What’s your favorite season? I’m fond of them all but autumn is my favorite.
Beautiful skies, amazing colors, and cooler,drier air. I love it all.
But cooler drier air can make your skin a little drier. So can central heat.
Now that we're most definitely into fall, it seems like a good time to talk about taking care of your skin in the cooler, drier autumn weather.
The good news is that if your skin care routine is working for you, you don’t necessarily need to change it. But if you’re over 40, you’ll probably notice your skin is more dry in the fall and winter months. It may even become itchy or flaky.
This is because as you get older, your skin produces less of your own natural oils like sebum and squalene.
Your skin barrier needs some extra support to keep your skin healthy, comfortable, and looking good.
Tips on how to keep your skin in good shape during the cooler weather:
Keep wearing your sunscreen every day
Even though the sun isn’t as strong as it was in at the height of summer, those deep reaching UVA rays still penetrate into your skin and set the stage for premature aging and damage. They can penetrate clouds, the glass in your car windows and home even in the winter.
Drink plenty of water
- You may not be as thirsty because of the cooler temps, but your skin is the first place a lack of internal moisture shows up. This means your skin will look thirsty before you FEEL thirsty, so drink up! Also, try to sip water through out the day rather than drinking a huge amount at one time. Your body will be able absorb and utilize more efficiently (and you’ll have to pee less.)
- Staying hydrated improves your skin’s elasticity, helps your skin maintain pH balance and its plump and supple appearance, and reduces puffiness.
Now is the time to up your moisture game. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
This is the way to go to protect your skin barrier and keep your glow.
Use products containing Hyaluronic Acid to increase the moisture in the skin. This hydrating powerhouse works by attracting and holding water (up to 1000x its weight)!
If you’re finding that your skin becomes drier as you age, you will benefit from using a product like Monsoon Extreme Hydration that helps replace the lost natural oils, supports your skin’s microbiome and acts as an antioxidant to boot.
Squalene is a colorless poly-unsaturated liquid that’s found naturally in many animals and plants, including human skin and its naturally made oil, sebum.
It’s one of the many natural lipids (oils) your body produces to lubricate and protect your skin.But as you get older, your body makes less of it and has less natural protection against moisture loss.
Less sebum combined with less self made hyaluronic acid and slower skin cell turnover means your skin becomes naturally drier as you get older.
And we’re all getting older.
After you draw water into your skin and help replace some of your natural oils, it’s best to seal in that lovely hydration with a moisturizer.
It works like this. Hyaluronic acid draws water molecules into your skin, light squalene oils help replace natural ones, and moisturizing ingredients like butters and oils help seal in the moisture and protect your skin barrier against the drier air created by colder weather and indoor heating.
Take care of the skin on your whole body
Wear clothes that protect your skin from the drying wind and colder temperatures.
Interestingly dark fabrics absorb more of the UVB rays from the sun. Fabrics like denim, wool, and nylon are also better for blocking the sun’s rays. Something to think about if you work or spend a lot of time outdoors.
Avoid hot showers and baths.
Even though they feel great, that hot water will dry your skin even more. It strips your natural oils out of your skin. I find it leads to itchy skin especially on my arms, legs, and hips. Try turning your shower temperature down a notch. It helps.
Ditto for drying soaps
By now, you know that you need to use a facial cleanser that doesn’t strip the oils from your face. The same goes for your whole body.
If the skin on your face or body feels tight after bathing and cleansing, the pH level in your products is probably too high. This is typical of many bar soaps.
Your skin has a pH of around 5.5. Using drying soaps strips your skin of moisture leading to that tight feeling, itchiness, skin irritability, dryness, and imbalance of your skin’s microbiome. Unfortunately, many soaps have high pH levels.
Use a moisturizer on your whole body
Just as your face needs more moisturizer in the cooler weather, your body needs it too. You don’t need to use the same more expensive, active ingredient packed moisturizer that you use on your face.
Look for a good quality body lotion that’s free from things like parabens and that your skin likes.
For best results, apply the lotion right after you towel off. The little bit of dampness that’s left will actually help the moisturizer work better.
Use a humidifier when you start using your indoor heat
This is a tip you don’t hear often. I find that using a humidifier at night here in super dry New Mexico makes a big difference in my skin.
Low moisture in the air dries your skin out. A humidifier pushes moisture into the air and helps your skin retain water. This can really help with dryness and itchiness.
Just remember to follow the cleaning instructions regularly so that the humidified air is healthy air.
Add healthy fats to your diet
Healthy fats, especially essential fatty acids also help your skin stay moist and healthy. The key is the right balance of omega 3 and 6 and GLA. These essential fatty acids help to cut the inflammation in your body and skin as well.
Bonus: Essential fatty acids benefit your brain, your heart, your joints, and help to optimize your immunity.
Most of us are short on omega 3s so, as the weather cools, up your intake of:
Salmon and fatty fish
Nuts and seeds
Extra virgin coconut oil
Or you can take a high quality omega supplement. This can be especially helpful for very dry skin and in dry, cold weather.*
It’s important to take good care of your skin and skin barrier. A healthy barrier not only looks radiant, it also is more comfortable. Plus you really need a healthy skin barrier to stay hydrated and be able to ward off the germs and toxins that you’re exposed to in the environment every day.
*this is not considered or meant to be medical advice.