Skin is dynamic and ever-changing. Instead of boxing ourselves into a “skin type,” I suggest recognizing that it can vary, even over the course of a single day, ranging from excessively oily to overly dry. It’s important to pay attention to how we nourish, protect, and treat our skin to guide it through these natural shifts. Elements beyond our control, like the change in seasons, can also affect what skin needs. Keeping up with it can seem daunting, but the trick is going with the flow.
Autumn draws us indoors, allowing us to “fall into” ourselves, taking time to recover, rebuild, restore, reassess, and regroup. I like to think of autumn as our time to revisit, as summer can be a time of letting go and being free. This rebalancing can help prevent “fallouts,” such as stress, depression, anxiety, doubt, and unhealthy skin. Skin needs this time of restoration, too. Less outdoor time gives us more time to care for ourselves, and to observe what I like to call “Me Time = Mindful Time.”
As the weather shifts, so do our routines. That can include such things as taking more baths, using hotter water, spending more time inside, drinking less water, and connecting less with friends, all of which can impact skin. Keep on top of skin’s seasonal changes with these simple tips and tricks.
1. Hot water can be damaging to skin, so try to keep your baths and showers warm instead.
2. Wind, rain, and cold can be harsh on skin. Double up and protect. Try using oil-based moisturizer and sealing it on with a face cream. This doubled-up duo provides more protection against the elements.
3. Humid fall weather can increase breakouts. Look for an oil-based moisturizer, such as Sumbody’s Rebel Serum, that will help restore and balance sebum. Also look for bacteria-fighting actives, like oregano oil, tamanu oil, or usnea lichen.
4. Don’t be fooled by cloudy days. Just because you don’t see the sun doesn’t mean its rays can’t still damage skin. Keep wearing sunscreen.
5. Hats, turtlenecks, and scarves can cause breakouts if not laundered regularly. If you have oily and acne-prone skin, wash these cold-weather accessories after each wear.
6. Heaters and dry climates can dehydrate skin (yes, even oily complexions). Dehydration can cause everything from signs of aging to redness to clogged pores and breakouts. Continue to drink plenty of fluids. Adding skin-loving herbal teas such as rooibos, licorice, turmeric, lemon, rosehip, chamomile, and marshmallow root is a great way to keep sipping through colder weather. Use the double-up moisturizer method (above) for face, and thicker butters and lotions for the neck-down.
7. Look for non-pore-clogging ingredients that lock in moisture and nutrients, such as squalene, amaranth oil, olive oil, hyaluronic acid, honey, and goat milk. Eat foods high in essential fatty acids, such as avocados, walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower, chia seeds, and flax seeds to help keep skin radiant.
8. Remember to keep eating the rainbow. While fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t as abundant in fall, there are plenty of beauty foods still available, such as dark leafy greens, hard squashes, pomegranates, persimmons, pears, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. There’s still a bounty to feed skin from within.
9. Fall is a wonderful time to load up on pre and probiotic foods, such as leeks, garlic, onions, flax seeds, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Include these in your diet to keep your gut healthy because a healthy gut = healthy skin.
10. Squash skin concerns this season. Hard squashes are plentiful this time of year and aren’t only internally beneficial, they’re also fantastic for your skin. Pumpkin acts as the bridge and helps all the other ingredients dive deeper for more potent and profound results. Incorporate squash into your diet and skincare routine. Here’s a recipe for a pumpkin-based body scrub:
Pumpkin Lift Face and Body Mask
1 tablespoon puréed pumpkin
½ teaspoon coconut milk
¼ teaspoon coconut sugar or maple syrup
Mix together. Apply to face or scrub over entire body head-to-toe before getting in the shower. Let it rinse off as you shower. Store extra in the fridge for up to a week.
We can use this change in the season, with shorter days and more time inside, to our advantage. After all, skin health is the sum of our thoughts, diet, lifestyle, and how we care for it. By caring for ourselves, we care for our skin. Using this quiet time to reflect and restore can help us maintain a healthy glow. “Me time” can be as simple as curling up with a book, writing in a journal, stopping to take deep, intentional breaths, calling a friend, or taking a bath. “Me time” can also involve a more planned activity, such as getting a massage, taking a class, or going on an overnight getaway. Seize these precious moments that allow you to be you. A little time within goes a long way.