*Always* Get Breakouts In Winter? This Is Why And What To Do About It

Ever find your summer skin care doesn't cut it once the nights draw in? Vicki Notaro asked the experts for advice.

The past couple of years, I’ve been taking my skin care seriously. I have to, I’m the wrong side of thirty. However, one thing always confounds me, and that’s how to alter my skin care with the seasons. Firstly, do I even need to? In my mind I do, because skin naturally feels a little drier in the winter months thanks to icy winds, and oilier in the summer thanks to sweaty Betty syndrome.

And it turns out I’m right. Jennifer Rock, AKA The Skin Nerd, says “In Ireland, where we can experience three seasons in a day, it is fair to say the weather does affect not only our psyche and wardrobe but also our skin. In cold weather, we tend to love our central heating, which sucks moisture out of the air. This affects the skin as it typically draws moisture from the atmosphere it is exposed to. So in colder weather we tend to look for more care from our skincare regime: masks, creams, sheet masks, hyaluronic acid products and barrier creams.”

Rethink your rich cream

However, Jennifer is quick to point out that automatically reaching for richer creams isn’t always the best idea, particularly when most Irish people under 40 have oily or combination skin.

“I am not a fan of rich creams in general – regardless of having oily or dry skin! I personally opt for serums as their lightweight texture ensure they penetrate into the lower layers, which serves a more useful purpose. In fact, if the skin is functioning optimally you will not need a moisturiser as the skin will and should be able to create its own oil and hydration factors. Psychologically, people love the feel of the cream as it’s comforting – but remember that a thick cream is not feeding it, just protecting it.”
Still, there are some people with skin conditions that need more hydration or calming. “I know that atopic dry skin and eczema sufferers are now screaming at this article; if it is a medical condition, then yes of course, it is a separate situation indeed. The same applies to those that are outdoors frequently. These people need a barrier cream to protect skin from the hard elements. Otherwise, however, layering serums will be of more use to you and your skin.”

Don’t over-scrub

And don’t go overboard on the scrubbing, either. It can be tempting to want to shed all your dead, flaky skin, but go easy. “Many people over-exfoliate in the winter with a view to sloughing off the dead skin cells and lacklustre look,” says Jennifer. “But in fact, reducing the granular exfoliation, upping the Vitamin A game, and introducing acids such as lactic will be kinder to the skin. Gritty scrubs do not encourage the skin to work itself out, while an acid will.”

Change your eating habits

So what should we be buying then, in order to supplement or rejuvenate our autumn skin care stash? First things first, Jennifer says she’s more likely to alter her diet than her topical products. “I tend to change my diet more than my skincare to ensure my skin gets the nutrients it needs, increasing fish, omegas, nuts seeds and oils, as this is vital to give the internal skin the tools to lock the moisture in, otherwise we are slapping it on top and not sealing it in.”

She also recommends looking out for vitamin-infused skin care to make sure skin is getting the nourishment it needs.

Give plant oils a go

Corrine Morley, Trilogy’s global beauty expert, says that pure plant oils nourish and hydrate the skin without clogging pores or causing an excess of oil – many women can be reluctant to put oil on oily skin, but it’s proven to work wonders. “If you haven’t started using a beauty oil yet, change of season is a great time to start, or if you are already an oil lover (who isn’t?!) try something new for the autumn /winter. Many of the oils extracted from seeds, nuts and fruit are beneficial and completely compatible with the skin; they deeply nourish and hydrate, while providing a protective yet invisible barrier which helps prevent moisture loss and guards against the drying effects of the environment.  Natural oils have been used to care for skin for thousands of years and I believe they’ll remain the hero ingredient in top quality natural beauty products.”

This article first appeared in STELLAR’s September issue. Our October issue is on shelves now for €1.95! Wanna subscribe? Click here!  

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