It's that time again, when you feel the crinkling leaves under your boots, watch the nights draw in under heaps of cosy blankets, and debate whether it’s too early to have a hot chocolate to your favourite Christmas film. While autumn is a lovely time of year, it does bring some more unwelcome changes with it - especially when it comes to your skin. As the nights get darker, your cheeks may be getting rosier; and as the hot drinks flow, your skin may be becoming less hydrated. But why does this happen, and what can we do about it?
The Science Behind Seasonal Skin
If you notice changes in your skin’s condition as the weather gets colder, don’t panic! You’re definitely not alone. Research has shown that the protein that helps maintain the skin’s barrier - called filaggrin - breaks down during colder seasons. Autumnal air has less moisture, so can be extremely drying on the skin, while harsh winds strip away at the skin barrier. While this can sound like your skin’s worst nightmare, there are some simple changes you can make to your skincare routine that help keep it protected.
Gently Does It
Your skin is subjected to the bitterness of autumn’s climate during the day, so it’s best to treat your skin with gentle products - and that doesn’t mean skipping the exfoliator. Exfoliating your face during the colder months is incredibly important, as it buffs away at the dead skin that prevents more moisturising products from being absorbed. That being said, to protect your skin’s barrier, a gentle approach should be taken. BAO Skincare's Radiance Face Scrub is an excellent choice. It's still a grainy exfoliant but in a creamy cleanser texture and is one of the softest exfoliators we’ve tried, this gentle exfoliator ensures you get the facial scrub you need without punishing your skin.
In terms of cleansing, it’s wise to steer away from foaming cleansers, as these include surfactants - ingredients known to break down the skin’s barrier further and knock pH levels off balance. AD Skin Synergy has a brilliant option for a silky smooth organic cleanser, in the form of their Essential Cleansing Balm. Each ingredient has been carefully selected to keep your skin clean and hydrated, such as beeswax and jojoba and olive oils to support the skin barrier, and restore moisture and balance to the skin. When you are cleansing, remember to remove the product with a warm cloth. Hot water dries the skin out further, while a cloth soaked with comfortably warm water will not only remove dirt, but also protect your skin’s natural oils.
Lock In The Moisture
As the air loses its moisture, it can be argued that it is never more important to moisturise than in the autumn. While lighter organic moisturisers may have been your moisturisers of choice during the summer, it might be time to reach for a richer cream or balm. Cream moisturisers act as another layer on the skin, helping to keep you moisturised for a long period of time. Cream moisturisers don’t have to be super thick either - you can find beautifully rich creams that don’t weigh your skin down. Take Silvan Skincare's Soothe Face Cream for example - a lovely, light organic moisturiser that provides that instant boost of hydration your skin will need after cool autumn days.
For more on how to hydrate your skin, check out our previous blog post we’ve done all about our best moisturising tips!
Deep Treat Your Skin
It's a good idea to give your skin a treat once a week. In autumn our skin is still recovering from the summer season so whilst hydration is a good goal for your deep treatment, you might still want to tackle calming redness, pigmentation and even breakouts caused by having slightly oilier skin during summer. Husk and Seed Skincare's Calm and Soothe Face Mask is the ultimate all-in-one skin treatment; Kelly from the brand explains...
"Our cool and creamy face mask is a modern twist on a traditional clay mask because it won't dry tight (it's an open secret this is my fave of the collection). Hand whisked with blue yarrow, kaolin clay and elderberry seed oil it'll give you a reason to sit quietly for a few minutes and your skin will feel super soft and nourished afterwards"
Don’t Forget to Look After Your Body
Does anything sound more inviting in autumn than a steaming hot bath, surrounded by natural candles and a natural face mask slathered on? It may feel like the pinnacle of self care, but to your body? Not so much. The same way using hot water on your face breaks down the skin’s barrier, hot water from showers or your bath can also be damaging. It upsets the skin’s natural balance of moisture, and strips it of the natural fats and oils that keep the skin healthy. Make sure you restore that moisture with a lovely, hydrating body balm. Not only do products like SoapNskin Skin Deep Lavender and Lime Body Butter leave you feeling outwardly supple (and smelling amazing), it penetrates layers of skin to really take that all-important moisture further. Lavender is also a heaven-sent ingredient for when you’ve just hopped out of a hot bath or shower, as its anti-inflammatory properties help reverse the aggravating effect hot water can have on the skin.
One Thing You Definitely Shouldn’t Change
The SPF sat on your skincare shelf may look a little sorry for itself as we approach colder and rainier days, but it should still be a vital part of your routine. The sun may not be as strong, but its threat to your skin hasn’t gone away. The sun’s UVA rays penetrate the skin’s thickest layer - the dermis - which can contribute to the skin’s ageing, and even the development of skin cancer. So while you may not be holidaying under the sun this season - but, let’s face it, not many of us were in summer either - don’t ignore your SPF. A great SPF is Odylique’s Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, providing that much-needed UVA protection in the most natural way possible.
It’s Not All About The Products - It’s Your Diet Too
The food and drink we consume during autumn can make or break our skin - no matter how much moisturiser we paint on. As we spend more time huddled up inside, we spend less time soaking up what we need from the sun: vitamin B. This hero vitamin is what helps build our skin’s barrier, and can be found in a lot of the food we eat, even on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Traditionally vitamin B is thought to be a meat-eater’s exclusive, but soya milk, mushrooms, orange juice and cereals all contain this highly important substance. If you need a vitamin B boost, Life Armour Nutrition's Drops of Vitality is a fast acting vitamin B supplement.
It can also be easy to reach for the kettle every time we feel thirsty in the cooler months, but the caffeine found in tea and coffee is not our skin’s best friend. Caffeine is a diuretic - meaning it increases the production of urine - so naturally, it will dehydrate us. So perhaps next time you feel the need for a top up, pour yourself a glass of water instead, as hydrating our skin from the inside is equally as fundamental as slapping on the product.
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