inflammation — all of which can seriously impact the overall state of your skin health.
Dermatologist and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, Sejal Shah, adds that these symptoms occur because the skin barrier becomes disrupted during this period, making it more susceptible to inflammation and irritation.
It's not the temperature alone that causes these skin woes, either. Shari Marchbein, a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, says it's the sudden switch in weather, coupled with subsequent lifestyle changes people make as it gets cooler, such as taking hot showers and using central heat in homes, that contributes to the aforementioned dryness and inflammation associated with this transitional period.
From cold to warm weather:
On the flip side, as the weather gets warmer and humidity is heightened, the skin has to adapt yet again: "As skin starts to adjust to warm or hot weather and humid air, this often means feeling greasy and heavy as more oil gets trapped on the surface of the skin," says Zeichner. "It's essentially the exact opposite of what occurs from summer to fall or fall to winter."
Bottom line: If the seasons are transitioning and you notice your skin is taking a turn for the worse, make an appointment with your dermatologist, as they can recommend specific products or treatments that will help your skin regulate itself and get back to a harmonious state.
How can you take care of your skin during these seasonal transitions?
There are a few things you can do. For starters, during the evolution from summer to fall, and fall to winter, which is when humidity is much lower, Marchbein highly recommends limiting showers to no more than five minutes and avoiding hot water at all costs. She also recommends using a gentle, nourishing body wash like Dove's Deep Moisture and following up with a thicker cream than you would use during the summer months.
"Apply moisturizer within 60 seconds of coming out of the shower and look for ingredients like glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid," she adds. The same can be applied to your complexion care, too.
Additionally, Zeichner suggests implementing a hydrating serum into your regimen, such as the Clarins Double Serum, which contains soothing turmeric, squalane, and avocado oil. He also says you should never skip out on moisturizer (like some might in the summer when the skin is producing more sebum), and emphasizes the importance of using a creamy cleanser during the cooler months.
In the hot and humid months, however, Zeichner suggests switching to an oil-removing cleanser to help control excess sebum. "If you feel that you need a deeper clean, look for products that contain salicylic acid, like in a light moisturizer, lotion or a gel," he adds. "And, of course, be extra diligent using your sunscreen." (Here are 22 excellent moisturizers that fight oil and won't clog your skin.)
All of this to say, while the weather is uncontrollable, skin health is not. Pay attention to the state of your skin and switch up your routine as the seasons change. If you're noticing persistent concerns, visit your dermatologist to determine a plan of action together.
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