With summer officially over and the darker nights drawing in, we asked Professor Niki Ralph, Consultant Dermatologist on the skincare swaps to make now.
Autumn is a time for resetting (and not just the clocks). There's a briskness to the early mornings, the leaves are turning a familiar shade of gold and you're probably finding yourself reaching for cosy layers for the first time in months.
Around this time of year, the drop in temperature, too much artificial heat, not enough sunlight— and now the addition of face masks — can throw our skin out of whack, often leaving it begging for more hydration, nourishment, and all-round TLC.
But before you seek solace in the heaviest moisturiser in your skincare stash, know that there are a number of other things to be aware of when it comes to prepping your skin for the transition into autumn.
For a guaranteed year-round glow, we asked Consultant Dermatologist, Professor Niki Ralph for her advice.
Keep Your Barrier Strong
As we move into the colder months, our skin is exposed to a new raft of environmental stressors which can compromise the skin's barrier function and allow moisture to evaporate while letting irritants in, so it's important to seek out products with ingredients that will help to keep that protective layer healthy and strong.
"Altering your skincare routine gives your skin the tools it needs to perform optimally. Moisturisers which contain ingredients such as glycerin (a humectant that draws water into the outer layer of skin) and shea butter (an emollient that works to smooth and soften) are ideal for the skin" says Prof. Ralph.
"My go-to daily body moisturiser is La Roche-Posay's Lipikar AP+M Baume which creates smooth and soothed skin with visibly reduced dryness."
Try: La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+M
Hotter Isn't Always Better
You might be tempted to crank up the thermostat to keep things cosy in the depths of autumn but heated, low-humidity environments can cause us to lose more moisture from our skin into the air.
And while hot, steamy showers might seem tempting, the freeze/thaw effect caused by hopping between temperatures can lead to dry, sensitive skin, especially for those with pre-existing skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, or rosacea.
"Therefore, it's important to keep the water lukewarm, rather than hot, and to take short showers or baths. Aim for 5 -10mins with an added bath emollient to lock in moisture."
Try: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Cleansing Oil AP+
Neither is Heavier
At this time of the year, when your skin starts to feel parched, reactive or so tight it feels a size too small for your face, it's easy to want to slather yourself in a heavy moisturiser with the hopes it will restore, calm, and comfort, but that's not necessarily the case.
"Moisturising the skin involves the use of a product which either attracts, binds, or traps moisture. Types of moisturiser include humectants, emollients, and occlusive, however, not all are suitable for every skin type. For those with sensitive, dry or itchy skin, any of the above moisturisers are perfect," says Prof. Ralph.
However, moisturisers that are too occlusive - if used on oily, belimsh-prone skin or on the thin skin around the eyes - may lead to breakouts. To add even more hydration to the skin, Prof. Ralph recommends layering a lightweight hyaluronic serum under your regular moisturiser.
Try: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum
Glow on With VitAmin C
Vitamin C should play a role in your skincare routine year-round, but the ingredient can be especially useful at this time of the year to boost radiance, and layering your products in the correct order will ensure you get the most out of them.
Great team players, hydrating and nourishing serum ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin can be paired with the glow-giving vitamin C as part of your morning routine for skin that's soft, supple and seriously fresh-looking.
Try: La Roche-Posay's Vitamin C10 Serum
Never Skip SPF
Despite deceptive weather conditions, UVA rays are just as strong in the colder months as they are in summer, and are, therefore, just as likely to cause serious damage.
"Any part of the skin that is exposed to UV rays should always be protected with sunscreen. With the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen you are protecting yourself from harmful free radicals and UVA/UVB rays," explains Ralph.
"A major factor of premature aging is the damage over years of exposure to UVA rays, even as UVB is less intense during winter months. Most Irish people have fair skin which is more prone to the effects of the sun such as increased freckling, brown spots on the face, and broken capillaries. Using an SPF on a year-round basis will protect against these skin changes and reduce one’s risk of developing skin cancer."
Try: La Roche-Posay's Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+
La Roche-Posay is recommended by dermatologists worldwide. It's skincare formulated with high efficacy and safety standards to address a wide range of skin needs, including sensitive and blemish-prone skin and sun protection.
Available to purchase at Meaghers Pharmacy.