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Why Your Skincare Regime Needs To Change Seasonally

Black woman putting on face lotion
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images
Black woman putting on face lotion

As your largest and fastest-growing (not to mention visible) organ, your skin is unarguably something worthy of your time, attention and care.

In light of this, many of us are more than happy to invest in an army of skincare products to ensure our dermis gets the best possible treatment, and rightly so. But have you ever been in a position where you have sworn by a particular moisturiser only to find one day it doesn't seem to be performing as it was before?

This could be due to the changing of the seasons and, depending on your skin type, could mean your skin's requirements are changing, too.

"It can vary from person to person, it's a very personal adjustment," spokesperson for the Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD), Dr Karen Koh, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Some people are happy to use the same stuff all year around. However, with extreme variations of temperature and humidity, others might find they need to change their products.

"For example, most people would probably need to use a heavier moisturiser or heavier products in the winter time.

"This is often due to extremes, such as going from the cold outside to heated indoors. Lower humidity and air conditioned homes and offices tend to dry out the skin more also."

Another reason skin tends to dry out in the colder weather is quite simply because people wear more clothes.

"Because people wear more layers of clothing, it can be easy to forget to moisturise areas like your legs or torso," Koh said. "This can cause your skin to dry out and become more problematic. There's actually a term for it -- winter itch."

Another winter offender is the fact we tend to spend longer in the shower or are more likely to run hot baths -- both of which deprive the skin of its natural moisture.

"Having warmer showers and baths and hanging out in the shower for longer periods of time can dry out your skin more in winter," Koh told HuffPost Australia.

"But it can also serve as a good reminder to moisturise, as you should really moisturise after every shower or bath. Not only does the water strip off your natural oils, but wet or damp skin tends to absorb the moisturiser more efficiently, so it's the perfect time to work into your moisturising routine."

According to Koh, signs you might need to switch to a heavier moisturiser include "a sensation of dryness and tightness, or if it's quite extreme, you might see a bit of flaking".

Alternatively, your moisturiser might be too heavy if you "feel sticky and uncomfortable".

"When you feel like you’re sweating under your moisturise, and it feels like it's sliding off, that's a sign you may need to change to a lighter moisturiser," Koh said. "You don't want to feel as though you are sweating underneath your make up."

In terms of what skincare products you should invest in, Koh says you don't need to break the bank.

"Any moisturiser, when you break it down into very simple ingredients, is basically the same," Koh said.

"Creams are a mix of oil and water, with maybe some other ingredients in addition to oils, such as polymers or glycerin or dimethicone. These help prevent water loss from the skin, but also attract more water as well.

"The heavier the cream -- the really thick creams -- have more oil.

"A runnier cream -- such as one you get in a pump pack -- has more water. One thing to keep in mind is water always evaporates, so the runnier the lotion or cream, the slightly less moisturising," Koh said.

"It's important to remember that the more expensive stuff is not necessarily going to be better for you. In fact, sometimes the pharmacy brands at $15 to $20 can be ideal.

"While the ingredients might be more expensive [in an expensive product] the basic make up of what’s in the actual product essentially stays the same. You do not need to spend a fortune on your skincare."

If you're particularly happy using a certain brand but feel you need to change things up, there's no reason you need to jump ship entirely.

"Have a look at their other products and just go to a heavier version in winter," Koh advised. "Lots of people will do that -- use a lotion on summer and the cream version in winter. If you're really suffering, you might even use an ointment, which is much more oily and can be greasy and messy, but ultimately provides the most moisture if you really need it."

As for exactly which moisturiser is right for you, unfortunately there's no hard and fast rule.

"It really comes down to trial and error," Koh said. "It's really hard. People ask dermatogloists all the time, 'what’s the moisturiser for me? Am I oily or combination?'

"But my response to that is always 'what feels nice on your skin?' One idea is go to the cosmetic counter or pharmacy and get a tester. That way you can see how it feels after a couple of hours.

"There are a mindbogglingly huge number of products out there. Some people will get onto something by accident, maybe they will get given something as a gift or go for a facial and try the product, but at the end of the day it is trial and error. Believe me, I wish I had the magic answer, but I don't."

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