As summer disappears, our skin can become less hydrated. ‘If we use a light moisturiser – or none at all – as the weather changes, skin can get chapped and dry,’ warns Dr Justine Hextall, La Roche-Posay consultant dermatologist. But don’t panic: a dry skin-induced confidence blow is easily fixed. First, though, it’s important to know the difference between dehydration and dryness. Dr Hextall explains: ‘Dry skin is a skin type that lacks oils, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water from the top layer.’ How can you tell? ‘Pinch the skin on the back of your hand for a few seconds – if it wrinkles significantly or takes a while to bounce back, it’s likely to be dehydrated.’ For dry skin, opt for soothing, calming oils (sandalwood or lavender), particularly if you have darker skin. ‘There are differences in water loss, water content, ceramide levels and skin reactivity between white, Black and Asian individuals, which may explain why black skin can be more affected by these issues,’ explains Harley Street dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. For dehydrated skin, consider hyaluronic acid. ‘It’s a humectant (moisturising agent) that draws water to the top layer of the skin and can hold 1,000 times its weight in water,’ says Dr Hextall. ‘After cleansing, combine hyaluronic acid and a moisturiser for lasting hydration,’ she adds. Dr Kluk also recommends limiting bath or shower time to five or 10 minutes, and closing the door to lock in humidity. ‘Apply moisturiser as soon as possible afterwards to increase absorption, and use more generously now it’s colder,’ she adds.
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There are many triggers for eczema – and a change in the weather is right up there! ‘Skin can become dry and inflamed, and loses water very quickly,’ says Dr Hextall. So it’s time to rethink everything you put on it. ‘Avoid harsh, soapy washes,’ she says. ‘Use as gentle a cleanser as possible, and apply a layer of moisturiser to your face before taking a shower – shampoo can cause havoc with dry, irritable skin.’ Watch out for products containing perfumes and preservatives, particularly on the face. ‘Look for gentle ingredients such as oatmeal, which will help to soothe the skin, niacinamide to strengthen the skin barrier, and ceramides to provide sustained hydration – ideal for eczema-prone skin.’
Even normal skin types may find their light moisturiser isn’t hitting the spot, as there’s less humidity in autumn, says Dr Kluk. ‘Ingredients like shea butter will help, particularly if your skin is dry or menopausal.’ For a pick-me-up, she recommends a hydrating mist with your regular moisturiser. Replace soaps and foaming cleansers with gentler formulas, particularly if you have sensitive skin. And look out for retinol, a powerful ingredient derived from vitamin A. ‘It helps slow the onset of lines, dark spots and skin sagging,’ says Dr Kluk. Use sparingly, building up frequency gradually. ‘Begin with two or three nights a week and let it sink in for 15 minutes before layering on moisturiser,’ she advises.
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Just what we need as our sun-kissed glow fades – a break-out. But as skin gets more dehydrated with the change of atmosphere, it can over-compensate and produce extra sebum (or oil), which may then result in blocked pores and spots. So what can you do to protect skin and prevent spots? ‘Salicylic acid is a good ingredient for unblocking pores and, at the right concentration, shouldn’t irritate spot-prone skin,’ says Dr Hextall. Retinoids – widely available in many skincare and cosmetic products – can also be useful, especially for anyone with darker skin tones. ‘They can help to suppress pigmentation and scarring,’ she explains. Ensuring you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet is key, too. Even make-up can play a part. ‘The right foundation, which enhances skin and conceals blemishes, will boost confidence,’ she adds. ‘Avoid layering dense, matte products that can sometimes make break-outs look worse, and instead use a light-reflective fluid base that conceals and brightens.’
THE CLEAR-SKIN CHAMPIONS
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo(+) Blemish Treatment (40ml) / Origins Super Spot Remover Gel (10ml) / CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream (177ml) / Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup SPF15 (30ml)
According to Dr Hextall, the two can go hand in hand. ‘Sensitive skin tends to be reactive and intolerant to common irritants, and those with rosacea almost by definition have sensitive skin,’ she explains. ‘With rosacea, certain triggers cause a release of inflammatory chemicals, resulting in various manifestations, including flushing, thread veins and increased skin sensitivity around the nose and cheeks.’ One trigger could be a shift in weather. ‘A sensitive skin barrier that flushes easily can become dry and irritated in a harsh environment, and if it isn’t protected with hydrating skin products, could lead to a condition like rosacea,’ she adds. Choose gentle products with ingredients such as oatmeal or green tea, and look for hyaluronic acid, which is produced naturally by skin to retain moisture. To face the elements with confidence, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30 all year round, as sun exposure is a common trigger for rosacea flare-ups. ‘Up to 40% of UV exposure happens outside the summer months,’ says Boots head of science research Dr Mike Bell.
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If you treat yourself to one thing this autumn, make it topical vitamin C – otherwise known as radiance in a bottle. ‘It normalises the production of melanin and can help fade unwanted pigmentation,’ explains Dr Hextall. Exfoliating regularly will also give your complexion a boost. ‘Use a product containing AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids] and BHAs [beta hydroxy acids] to remove dead skin cells and give a very light peel. If you have sensitive skin, do a gentle exfoliating rub with a clean, warm flannel twice a week instead.’ Cleansing is also key. ‘Hydrated skin glows, as light bounces off it, so choose a nourishing cleanser. If yours leaves skin feeling dry or tight, it’s too strong,’ she warns. Prolong your summer tan with a few customisable tanning drops added to your moisturiser each morning. And for a touch of luminosity, choose a super-hydrating tinted CC cream with light-reflecting particles. You could also try a skin supplement to ensure your skin is getting everything it needs to look as plump as possible.
PIXI Glow Tonic Exfoliating Toner (250ml) / Boots Ingredients Vitamin C Serum (30ml) / IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream Illumination SPF50 (32ml) / Evolution 18 Beauty Glow (60 capsules)
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