Ah, summer. The heady, hazy months of long lunches, early morning swims, more Aperol spritzes than you care to think about and a whole lot of time spent burrowed into someone’s sweaty armpit on the commute into work while ruing both your career choices – why am I not a professional surfer? – and your absolute inability to do anything with your humidity hair.
The changing of the seasons is a time to reflect on memories, personal choices (Bubble O’Bills for breakfast, for example, are an excellent life decision) and also your skincare regime.
There’s good reason to do so. A recent study from the British Journal of Dermatology looked into the ways the changing of the seasons impacts filaggrin, a protein that helps to maintain the skin’s barrier function, and corneocytes, the cells in the outermost part of the skin’s epidermis. It also found that cooler weather can have permanent impact on skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.
It’s an idea that Jocelyn Petroni, celebrity facialist (she’s tended to the likes of Miranda Kerr and Megan Gale) agrees with.
“The main factor that will impact the skin is the season, more so than diet, exercise and stress,” says Petroni, adding that she advises her clients to have at least four facials a year, one for each season.
If that’s not a possibility, you need to get serious about oils.
The biggest impact on the skin in the cooler months is dehydration, says Petroni, with the skin producing less natural oil.
Petroni suggests people should look for ways to incorporate more into oil into their skincare regimes such as switching from a foaming cleanser to a milk or oil-based one.
“In cooler weather, what everyone should start to do is switch up their cleanser and moisturiser by adding in products with more oil than what the skin is used to, and start to introduce more oil into the daily routine,” she says.
Heated offices have big impact on drying out the skin, pretty much evaporating the lifeforce out of it (and perhaps also your spirit if you’re in the wrong occupation).
Irene Robinson, the Australian general manager of French skincare company Sisley Paris agrees that “making small changes to your skincare routine” can combat the “havoc” the colder months can wreak on your skin.
Robinson recommends adding a concentrated, hydrating serum into your regime which will help with cell production and keep skin juicy and healthy. Robinson loves Sisley’s Hydra Global Serum, which has ingredients such as essential oils in marjoram, lavender and sage as well as plant-based active ingredients like chestnut. You could also add a night repair serum for some heavylifting while you slumber such as the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex II.
There’s another good reason to think about your skincare regime as the balmy nights turn into slanket-only zones, and that’s undoing the consequences of all that time in the sun.
“Autumn is a great time to repair the skin from summer damage like sun exposure, a lot of people in summer start to get sun damage and congestion,” says Petroni.
To target pigmentation look for products with ingredients such as vitamin C (so, so good for undoing sun and general life damage and targeting fine lines), liquorice extracts and niacinamide, as well as Vitamin E for repairing the skin. In the summer a salicylic acid (such as Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHABHA Liquid) will keep pores unclogged and a lactic acid in the cooler months helps get rid of dull skin and also boost the skin’s hydration levels.
Lowri John, senior dermal therapist at All Saints Clinic agrees that the cooler months are the best time to amp things up a little to undo summer damage by adding in products with retinol for cell turnover and peptides for skin health.
“It is advisable to increase your actives such as Vitamin A or AHAs coming into the cooler months. These ingredients can help to chemically exfoliate dead cuticle build up and strengthen the skin,” she says, adding that it’s worth chatting to a skincare professional about products that will actually work rather than buying products with “minial impact.”
So penance for a summer too, well, summered, needn’t be too daunting. Especially when there’s an electric blanket and a Netflix binge session in your not-too-distant future.
Words by Annie Brown