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Image of a smiling woman representing seasonal skin

Seasonal skin - concerns, care, and treatments to save it

Written by
Chloë James

Skin is a fickle thing. Just when you think it’s finally in a good place, something comes along to throw your entire complexion off balance. And it doesn’t have to be anything major. The slightest changes in temperature, sleeping patterns, or air conditioning habits can upset the routine you’ve worked so hard to perfect.

Of course, you can’t control the weather – or the seasons that control it. One thing you can control, however, is your routine. Some habits, products or treatments might be staples rain or shine. Others might have fallow periods when they’re just not as necessary. But what do you need to keep skin happy and healthy in summer? And how does the cooler winter affect your routine? Here’s our season-by-season guide, so you can stay one step ahead of your skin – all year long.

Winter

Image of ice cubes on top of each other representing winter

How does my skin change?

Cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels spell a very drying season for skin. When the air lacks moisture, it’ll sap it from anywhere it can – including your skin barrier’s water supply – leaving skin dull and dehydrated.

No skin type is completely safe from winter dehydration. However, it’s inevitably worse for dry skin; it just presents yet another challenge for barriers already impaired by a lack of oil production. Conditions such as eczema or psoriasis are also more likely to flare up in

Weather isn’t the only issue. ‘Tis the season for late nights and hot showers, both of which also dehydrate skin. And while a lot of people think acne is worse in the summer, this toll on your skin barrier means breakouts are more frequent in winter – not to mention tougher to treat.

How do I look after my skin?

Focus on moisture

It’s a year-round staple, but moisturiser is your best friend in winter – especially if it’s rich in glycerine, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. These will nourish and restore your skin barrier. For maximum impact, apply it to wet skin. If you usually rely on salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to fight acne, avoid drying out skin further by opting for products with lower concentrations.

Reconsider retinoids

Retinoids can transform your skin, but also go hand in hand with dryness. If this is something you’re already prone to you may want to reduce usage over winter or put any plans to start using them on hold.

Nourish the skin barrier

For an extra dose of hydration, mesotherapy can be used to top-up the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in your mesoderm (AKA the middle layer of skin). You’ll need up to six sessions to get the full impact, but you should see a healthier-looking complexion three weeks after your first appointment. Phototherapy treats the skin barrier at a cellular level, strengthening it against the cold over the course of six to eight sessions.

With the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid on the market, Profhilo acts as a magnet for water. It usually takes two sessions to get your final results and be fully armed against dry weather, but results can last through to next winter. And to treat both your barrier and breakouts, the multiple steps of a HydraFacial cover everything from deep cleansing to hydration. Results are pretty much immediate, but you’ll need to go back every month to keep them up.

Spring

Image of a smiling woman representing seasonal skin

How does my skin change?

Spring is nature’s humidifier, gradually increasing the amount of moisture in the air to counteract the damage done in winter. Like any change in season though, it can still trigger automatic responses to a new environment such as peeling or a sudden onset of oiliness.

With the weather getting warmer – but not yet boiling – some experts consider spring sun to be even more dangerous than the summer. There are less clouds, so fewer obstacles between UV rays and your skin. But, without the record temperatures to remind us, we slack on SPF.

How do I look after my skin?

Switch to lighter products

Your wardrobe’s getting lighter, and so should your skincare. Thinner, gel-like consistencies are ideal for preventing breakouts in warmer temperatures. If your skin is still irritated from the winter, look for products containing anti-inflammatories such as niacinamide, vitamin C, or aloe vera.

Ramp up the retinoids

Good news for anyone who delayed their retinoid plans over the winter. Warmer weather means less dryness, so this is the ideal time to introduce it into your routine or amp up usage if you previously cut down. Just be sure to layer on even more SPF than usual.

Exfoliate away winter

You can use chemical or physical exfoliants at home to start sloughing away the remains of winter’s flaky, dull skin. Alternatively, you can take a more powerful approach with microdermabrasion or chemical peels, which use either abrasive crystals or a light layer of acid to reveal the newer, fresher skin underneath.

Summer

Image of three ice cream cones representing summer season

How does my skin change?

The hottest time of year has a huge impact on your skin. Heat and humidity can radically alter the function of your skin barrier, leading to more water loss and increased sebum production. Translated, this means you’ll probably find yourself oilier and sweatier than usual.

When temperatures soar outside, they usually plummet indoors. Air conditioning is a saviour in terms of comfort, but it’s a moisture-sapping menace when it comes to skin, again contributing to dehydration. And when temperatures are extreme, it’s not unusual to spend most of your time inside, robbing you of vitamin D, which can – yet again – cause dryness.

Of course, the most pressing issue is sunburn. The sun’s summer strength makes it alarmingly easy to fall victim to UV damage. This puts your skin at risk of skin cancers such as melanoma (which can develop years after you were first left red and peeling on the beach). In the short term, this damage can lead to dark spots and stubborn hyperpigmentation.

How do I look after my skin?

Be sun savvy

Everyone needs to wear SPF all year round (yes, even when it’s cloudy) but it’s especially important to stay on top of it in summer. Because they encourage cell renewal, retinol and actives make skin more susceptible to sun damage than ever. There’s no need to ditch them for the season – just make sure you’re only using them at night to avoid over-sensitising skin.

Adjust your routine

It might be oily or sweaty, but you still need to moisturise your skin – otherwise, it’ll just overproduce oils to compensate. Easing off heavy makeup is a good idea for any skin type in summer, as is a gentle cleanser containing ingredients to prevent water loss. Supplements can also help counteract the lack of vitamin D.

Lock in water

Speaking of water loss, strengthening the skin barrier so it retains more water is as important in summer as it is winter. The only difference is that your skin is already at more risk of UV damage, so you may prefer to opt for treatments such as mesotherapy or Profhilo that don’t increase it further.

Autumn

Image of apples representing autumn

How does my skin change?

Goodbye summer glow. As temperatures start to drop, so does the rate at which our skin cells shed. Left untreated, this can make skin look drier, rougher, and duller.

One of the things skin does carry over from summer, however, is hyperpigmentation. Any dark spots or post-inflammatory marks created or aggravated by the sun can stick around through autumn and beyond.

How do I look after my skin?

Introduce vitamin C

While vitamin C is a solid addition to your skincare routine at any time of year, this antioxidant is hugely beneficial once the weather gets cooler. As it helps your skin repair damaged cells, it can keep it looking vibrant as turnover decreases. It’s also a handy tool for fighting hyperpigmentation. Speaking of which…

Treat hyperpigmentation

Even if autumn is still warm, fewer sunlight hours make it the ideal time for treatments targeting the hyperpigmentation left behind by summer. To encourage cell turnover – and speed up the healing process – a series of light chemical peels is again a great option. You can also try laser, which specifically targets each individual mark, reducing the risk of scarring for those with darker skin tones.

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