Originally published on MYSA.
No matter what skin type you have, each season can come with a host of skin concerns. Cold winter months can make your skin dry and flaky but in the summer, your skin looks like an oil slick. What gives? “Whenever the weather changes, your skin will too,” says Kate Somerville, founder of Kate Somerville Skincare and celebrity esthetician. She says the products that work for your skin in the hot and humid summer months just won’t cut it when winter arrives. “It’s important to give your regimen a refresh to adjust with the seasons,” she says. So then how exactly should we be switching up our skin care routine each season? Read on to reveal Somerville’s best skin care routine for fall, winter, spring, and summer.
How do environmental conditions affect your skin?
When skin is exposed to environmental aggressors and climate change, it can cause visible signs of aging, rough, uneven texture, sun damage, and pigmentation issues. It’s really important to replenish skin, while forming a protective barrier against the elements—humidity, wind, heat, cold, dryness, etc.
When exactly should we start changing our routine?
Listen to your skin, it will let you know when you need to change your routine. If you’re starting to feel more dry in the fall, that’s when you should start using a heavier moisturizer.
How do seasonal foods affect your skin?
Your skin really reflects what you put into your body. It’s important to feed your skin by eating a variety of fresh, healthy foods that give the depth of nutrients we need throughout the year. Avoid refined sugar, salt, flour, and grain products, trans and saturated fats, and limit your intake of dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. This can be especially challenging during the holiday season! Hydration is also key, especially during summer. Skin that feels dry and tight from the sun is dehydrated, so it’s all about putting moisture back into the skin. Drink plenty of water and eat water-rich fruits and vegetables. I love starting my day with a green juice or smoothie, incorporate ingredients like aloe juice, celery, spinach, and cucumber.
What’s the best skin care routine for the fall and winter?
The fall and winter is a great time to repair skin and incorporate serious skin care products, like retinols, and exfoliate more frequently. Winter is when you want to do the work, getting rid of the damage done during the summer months. I up all my clients on their usage of retinols and peeling products during winter and have them use a heavier moisturizer. The biggest challenge is dry, dull skin. Dry skin is dead skin cells, so you need to exfoliate, hydrate, and moisturize. People are often wary to exfoliate when they’re dry. Look for a gentle exfoliator, like my ExfoliKate, which exfoliates enzymatically to give you that glow.
What are the best products and ingredients to use in the winter?
Help lift dull, dry skin by exfoliating regularly. After months of sun exposure, skin can appear dull and rough. Polish skin with an exfoliator containing fruit enzymes and round beads. Hydrate skin with a targeted serum that addresses your skin concerns. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid will help bind moisture to skin, improving the look of elasticity, firmness, and texture. Retinol is the absolute most important ingredient you can use in a regimen, if you’re over the age of 30. There are so many benefits—it stimulates collagen, removes environmental damage, aids in wrinkle reduction, helps with breakouts, reduces scarring, minimizes pore size, helps skin texture, etc. During the winter, I recommend my clients use retinol 4 to 5 times per week. My DermalQuench Liquid Lift + Retinol Advanced Resurfacing Treatment is a gentle way to increase retinol usage because it’s hydration coupled with retinol—key for winter! PFC oxygen carriers bring retinol into deep layers of skin where it’s needed without burning the surface.
While an oil-free moisturizer may be ideal during hot summer months, rethink your daily moisturizer to ensure your skin is getting what it needs as temperatures drop. Look for anti-aging peptides and more emollient formulas to keep skin smooth, soft and youthful-looking. And even though you won’t be spending as much time in the sun, don’t slack off on your sunscreen—wear it daily!
What’s the best skin care routine for the spring and summer?
During spring and summer months, your skin care should shift from repair to prevention. Most importantly, wear your sunscreen daily and reapply often! Oily and acne-prone skin types and skin with rosacea or melasma have the most challenges in warm weather. Hot and humid environmental conditions stimulate oil production. Heat causes perspiration, leaving more bacteria on the surface of the skin which can cause acne. Extreme temperatures (warm or cold) can exacerbate rosacea and heat can activate melasma.
What are the best products and ingredients to use in the spring and summer?
At my Skin Health Experts Clinic on Melrose Place, we promote the double cleanse (cleansing twice) to fully remove all dirt, oil, and bacteria from the surface of the skin. Skin can become congested from sweat and humidity, so it’s really important to cleanse effectively and thoroughly in warmer weather, especially if you’re acne-prone. Try a foam cleanser which tends to be slightly drying and in the warmer weather you want something that is going to help control oil.
When applying SPF make sure to also cover your neck, chest, and ears, not just your face. Always use an SPF of at least 30 (I encourage my clients to use SPF 50), apply 30 minutes prior to going into the sun and reapply every 2 hours. Look for an oil-free, lightweight sunscreen.
Lighten up your moisturizers in humid weather. Since the air contains so much moisture, a rich formula will make your skin feel weighed down and sticky. Incorporate a lightweight serum packed with hyaluronic acid to boost skin’s hydration levels and leave skin smooth and glowy. Vitamin C and kojic acid serums are ideal for skin with hyperpigmentation or melasma as they help minimize the appearance of dark spots. Apply your lightweight serums all over face, but avoid your T-zone when applying moisturizer. You produce more oil in your T-zone when it’s hot and humid, so a moisturizer all over can be too heavy.
What about the skin on your body? Should we be changing that skin care routine, as well?
Treat the skin on your body similar to how you treat the skin on your face. A lot of my clients just focus on their face and don’t take as good care of their body. I recommend rolling all of the products used on your face down to the neck and chest and applying a retinol on your chest to promote cellular turnover. Since skin is thinner on the chest, opt for a retinol that’s good for sensitive skin like my RetAsphere Micro Peel. It’s a time-released retinol and moisturizer in one. Apply a quarter sized amount and make sure to exfoliate and wear sunscreen when using retinol. Exfoliate your body (arm, legs, chest, and back) year-round two to three times weekly by dry brushing or with an exfoliator that has AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) or enzymes (like my ExfoliKate). Wear SPF on your neck, chest, arms, and hands daily year-round. In the spring and summer months, make sure to wear SPF daily on any other exposed parts of your body and use a heavier moisturizer during drier and cooler months.