• Michelle Saulters

5 Tips for a Seasonal Skincare Transition

Gone are the days of high-humidity and sun-filled afternoons.

Here comes that in-between season where the days are cut short and the air becomes cool and dry. Those cute, open-toed wedges you just got last month won't cut it... but it's not quite time to pull out that trendy new winter coat either. A change of season typically means a change in wardrobe. Right? While you're phasing out your summer clothes for your fall/winter clothes, you should be phasing out your summer skincare routine for your fall/winter skincare routine. Yes - as seasons change, our skin is very susceptible to it, and will experience some changes, too. If you continue to treat your face like you do during the summertime, your dry, flaky, splotchy, and possibly broken out skin will be begging for your help during those ever-so-loved polar vortex months. (gasp)

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying you need to completely overhaul your skincare routine. Considering adding some minor adjustments to you skin regiment now will only save your skin later on. Here are 5 easy tips on how to maintain your skin's healthy appearance through winter:

1. Swap Your Cleanser

You might be robbing your skin of the moisture it needs!

During the summer months, we're outside more, sweating more, lathering on the SPF...all things that will lead to a greasy appearance. During the colder, dry winter months, we're struggling to make that "summer glow" last. You can blame yourself for that. Literally - our skin produces significantly less sebum during winter. (sebum is that stuff that makes your face look greasy) While it's common to use a powerful cleanser (usually gel or foam based) to tone down that "greasy" look, this is essentially robbing our skin of the moisture needed to get through winter. This is why we switch out our cleansers people! Switching to a lighter, less invasive cleanser will help prevent more loss of moisture. You might want to check out a creamy cleanser, which is ideal for dry winters. Foaming/gel cleansers are common for summer when we need a good deep cleaning of all the sweat, dirt, and SPF buildup. Creamy cleansers are nourishing, which can help restore the moisture your skin is craving while keeping it fresh and clean. Here's what I use (I have sensitive, break-out prone skin):

Cera Ve Hydrating Facial Cleanser

2. Update Your Moisturizer

Moisturizing your summer skin vs. winter skin is totally different.

Since summer is obviously a warmer climate, it's best to use a lightweight moisturizer to avoid clogging pores. Now that those cold, windy days with blasting heaters are quickly approaching, your skin is going to crave moisture & hydration more than ever. This is why we opt for a thicker, heavier moisturizing cream during the winter. Look for a moisturizer with ceramides to help replenish moisture loss. If you have oily skin, stick with an oil-free moisturizer for your morning routine and consider adding a moisturizer with light, beneficial lipid-rich oils to your evening routine. Some key ingredients to look for are:

  1. Ceramides are natural fats found in the skin that reinforce it's moisture barrier for an immediate glow

  2. Hyaluronic Acid for fine lines, but make sure it's listed at the top of the ingredient list to actually see it's benefits

  3. Glycerin which is basically sucks moisture in from the outside, so it's best applied post-shower when skin is still wet

  4. Urea it sounds gross but it's essentially a moisturizer and an exfoliant

  5. Lactic Acid is also an exfoliant and a moisturizer

  6. Petrolatum basically traps moisture onto your skin (in a good way)

What I use: The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Hyaluronic Acid

3. E x f o l i a t e

Exfoliation is key - but in moderation!

A big misconception about exfoliating is that you should do it more during winter months to get rid of unwanted dry skin. While the idea of this might sound logical... exfoliating too much or too often can actually strip away the natural oils of your skin causing irritated, red, and an even drier appearance. Over exfoliation can actually haunt you later in life, too, due to the outermost lipid barrier becoming damaged. (Hello broken blood vessels, thinning of the skin, the dreaded "w" word...wrinkles) It's recommended to exfoliate once a week, or twice a week MAX - whether it be a chemical, mineral, or physical exfoliant. I already have sensitive skin, so I exfoliate no more than two times a week with two different products. Here's what I use:

Kate Somerville ExfoliKate treatment - a physical exfoliant with lactic acid & fruit enzymes


Mineral Enzyme Exfoliant by Cosmedica Skincare - combo of natural enzymes & antioxidants

4. Rethink a Retinol

Retinol is the most scientifically proven skincare ingredient.

Whether it's a non-prescription retinol serum, or a prescription retinoid... it's time to add it into your skincare routine. Both retinol and retinoid drastically help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, acne shadows, etc. They've been scientifically proven (on multiple occasions) to smooth the skin's texture by increasing the thickness of our skin cells, and increasing our collagen production. Scientifically speaking, retinol and retinoids are the same thing that perform the same function. One dosage is higher than the other, so you'll see results quicker with one over the other. It also depends on your skin's reaction to it. People with sensitive skin should (obviously) always go with the lower non-prescription dosage to avoid any unwanted dryness or irritation. The one that I use is:

Sunday Riley LUNA Sleeping Oil

with Blue Tansy and Retinol

5. Boost Your Toner

I'm about to tell you my secret to glowing skin...

If you don't already use a toner, you should definitely consider adding one to your skincare regimen. Toners are basically palette cleansers for your face. After you cleanse your skin, applying a toner helps clear away any leftover dead skin cells while bringing your skin back to its natural acidic state. One of my skincare secrets is something called Essence. Maybe you heard of it - but it's been a major component of Korean Skincare for decades...and it's just now making its debut in the U.S. skincare market. Essence is my "toner booster" that I never knew I needed. Toners and essences look and feel the exact same - but honestly, essences should have a category of their own. An essence is essentially a highly concentrated moisturizer that serves as a vehicle for transporting skincare ingredient to the inner dermis layers. Essence should always be applied after your toner. It's main ingredients, humectants and emollients, help prep your skin by providing your pores with a "sponge like" surface, which helps absorb active ingredients in the skincare steps that would typically come after this. Speaking in makeup terms, an essence is to skincare as primer is to makeup. Essences are known for providing some serious hydration. That naturally dewy look we're always looking for? Try adding an essence to your skincare routine. You'll thank me later. This is the one I use now:

Missha Time Revolution Essence

My last tip, is to just listen to your skin. If you think you're missing something, or if you think your skin is missing something, it probably is. Seasonal skin changes are inevitable, but these few tips above might be able to help you out... plus a couple of hydrating sheet masks could never hurt ;) Thanks for reading!


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