Each day is a new opportunity to support your skin health with skin care and adequate sun protection. You might already have your routine down pat, but by the time the next season rolls around, it may be time for an update. Here's how each season can affect your skin and how to incorporate seasonal skin care into your daily routine to meet your skin's revolving needs.
Why Seasonal Skin Care Matters
The weather can affect your fashion choices, travel plans, activities, and more—including your skin health. But while you can't control the weather, you can learn how your skin responds to changes in weather conditions and how to support your skin year-round.
Some of the environmental factors that can affect your skin include:
Heat can lead to oil buildup and sweat, while cold temperatures can increase dryness.
Ultraviolet (UV) Index
Sunscreen is essential 365 days a year, but your risk of sun damage increases with the sun's intensity.
Heat waves, rain, wind, and snow can all wreak havoc on skin.
Exposure to central air conditioning and heating can increase moisture loss.
So, should you change your skin care to reflect the changing seasons? Yes, but it's not as complicated as you might think.
Changing Your Skin Care Routine with the Seasons
Each of the four seasons comes with its own weather patterns, which means ups and downs for your skin. Where you live will affect the severity of seasonal weather, but consider these general climate conditions when updating your seasonal skin care routine.
After a grueling winter, spring is welcome. The days get longer, which means more sunshine, and temperatures generally start getting warmer. Still, spring weather can be unpredictable with bouts of rain and storms. Spring skin care should address any skin issues that came up during winter, such as dryness, irritation, and skin barrier damage. At the same time, it should also account for the current climate, which tends to be warmer with an uptick in humidity and sunlight.
For your spring skin care forecast, include regular cleansing to reduce the buildup of pore-clogging oils and sweat, antioxidants to revive dull skin, and daily sunscreen to protect skin from increased sun exposure.
The season of vacations and beach days, summer is the hottest and sunniest season of the year. Tropical climates face rising temperatures and high humidity levels, while desert climates experience scorching temperatures and dry air. Neither combo is a walk in the park, but both have one thing in common: sweltering heat.
When temperatures rise, so does the likelihood of sweaty, oily skin. Sebum and sweat can clog pores, which can lead to acne. Wash your face twice a day during the summer to combat breakouts.
Perhaps the number one summer skin care tip, however, is to commit to sun protection. The days are significantly longer, so your skin is exposed to the sun's damaging UV rays for longer, too. Sunscreen is important all year round, but double down on SPF in the summer and remember to reapply at least every two hours.
Since summer often means increased sweating and hanging by the pool or at the beach, update to a water-resistant sunscreen. For example, EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 is a full-body sunscreen that resists water for up to 80 minutes.
Like spring, fall is a transitional period between the two most intense seasons—summer and winter. This is a good time to address any sun damage that occurred during the summer and brace yourself for harsher winter weather.
If you notice any sun spots or visible signs of sun damage, look for brightening ingredients in your skin and sun care products. Try a formula like EltaMD UV Restore Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, which contains Ginger Root and Vitamins C and E to help address hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and dark spots—all while protecting skin from further sun damage.
As cold weather approaches, the air usually becomes drier, so dry skin may be on the horizon. To get ahead of dryness, scale down to washing your face once per day, and swap out lightweight moisturizers with thicker creams. Prioritize active ingredients that support skin barrier function, such as amino acids.
The winter months can be the most challenging for the skin. Stressors like cold (and sometimes freezing) temperatures, dry air, snow, and central heating can lead to dryness, redness, chapping, irritation, and cracking. Winter can also cause skin conditions like eczema to flare up.
During winter, moisturize from head to toe (remember your lips and hands!). Thick creams and ointments like EltaMD Moisture Seal help lock in moisture and form a protective layer over your skin. Look for ingredients like antioxidants, amino acids, ceramides, and Hyaluronic Acid to counteract dryness and support skin barrier function.
One of the misconceptions about winter is that you can ease up on sun protection. While the sun isn't as visible as it is in the summer, it can still penetrate through cloudy skies. The sun's rays can also reflect off of snow, doubling the amount of sun exposure. So, don't let up on sunscreen in the winter—especially during outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Maintaining Healthy Skin All Year Round
You don't need to overhaul your skin care routine every time the wind shifts direction. Rather, think of each new season as an opportunity to reassess your skin's condition and your long-term skin care goals. By giving your complexion the attention it deserves and being proactive about the changing weather, you can ensure you're bringing your best self 365 days a year.