Happier, healthier skin despite seasonal changes? It’s possible – thanks to the wisdom of ancient medicine, holistic insights and emerging science which together explain why we experience major changes in our skin as the weather and other key factors alter around us.
Is it seasonal, or is it an underlying condition?
First, it’s important to note that the changing seasons may only be one reason why you’re noticing unwanted dryness, breakouts or irritation. Whilst we often look externally for answers, many of the unwelcome changes we experience on the outside tend to be rooted in internal issues within the body. Symptoms show on our skin when they’ve been manifesting within for some time – with triggers ranging from allergies and hormone imbalances to chronic illness and certain medications. If you’ve been suffering from acne, eczema, dehydrated skin, or redness which persists despite the changing seasons, it’s important to see your physician to determine what root causes may be behind the symptoms.
How do seasonal changes affect our skin?
During winter harsh indoor heating and icy conditions outdoors can sensitize the skin, stripping it of moisture and leading to frequent dryness and a tight, uncomfortable feeling. But what about spring, when we’re enjoying warmer, yet not experiencing roasting high temperatures and the icy coolness of air conditioning?
Like any change, our skin is adapting to the altered conditions that come with the season of spring – increased sun exposure, more time spent outdoors and allergens in the air to name a few. That’s why recognizing seasonal symptoms then soothing and supporting both with topical treatments and an inside-out approach is key to help you look and feel your best all year round.
1. Prioritize sun protection
During spring and summer daylight hours lengthen, the sun makes an appearance more often and we find ourselves spending more time outdoors – all resulting in increased UV exposure. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun can damage the skin and cause premature lines and wrinkles to form – so using a sunscreen (even on cloudy days) is essential. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option you won’t forget to apply, try a primer, tinted moisturiser or serum which offers in-built UV protection – 30 spf should be the minimum, but 50 spf is best.
Although dry skin tends to be a winter problem, we can still suffer from sensitive, itchy or flaky patches and dehydration as the weather becomes warmer. This is because many of the underlying causes of dry or sensitive skin don’t change with the seasons – causing prolonged or chronic symptoms which last even after the last frosts of winter have melted.
Opt for a moisturizer that’s rich in oil and humectants, which attract and retain moisture in skin, nails, and hair. This locks in hydration and prevents further moisture loss whilst also infusing essential nutrients to the upper layers on the skin for a more supple, plumped appearance. Drinking plenty of filtered water per day will also help – as will loading up on omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect skin cells and keep dehydration at bay.
3. Keep breakouts at bay
Temperature and lifestyle changes that occur during seasonal transitions from cooler to warmer weather can disrupt the balance of oil or sebum on the surface of the skin as we adjust, leading to untimely breakouts. Diet
and hormones can also influence more frequent breakouts – so be sure to check this first before spending money on expensive creams and serums. Topical treatments to try include salicylic acid serums or toners which can reduce sebum gently without stripping skin, and blemish solution which can provide on-the-spot relief to soothe redness and inflammation.
4. Nourish from within
Although topical treatments and products are highly effective and important, if you’re not taking care of your body from the inside out there’s only so much they can do to support your skin and alleviate any seasonal concerns. Be sure to drink plenty of filtered water every day, cut down on caffeine, avoid processed and refined foods and limit sugar intake. Load up instead on whole foods, particularly vegetables and fruits as well as healthy fats and proteins which form the building blocks of beautiful skin.
More time spent outdoors means increased exposure to pollutants, which can result in a number of common skin complaints such as dryness, sensitivity, congestion and conditions such as allergic dermatitis. Seasonal allergies can also come into play, causing red, itchy and flaky skin especially around the eyes and cheeks. Double cleanse with a gentle oil or butter-based cleansing balm to remove environmental impurities and microscopic dust and pollen deposits which can enter through the eyes, nose and mouth to trigger a reaction. Internally you can support the detoxification process and liver health with leafy greens, antioxidant-rich foods, a fiber-full diet and as always, plenty of water. You can find more on treating seasonal allergies the holistic way here:
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