Autumn’s cooler, drier weather is here and the season is known for drying out your skin and leaving it dull and rough-feeling. It kind of sneaks up on us every year as the change in weather is frenetic with temperature patterns and rainfall wildly varying as we head towards winter. As the air loses its summer humidity and cold, dry wind gusts become more common, the lack of moisture in the air has a harsh effect on our skin. At home, heaters are being turned on and fires lit, making the air inside warm and dry as well. When we are able to get outside, it’s also easy to forget that the sun can do just as much damage in the cold as it can in the heat, and lack of sunscreen on the face and lips further contributes to skin problems at this time of year.
When this happens, the outer layer of our skin dries out, and dead skin cells clog the pores, leading to breakouts and build-up in the creases of the face, such as around the nose. It also leaves a layer of dullness and fine lines that moisturising alone won’t be able to combat. Here’s some tips on how to keep your skin glowing and looking – and feeling – fresh during this season.
Hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and exacerbate skin problems at this time of year. Use lukewarm water only when washing your face. The same goes for the shower – as tempting as it is on cold mornings to stand under a cascade of a scorching hot shower, your skin won’t love you for it. Nor will your hair or scalp!
Cleansing alone isn’t enough to remove the build-up of dead skin. If you haven’t been doing any or much skincare lately, you will need an exfoliant to remove the build-up before settling into a new weekly skincare routine. This not only will instantly improve the state of your skin, but it also makes it easier for your skin to absorb moisturiser and boost its effectiveness. Once you are on top of problem areas, using a mask, peel or scrub once or twice a week is necessary in addition to cleansing and moisturising. But that said:
Don’t try to fix your skin in one session by using harsh exfoliants to scrub away the dead cells. This can leave your skin red, raw, and strip away protective oils, leaving your skin even more vulnerable to the weather. Products that include oats, coconut powder, and fruit enzymes do an effective job without your face feeling like it’s come in contact with an electric sander. Fruit enzymes particularly are amazing at dissolving dead skin cells and unclogging pores, and they do so gently, leaving behind a glowing and healthy complexion. In addition, fruit enzymes have the ability to fight inflammation and can reduce redness and puffiness.
Favour products that include natural oils and protective ingredients such as aloe vera, which is soothing, moisturising and cooling, raspberry seed oil for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, and shea butter which, due to its high fat content and rich texture, nourishes the skin and keeps it protected. You will want to apply this more often in dry, breezy weather than you would in a more humid climate, so keep your moisturiser close by and use it several times a day.
Powder masks are popular as the lack of moisture means no preservatives or additives are needed. EESA works as either a scrub or a mask, or both. Just spoon a little into your hand or a bowl and mix with a little water until it’s a thick paste. Remove makeup and cleanse, then gently scrub your face in circular motions and smear the paste out evenly. Once your skin is covered (avoid the eyes, though) leave it on your skin for 5-10 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water, or with the aid of a soft, reusable face wash pad. You can also thin the mixture a little more and use as a quicker scrub to maintain your skin, once or twice a week or the mask once a week. The crushed oats and coconut powder are soft and work gently, and the fruit enzymes and white clay will both leave your skin feeling soft and pampered.
The best thing about this mask is how quick it is! The Secret Weapon Gel mask is an all natural, chemical-free skin peel that utilises papaya, pomegranate and pineapple enzymes to effectively remove dead skin cell build-up without the use of a scrub. The alpha hydroxy acids act fast but gently and don’t need long to work. It’s in a base of soothing gel containing aloe vera to reduce redness and inflammation while the AHAs work. After removing makeup and cleansing, smear the thick gel on your face and neck and leave for 2-5 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water. Pay attention to areas of patchy or dry skin, such as around the nose. Be careful to avoid the eye area though. It’s normal to feel a light tingling sensation on your skin as the formula works. You can use this mask up to twice weekly to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing. This mask is also effective at reducing the appearance of dryness and lines on the backs of your hands so apply a little there too when you do your face and neck.
After using a scrub, peel or mask, ensure you’ve removed all traces of it and splash your skin several times with lukewarm water before applying any toner and moisturiser.