Summer’s dead –
– I write through the blistering NYC heat of September. While it may not technically feel like it (thank you, Global Warming), today marks the first day of the fall season. And with it comes brisker weather, parka season, and drier climates. Oh yeah, it also means your skin’s changing as well.
Although you probably have a skincare routine figured out (hello, you’re reading Very Good Light!), it may help to swap out some products to make the transition a bit more dewy. Don’t take our word for it, trust Dr. Jessie Cheung, licensed dermatologist, who shared some of her wisdom with us when it comes to seasonal skincare. Basically, yes there’s a need to adapt.
Dr. Cheung asserts: “The combination of dry indoor heat and fierce winds leaves our skin chapped, dull, and flaky in the winter. The dry air pulls the moisture out of our skin, slowing down our cell turnover as skin tries to repair itself.” Ugh. How do you prep your skin for the change of climate? Here’s what you need to prep for your first day of the autumnal equinox.
Swap out your cleanser
Summer means outdoors, exercise, sweat, and often, a lot of showering and overwashing. It’s when we grab our gel cleanser, the one that works up a lather and has our face feeling fresh. But as we cool down, let us introduce you to your new best friend, the oil-based cleanser.
I know, it’s hard to believe that rubbing an oil onto your dry face will do anything but break you out. But let’s really think this through. If there’s anything I remember from high school chemistry, it’s that oils repel water and attract other oils. So it make sense that an oil-based cleanser would effectively remove makeup, grime, excess sebum and leave our skin’s beautiful reserve of water alone. That’s why as the weather begins to shift, I’m swapping my cleansers that foam and lather for oil-based cleansers that do the cleaning without the stripping.
One of my current favorite oil cleansers is the One Love Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil + Makeup Remover. It smells like a tropical vacation with coconut and papaya, even if you’re trapped in your shoebox apartment in the midst of a storm warning. Another great choice is Then I Met You’s delicious Living Cleansing Balm ($38). The sorbet-like cleanser is rich, packed with moisture, and completely cleanses your face.
Don’t be afraid of exfoliation
As temperatures drop, my skin goes from oil-slicked to flaky seemingly overnight. This, my friends, is when I swap my setting powder out for some tried-and-true exfoliation. Not only can exfoliation help remove dead skin cells and increase cell turnover, it will target any hyperpigmentation or sun damage that crept up while you were “working remotely” in the Hamptons. Speeding up that process of cell turnover will also help all the super hydrating products you’re destined to use penetrate the skin more deeply.
I’m madly in love with the January Labs Brightening Tonic, $28, which uses lactic acid to help break the bonds of dead skin cells. It’s super gentle, and even helps the skin retain moisture. A great and super affordable choice is Glow Tonic, from PIXI that’s $15.
Moisturize for your life
Summer is the allotted time to skip moisturizer because “you’re too oily,” but that time is over. It’s time to moisturize like our skin depended on it (because it does!). And my moisturizer choice is, you guessed it, oils. Okay, I’m obsessed but hear me out. Adding a facial oil into your routine, even in place of a moisturizer, will help seal hydration into the skin and help protect against the madness outside. If you’re naturally oily, incorporating a facial oil will help regulate that natural production.
I’ve been loving the Indie Lee Squalane Oil, $34. Our skin naturally produces squalane, so it’s always good to replenish our sources. The Pai Rosehip Oil, $44 is also a dream, naturally high in vitamin A so it will help to speed up cell turnover, reducing pigmentation and signs of aging.
The Sun of All Fears
It’s time to drop some truth. While it can be important to adapt your routine to fit the season or climate, the sun is pretty inescapable all year round. And that’s true whether you’re en route to Miami or shivering in line at Glossier. Dr. Cheung tells clients that, “no matter rain or shine, the sun’s radiation is hitting the earth and bombarding your skin.” While you may be skeptical about all that sun exposure in the dead of winter, even snow “reflects and amplifies the effect of the burning rays on your skin.” Yikes!
I know, you hate wearing sunscreen, even in the summertime. But sunscreen formulations are better than ever, and there are some that don’t even feel or smell like the traumatic white paste from your childhood. Many also incorporate antioxidant protection, which shields skin against environment damage, pollution, and helps diminish hyperpigmentation over time.
My favorite all-in-one product is the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream, $50 a moisturizer that gives antioxidant protection, SPF 30, and in lightweight formula that doesn’t leave any white cast. For more protection, try Elta MD UV Clear 46, $35 a VGL fave! It goes on clear without a grey cast.
The changing weather may require some adjustments in your skincare wardrobe, but let’s keep it gentle on the cleanse, remember to exfoliate, love your natural oils and throw some more on, but ALWAYS make sure to protect yourself against the sun. If I told you that sun exposure is the largest factor in skin aging, that should be enough to have you bathing in SPF 50. I expect some thank-you cards down the line!