Seasonal Skincare Questions Answered
As the seasons start to change, we begin unbundling ourselves from our layers of clothes. The same can be said for our skincare. Just as you don’t need your parka in the spring, you don’t need extra rich moisturizers as the weather changes. To learn more about seasonal skincare, we reached out to Dr Karin Hermoni.
What are some seasonal impacts on skin and how can we prevent them?
Hand in hand with the climate changes, we may feel that our skin is changing and experiencing seasonal variations. Adapting our skin care routine may help keep our skin at its best throughout these changes. For example, during winter, as humidity levels drop and we experience extreme changes in temperatures, (from cold outside to heated indoors) our skin may feel dryer and rougher. Wrinkles and fine lines may become more apparent.
To help our skin during the winter season, it is recommended to minimize extreme environmental changes and protect our skin from direct contact with cold windy weather as well as the direct heat of a fireplace. To overcome the dryness and keep our skin hydrated, in addition to the daily use of topical moisturizer, we should make sure to drink plenty of water and eat water rich foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables (or their juice) provide “good for skin” fluids. Examples include tomatoes, watermelon and oranges. The carotenoid pigments that provide the color to those fruits and veggies can also help enhance the natural glow of our skin. Research shows the skin color changes provided by a carotenoid rich diet were rated by people as more attractive than a sun tan!
What should we consider when transitioning our skin care routine between winter and spring? And spring and summer?
As winter fades away and temperatures begin to rise, we tend to spend more time outdoors. Come spring and summer, our skin faces challenges of increased sun damage and sweat; UV exposure is the number one cause of skin aging and responsible for about 80% of facial skin aging, therefore, affecting not only our skin health but also its appearance.
UV protection is important year-round, so don’t underestimate the damage caused by those short everyday intervals when we go out unprotected or the deceiving winter/spring sun. There are many skin care products that are summer oriented, like lighter moisturizers, and those that combine UV protection (SPF) for increased compliance. To keep our skin nourished and protected plus reach our peak glow, a holistic skin care routine that combines topical and ingestible skin care is recommended.
As part of a holistic skin care routine. we need to embrace the notion that beauty reflects health, where health is a combination of our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. A healthy and active lifestyle with diverse nutrition (rich in natural antioxidants from fruits vegetables spices etc.) are therefore key to our overall wellness as much as they are a part of our beauty regimen.
Importantly, while we may benefit from adapting our topical skin care routine to environmental changes, our diet/ingestible skin care will nourish and benefit our skin throughout the year, providing head to toe, 24/7 complementary support to our topical routine. Natural phytonutrients from fruits, vegetables and spices help us keep the antioxidant reservoir in our skin intact, serving as the first line of defense against the different environmental challenges our skin is coping with. A colorful combination of fruits and veggies, will provide optimal and synergistic benefits, so a salad will indulge your skin way better than if you just stick to one or two types that are your favorites.
How bad is it to just use the same products throughout the year?
Generally, it is most important to adjust the skin care products to our skin type and make sure to provide our skin with the proper nourishment throughout the year (from within and via topicals). This way, our skin is well prepared and better able to cope with any challenges it may encounter.
Is there one mistake that people seem to always make with their skin care routine?
People tend to underestimate the damages of winter sun (which is extremely relevant when combined with snow glare). Also, they tend to think that its mostly important to use sun screen during those extreme times, like the time we spend at the beach or during a long hike, but in fact, research shows that over a lifetime we accumulate more UV damage in those short everyday intervals we go out unprotected. Think of those few minutes you walk the dog, take the mail out or even drive to work.
This is where ingestible skin products that provide 24/7 head to toe support come into play, complementing the topical sunscreens. However, we need to remember that ingestible skin care takes more time to achieve optimal benefits compared to local protection provided by topical sun screens. For example, phytonutrients like carotenoids (e.g. lycopene, the red pigment of tomato) take a few weeks to optimally incorporate into the different skin layers. Once incorporated, research shows that they can provide complementary support to help the skin cope with UV damage and the oxidative and inflammatory local processes in the skin associated with sun exposure. Therefore, it’s better to take them year-round or at least a few good weeks before we go on a beach vacation / ski resort to reach peak benefits. And of course- we need to remember that such products are not meant to replace but to complement a sun-smart lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle in general
Dr. Karin Hermoni, PhD, Head of Science & Nutrition at Lycored. She holds a PhD degree in biochemistry from Ben Gurion University in Israel, and her research has focused on the effects of phytonutrients and specifically tomato carotenoids on various aspects of human health.
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