The following article was contributed by Zeel Skincare Expert Barbara Lynn Cantone, President of Body & Soul Restorations, Inc.
The signs of summer's end are slowly drawing near. Labor Day weekend seems like ages ago; the kids are back in school; and the days are ever-so-slowly becoming shorter, the evenings ever-so-slightly turning cooler. Yet while we'll soon be sporting sweaters and scarves, we should also be thinking about how to protect our skin, keeping it healthy and hydrated as arid autumn air arrives. Here's what I recommend.
1. Slough it off! As the summer sun sets, it can leave a layer of dead surface-level skin cells behind. If you normally have an oil-poor/dry complexion, the accumulation of these dead cells can result in skin that looks dehydrated, accentuating fine lines and wrinkles. If you have an oily/acne-prone complexion, an overabundance of dead cells can cause blackheads and breakouts.
The answer to either problem is to simply slough 'em off! A professional facial is always a great option, as licensed aestheticians can use professional grade products that are applicable to your skin type and more potent than OTC exfoliants. Continue the routine at home with a suitable exfoliant.
- Oil-poor/mature skin types should try Dermalogica's Multivitamin Thermafoliant, a self-heating skin polisher that refines the surface of the skin and contains powerful antioxidants.
- Oily skin that is not prone to redness may benefit from Fruit Enzyme Facial Scrub from derma-e.
- Sensitive skin types should steer clear of physical exfoliants such as scrubs, as these can cause irritation and redness. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliant such as Paula's Choice Clear Regular Strength Exfoliating Toner. The two-percent salicylic acid solution works by penetrating the pores and clearing out dead cells while diminishing redness and irritation.
2. More moisture. Now that you've gotten rid of the superficial rough stuff, hydrate and protect your skin with a decent serum and/or moisturizer. Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, such as derma-e's Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum. Hyaluronic acid is a compound capable of retaining up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, so no matter what your skin type, this will help to keep you looking and feeling fresh.
If your skin naturally begins to dry out (become oil-poor) in cooler, more arid weather, add a moisturizer that contains nourishing oils such as sweet almond, jojoba or evening primrose. Yes To Carrots Repairing Night Cream is a great paraben-free option. Those who suffer from eczema or psoriasis during drier months should look for a moisturizer that can help reduce the itchiness that comes with dry skin while sealing the damaged dermatological barrier. A good option might be Dermalogica's Barrier Repair.
3. Right in the kisser! Chapped, cracked lips can be downright painful. Invest in a decent lip protectant before the cold really kicks in to prevent the onset of damage.
Look for moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax and vitamin E. Sara Happ's The Lip Slip is a treat, featuring soothing sweet almond, jojoba and macadamia nut oils. (Their Brown Sugar Lip Scrub is also to die for; a friend gave me a jar last year, and I've been a fan ever since.)
If you want to go the extra mile, use a lip protectant with SPF such as Yes To Carrots Pomegranate Lip Butter with SPF 15. And remember: If you're someone who only uses lip treatments in the cooler months, be sure to throw out last year's product. Not only has the SPF most likely expired, but it has also probably accumulated more bacteria than you'd care to know about.
4. Stick with your SPF. Just because you will be spending less time in the sun doesn't mean that you should forgo your SPF routine. The incidental sun and weather exposure we encounter on our daily commutes is just as damaging; environmental conditions such as smog and pollution rob our skin of vital oxygen, and loss of oxygen leads to free-radical damage, premature aging and eczema. Sunscreen helps keep your skin barrier intact, keeping the good stuff in (i.e. oxygen, H2O) and the bad stuff out (i.e. free-radicals). If you need help choosing a sunscreen, check out this guide.
Hydration is key in maintaining a healthy glow, and just a few simple adjustments as the weather cools can make all the difference. So as you swap out your sandals for boots, think about stepping up your skincare routine as well.