As the seasons change, so do our skin’s needs, which is why we should revisit our skincare routines regularly. We’ve enlisted the help of Abigail James, a highly sought-after London aesthetician and author of Love Your Skin, to get the low-down on the changes we should be making to our beauty routines come autumn. (Psst… did you know Abigail James has made an appearance on the We Are Women podcast? Have a listen to episode 10, all about self-care.)
A change of season is often a good time to review your at-home skincare routine. Personally, I’m not sure I enjoy my summer skincare routine as much as I do the rest of the year, I feel you can focus more on skin treatments in the colder months without worrying about humidity and the effects of the sun. The changing temperature and lower UV levels are an obvious focus, but there are also noticeable changes in humidity and our lifestyle habits. We tend to spend more time indoors, produce lower levels of vitamin D, wear warmer clothing, start depending more on central heating… Our diets change too, being less full of fresh salads and refreshing watery drinks and shifting towards warmer, heartier foods and warming drinks, all of which can have an impact on how your skin is looking and feeling.
Protect yourself from the winter sun
The first thing you might be tempted to do (but really shouldn’t!) is stop using SPF – this is one step I urge you to continue throughout the year. The sun might not be burning as strongly and turning your skin golden, however the damaging UVA rays are around all year, so keep up with the daily SPF.
Now is the perfect time to focus on rebalancing some hyperpigmentation that might have become more visible over the summer months. You can do this by adding active ingredients such as kojic acid, liquorice root or vitamin C to your daily routine after cleansing and before moisturising – serums work great. These will work on brightening and reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation. If you’re able to treat yourself to a salon visit, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments are a great way to help reduce their appearance as well.
With the nights drawing in, you might find yourself with a little more time to take 5 minutes to yourself
Keep skin dryness under control
At the beginning of autumn, you’ll notice the air starts losing its humidity, which can cause your skin to become a little drier. But don’t worry, there are a few ways to remedy this! You can focus on adding moisture directly into your skin by using a hyaluronic acid serum or trying a hydrating tonic, or you can look for moisturisers and creams with ceramides in, these help replace any lost moisture between the skin cells, so they’re great for supporting the skin’s natural barrier.
Indulge in a face massage
To me, a face massage is a key part to any at-home skincare routine… With the nights drawing in, you might find yourself with a little more time to take 5 minutes to yourself to treat your skin and relax. I usually start by gently cleansing my face. Once it’s patted dry, I then take my favourite face oil and take 5 to 10 minutes to apply it gently on my face, neck and decollete, letting go of any worries and just focusing on the self massage. If you ever feel like you don’t have the time, I find it’s also great to do in the bath or shower while your hair conditioner is on.
Stick to a weekly face mask
Get into the habit of a weekly mask. Autumn can lead to dull-looking and drier skin, so I’d go for one with enzymes and AHAs in (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) to exfoliate, brighten and nourish – these will help keep the skin cell turnover at its optimum without over-stripping it, while adding some hydration. Pumpkins are actually packed with skin-loving enzymes so would also be a great choice (and you can’t get any more seasonal than that!).
Try face oils in the evening
Face oils are a love of mine, to massage with but also to apply in the evening after a bath. During the summer you might avoid them due to humidity, so now is a lovely time of year to sneak them back into your skincare routine, especially if your skin is feeling a little dry.
In the evening, try the following routine: cleanse, exfoliate with a tonic, apply a lightweight serum, then finish with a small amount of oil. No need to over-massage at this point in your routine, keep that for your separate face massage sessions and your cleansing. This routine is perfect to do right before bed, allowing the oil to work its magic overnight.