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Autumn Skin: Face and Body

Don’t just fall into skin care – plan for it with a well-thought-out seasonal routine…

By Adriana Ermter

Let’s talk about transitioning…your skin care. You’ve been in SPF-heavy mode for summer but now it’s time to get into a fresh fall regimen. And no, this isn’t a gimmick like Hallmark cards and Valentine’s Day. You truly need to do this if you want the skin on your face and your body to adjust nicely, easily even, into the fluctuating hot/cool/humid/damp/oh-my-god-why-is-it-suddenly-cold-outside temperatures and seasonal allergens that September and October typically bring. Heck, if you live in Calgary, it’ll be full-on winter by the time Halloween arrives. Which means you need a little know-how and a healthy dose of insight now about what to look for and what to do to guide you through this transitional season.

Avoid allergen outcomes

If the words ragweed, dust and pollination have you running inside and locking the doors, you’re not alone. According to Statistics Canada, 27.3 per cent of Canadians over the age of 12 have been diagnosed with allergies. And, boy, can they do a doozy on your skin with red patches, itchiness and irritation decreasing your skin barrier’s ability to function at full force, leaving you susceptible to rashes, acne, dryness and more. The solution? Apply a soothing, fragrance-free lotion containing ingredients like anti-itch colloidal oatmeal, anti-inflammatory lavender and anti-redness vitamins C and E to your face and body.

Turn down the temperature…in the bathroom 

Most of us shower, bathe and even wash our faces in water that is too hot. “Stop this!” says Dr. Heather Rogers, a U.S.-based doctor. “It is not good for your skin or the world we live in. All these steps dry out your skin and strip away your natural oils,” making you a candidate for a scaly and dry epidermis.

Become a label junkie

Fluctuating temperatures mean your skin needs an extra hit of hydration to stay calm and stable. Moisture heroes that won’t leave you feeling greasy or looking shiny include humectants like hyaluronic acid for optimum moisture absorption and retention; silk tree and horse chestnut extracts to smooth fine lines and weariness into oblivion, while reducing dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles; and peptides to plump and soothe sensitive skin.

Keep your screen saver on

Fall sun may play a good game of hide and seek, but you still need to cover exposed skin from head to toe in a broad spectrum SPF that protects you from its UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. Take Health Canada’s advice: 

  • Wear a lotion with an SPF of at least 15.
  • Read the label’s instructions and apply properly.
  • Apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outside.
  • Sitting and/or working near a window requires sunscreen too.
  • Reapply often, especially if you are sweating.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays = shave day

Whether it’s your face or your body, alternate your exfoliating and shaving days. Don’t shave and exfoliate on the same day; otherwise, you risk irritating your skin,” advises Dr. Rogers. “Try to do these steps at night, as well, so that face and body lotions can work their magic while you sleep.”

Get your glow on

Summer’s chlorinated pools, sweaty activities and blazing sun have played havoc with your skin, and what looked flushed and healthy last month now looks dull and worn out. But it’s a quick fix. The International Dermal Institute recommends removing dead skin cells and stimulating new ones with a face and/or body-exfoliating product. Just don’t mix and match. (Face exfoliator for face, body exfoliator for body.) 

Try a gentle scrub containing organic ingredients like salt or sugar, or exfoliating chemicals such as retinol and glycolic acid. Regardless of the formula, keep your applications to twice a week. 

Swap products to support your skin barrier as the weather gets drier

  • Shelve your gel or foam cleansers and choose creamy or milk-based ones. 
  • Shelve alcohol-based toners and choose moisture-infusing sprays and toners.
  • Shelve your nighttime lotion and choose a nighttime cream.
  • Shelve clay-based, sweat- and oil-eliminating masks and choose hydrating ones fuelled with soothing and moisturizing ingredients like rose, aloe vera, honey and shea butter.

ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.

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