I have literally just started wearing my knee length boots this past week due to the cooler air that October brings. The leaves are all over my driveway in beautiful colours of deep orange, bronze and chocolate brown. Autumn months have crept up and now I can dig out my favourite sweaters and puffa jackets. I haven’t had my pumpkin spice latte yet but have loved the new Covent Garden soup – Spicy Pumpkin!. As the seasons shift, our bodies have to face the elements and adapt to the changes in the environment.
But, what happens to our skin?
The crisp, colder air and wind that comes with autumn will probably make our skin feel dry and more sensitive than normal. We may notice this when our face becomes visibly irritated due to redness or any blotchiness that shows up. Most of us will have dull looking skin with a few dry patches.
Compromised barrier function
The problems get worse if we allow our skin to become too dry, this can result in cracks on our face or lips that are often painful. These cracks and tears in our skin can allow bacteria to enter, which can cause infections. If we allow our protective outside barrier on our face to dry out, it can unfortunately result in eczema in many people, young or old.
All you have to do is prevent the outside layer of your skin from drying out. Just as we are bringing out the scarves, sweaters and boots, don’t forget to invest in some new skincare too.
Check your skincare
Autumn is the perfect time to up our daily skincare routine and make any product swaps or cut anything out. Our skin is battling the cold air and it’s important that we cut out any products that may be making our skin more sensitive.
When you cleanse, is your skin feeling dry and tight? Now is the time to think about swapping your cleanser for a more gentle one. You will want a cleanser that will cleanse your skin without stripping it of its natural oils and also give some hydration at the same time.
Please stop using soap and water!
Soaps absolutely cause skin to become dry and irritated. Most soaps are not pH-balanced and we need to keep our ‘acid mantle’ (protective barrier) intact. The pH scale is from 0 to 14 and 7 is neutral. Now below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. Healthy skin pH is around 5.5, but nearly all soaps have a high pH – sometimes as high as 11. So you can understand that soap can wreck skin by changing its pH, obliterating healthy bacteria, and stripping away vital oils.
We should be in the habit of moisturising our skin morning and night, but it’s even more crucial to do so as the temperature drops. The cold air and wind, as I have already said, is causing skin to become dry and more sensitive and we may find that our summertime moisturiser just doesn’t do the same job now. So we may have to switch to a thicker and creamier formulation to provide our skin with the extra hydration it needs.
Don’t forget about your body
Remember hot showers strip the oil from your skin – so slather on that body lotion after each shower.
My everyday body treat goes like this: I like to massage baby oil onto my skin just before I pop into the shower. Then wash it off and dry myself. I then immediately apply a rich body lotion or cream.
Water is the other key!
Most of us drink plenty of water during the hot summer months but this is a way to keep our whole body hydrated during the autumn months as well. Our body is 60% water and our brain is composed of 73% water. These should be good enough reasons for us to love H2O!!
Large open pores
During the summer, our pores tend to produce more oil. Has that left you with large, open pores? You may then think about going for a professional peel at a salon which would help revive your skin. Alternatively, we could go for products such as a retinol serum or cleansers with glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid. These will help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores and also purge them of any remaining dirt, oil and bacteria.
Have you sustained any pigmentation damage from your summer escapades? If so, take a look at vitamin c and retinol serums.
If we are experiencing dull, lacklustre skin and missing our summer glow, we need to make sure we are exfoliating regularly. Skin slows down now and dead skin cells won’t move easily unless we use a gentle exfoliator. Please only do this step if your skin isn’t red! Also do your exfoliating at night, before you go to bed and always moisturise well after.
Do not ditch the sunscreen!
Just because summer is over, don’t think to ditch the sunscreen! The sun still shines in autumn, it may not be as bright as it was in July, but the UV rays are still strong and can cause damage to our skin if we aren’t prepared. To make it easier, find a daily moisturiser that has a SPF in it.
I would love it if you thought of your sunscreen as a protective barrier that shields your skin from the sun and the elements, keeping you young and healthy!