The skin seasons
Our skin needs are different with the changing stages of our lives.
Our skin is affected by seasonal weather variations and by moving between different environments.
It’s an important intact immune barrier and in our mind it’s the skin we’re in.
So it’s worth investing time in getting to know about your skin.
Create rituals that nurture you so that you enjoy your skin routine.
Each season, commit to a new daily routine where you target a skin concern for a month and check in on your results at the end.
Your skin loves routine and product layering and responds to seasonal product changes. Have a basic quick routine for the hectic days and a full ritual for when you commit to nourishing yourself.
Always, always use a zinc based sunscreen every day in Australia that feels good on your skin, and adjust the sun protection factor to the season.
Our skin tends to be drier during the winter months.
This is due to the low humidity of lower temperatures and the dry air from artificially heated environments.
Skin may feel tight when exposed to the icy winds and the colder air. This can result in mild dehydration, rough texture, redness and itchiness.
During winter, lipid rich products will reduce skin moisture evaporation by feeding the skin at the dermal level without being heavy and oily. This richer style of moisturising will protect the skin from the harsh elements.
The lower levels of UV and our indoor lifestyle make it the perfect season to focus on correcting sun damage or pigmentation issues.
If you are focussing on hydration, then hyaluronic is your heroine ingredient for winter. (Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in cartilage, synovial joint fluid and skin; where it is integral in keeping skin hydrated.) Our hyaluronate levels naturally decrease as we age.
If your Winter target is to treat pigmentation and sun damage, then reach for an Exfoliant designed around Bearberry extract and Vitamin rich oils such as Carrot and Calendula or a Mask containing Licorice root.
And keep using an organic zinc based Sunscreen that you love but reduce to an SPF30+.
Winter skin routine
An ultra gentle daily Exfoliant in the shower to prepare skin surface for richer moisturising. (You can consider keeping some fine almond meal in the bathroom to use in the shower as a hydrating gently daily exfoliator.)
A Serum to either target dryness – with hyaluronic and hydration locking ingredients, or to treat pigmentation and sun damage issues.
Use lipid and humectant rich Moisturiser to build the barrier and prevent moisture loss. Occlusive ingredients such as nut butters can create a barrier to evaporation.
Consider using a hydrating Spritzer throughout the day to balance the artificially dry environments – especially if you don’t have a desk humidifier.
Use a clay Mask each week to refine the skin surface and deeply cleanse. Make it part of your weekly self care ritual that uses bathing, self massage and some deep rest afterwards.
Winter skin foods
Keep up hydration by drinking warm water and herbal teas during the day.
Support collagen production by eating plenty of dark leafy greens and seeds and nuts each day to fill out and hydrate dry skin. Eating soups with sea vegetables will also plump out your skin and boost collagen.
Walnuts and sesame seeds build our Kidney energy and benefit hair and skin lustre. They also work to lessen dark circles under the eyes.
Include the skin superfoods for controlling pigmentation such as cinnamon to control the production of the enzyme tyrosinase that creates overproduction of melanin, and Brazil nuts for their selenium content that over time protects from sun damage.
The spring is characterised by winds and rapid changes of temperature as the season establishes itself. Our skin and immune system can become reactive in the face of these sudden changes.
As spring arrives so does an increase in environmental humidity and heat. The skin’s moisture content begins to increase.
Lighten up to reflect the increased humidity by using a Lotion instead of a heavier cream. Moisturisers still need to contain occlusives to protect from the winds and sudden temperature change, but need less humectant content.
If the stress of weather changes and wind leads to inflammation and skin eruptions, choose moisturisers containing Lavender, Calendula, Cedarwood or Ylang-ylang. These botanicals support the skin barrier to be strong and flexible to prevent reactivity. The water component of your skin cleansers, spritzers, or toners would ideally be a Chamomile or Lavender hydrosol to counteract inflammation.
This is especially so if your skin barrier is irritated and red from the weather.
During the Spring our goal is to strengthen and prepare the skin for the challenges of summer.
Spring skin routine
If your skin feels sensitive, swap your Exfoliant and Mask use around. Exfoliate once weekly and pop a nourishing herbal clay Mask on before you shower, then gently exfoliate off.
Switch your winter Moisturiser for a lighter Lotion that will also protect and balance sensitivity. Emollients that help support the skin’s repair mechanism such as Sesame and Sunflower oil are useful in Spring. Essential fatty acid (EFA) oils such as Avocado, Macadamia and Jojoba oil contain linoleic acid and will repair and build the dermal layer to increase deep hydration and resilience.
If you experience spring sensitivity and inflamed skin with an impaired barrier, your skin will love it if you build hydration in layers:
a Jojoba & lavender oil Pre-cleanse massage
then green tea based Cleanser
a calming Spritz to hydrate
then a soothing calendula or chamomile Serum
Moisturizer or Night cream.
Invest in an Eye Contour treatment to build the sensitive, fine eye tissues to combat the approaching summer sun that you will need to protect with sunglasses.
Pay attention to your décolletage and bring your products down to here, especially sunscreen.
Spring skin foods
As we lighten up with our skin care, we can also apply this principle to our diet.
It is time to decongest the Liver from the heavier slow cooked comforting foods of winter. Do this as a gradual strategy that mirrors the weather shifts.
On warmer days choose lighter veggie based stir fries and when the chill sets in, return to the slow cooking styles. Give the Liver a break by progressively phasing out rich and processed foods in preparation for the approaching hot summer weather.
Using the seasonal citrus fruits in your water and cooking will support the Liver to decongest and enliven your skin.
Goji berry provides 18 amino acids and 21 trace minerals and has been used in Asia for centuries as an anti-ageing food through its support of the Liver and Kidneys. It is highly beneficial for the eyes and skin and can repair DNA cellular damage. It’s the perfect spring food for balance. Add a tablespoon each day into your chia pudding or granola. You can also add it to your teacup, pour on hot water and sip it throughout the day.
Summer is characterised by either high humidity or dry hot winds depending on your hemisphere.
When heat and humidity is high, the skin increases its sweating and oil production. Congested pores and breakouts can result.
When the prevailing climate is dry heat, dehydration and an impaired barrier will result.
In all climates, skin will experience an increased exposure to ultraviolet sun rays from the warm weather lifestyle. This results in a roughening of skin texture from cellular damage and can compound skin damage.
Summer skin routine
Lots of cleansing, preferably with a hydrating Cleanser packed with antioxidants to balance the skin mantel and prevent oil build up.
Very gentle exfoliation twice a week to increase the turn-over of cells from the epidermal layer to smooth the skin, with ingredients to prevent sun damage.
A light lotion Moisturiser twice a day with sun damage restoration ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Watermelon hydrosol, Lavender and emollients such as Safflower, Sunflower & Jojoba oil that help support the skin’s repair mechanism.
Consider a Serum with EFA oils such as Avocado, Macadamia and Jojoba that contain linoleic acid to repair the sun exposed dermal layer. Don’t forget that Lavender has special properties that treats sun exposed skin.
To treat roughened skin texture, we need to introduce phytochemicals that refine and lighten the skin. Licorice, Bearberry extract and Vitamin C will all lighten and refine skin. These ingredients work best in summer in a night Serum.
An organic Sunscreen that feels light and effective applied after moisturising and reapplied after sweating or swimming is essential.
On days of hot dry winds, using a facial Spritzer will increase skin moisture content and refresh you.
The Orientalis skin Summer range is tailored for the Spring-Summer seasons to build the skin barrier and allow skin to breathe and sweat as it copes with extreme weather conditions.
Summer skin food
Pomegranate is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. It is a blood tonic that benefits the Heart and so it will nourish and smooth skin.
Make fruit infused waters all summer long choosing from pomegranate, passionfruit, purple grapes, watermelon, cucumber and mint. Sip them throughout the day to stay hydrated and topped up with essential nutrients.
Sprouted Mung beans are another summer food that you can add to salads to cool the body, relax the liver, and keep your skin protected during the sun season.
Unfortunately it can happen each year, particularly early in the season. You need to reapply a 30SPF screen every 2 hours if you are swimming, and ensure even coverage. Stay out of the sun during peak UV periods.
If you do get a little crispy, an after sun Serum with Aloe Vera, Watermelon infusion, Lavender oil and antioxidant botanicals will help prevent damage.
Pure Lavender hydrosol or oil can be an excellent emergency treatment. You need to act quickly.
When the skin feels repaired it is important to maintain an ultra-gentle exfoliation routine to encourage those healthy new cells up to the epidermis. And learn the lesson!
Long Summer skin
This is the season of humidity and extended heat that comes on the tail end of summer. The humidity increases the skin pore activity to produce sweat to cool the body. This can leave your skin more prone to breakouts and in an oilier condition or produce a combination pattern of oily/dehydrated.
If you tend to dry skin, you will love the extra moisture in the humidity of this month.
Indian Summer skin routine
Check that the nourishing oils in your products are non-comedogenic (don’t clog the pores).
Keep checking your skin hydration levels as the seasonal change can quickly shift to become dry and cold.
Continue to cleanse as often as necessary with an antioxidant rich formulation and to exfoliate to keep the pores open and clean. Especially after sport or exercise.
A facial Spritzer with toning qualities like White Geisha water will keep the skin pH balanced.
Autumn is the season of dryness, and living on the driest continent on earth will challenge even the healthiest skin. The weather will begin a contractive change to cooler temperatures which also affects our skin.
This season can be the mildest for skin if you have your hydration covered.
So the Autumn focus is to maintain hydration levels and restore any sun damage from your fun in the sun.
The plentiful food of autumn mimics the richness of colour in the landscape. The fruits, berries and veggies of autumn are packed with nutrition and antioxidants that benefit our immune system and flow on to our skin.
Autumn skin routine
Now is the time to resurface, rehydrate and start to build some deep nutrition in preparation for the low humidity and cold of winter.
Cleansers and moisturisers can be creamier and contain higher emollient ratios to reflect the higher nutritional needs for dry weather.
Make time for a weekly self-care treatment to repair any summer damage.
Follow your exfoliation with a crushed seasonal berry facial to prevent hyper-pigmentation and dull skin.
For a natural skin resurfacer that uses the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) of fruit, apply a mask of either pureed papaya, pineapple or tomato in the evening for about 10 minutes. Never expose your skin to sun after an AHA facial treatment – this is a night treatment.
When your skin is in good shape, keep your routine simple for a few days with a minimal approach.
Dehydrated skin needs an increase in your hydration factor of at least 10-20% during the drier weather of Autumn and Winter to balance the environmental water loss.
To reduce skin water loss avoid the internal dehydrators of spicy and stimulating food, alcohol! and coffee.
Autumn skin foods
Kiwi fruit is packed with phytonutrients such as Vitamins E, A and C. It repairs DNA damage at the nucleus of a cell so is a cancer prevention food. It is no accident that Kiwis arrive in the orchard in autumn after the long months of sun exposure.
To produce collagen and elastin in your skin, you need a high mineral and vitamin plant based diet – so eating the seasonal red peppers, sweet potato, strawberries, leafy greens and nuts will support you. Your skin balance will be found in the autumn garden.
The Orientalis skin Winter range is tailored for the Autumn-Winter seasons to build the skin barrier and the deep dermal layers to cope with the transition to cold weather conditions.