This is what really happens to our skin as the seasons change

Sarah Carty

If you're anything like us, spring cleaning doesn't just apply to our house but our skincare routine too.

Just like you change your wardrobe as the seasons change, the majority of people may also need to switch up their three-step skincare process or else they could end up with a multitude of skin issues.

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From the air-conditioning in work in summer to the hot sticky weather outside and the overbearing dryness in winter, your skin needs to be protected from the environment just like you would any other body part.

Miranda Kerr knows what's up when it comes to switching up her skincare. Photo: Instagram.

We spoke to the experts to find out what really happens to our skin as the seasons change and how we can combat the dreaded itchy, flakey skin in winter and high-shine in summer.

Warm weather issues

Paula Begoun, Founder of Paula’s Choice, told Be that moving from winter to warmer weather can make oil (sebum) melt inside the pore, which causes liquefied oil to flood the skin's surface, resulting in a shiny appearance.

As if that wasn't enough, she said the increase in sweat in the summer mixed with the oil can make your skin look extremely greasy and may even be uncomfortable.

To combat it, she recommends using a thorough gel or foaming cleanser to be sure you are cleaning all the oil off your skin and reducing the amount of creamy or rich moisturiser or just stop using it altogether.

"If you don't have dry skin, you really don't need moisturiser in the traditional sense of the word - that is, thick lotions and creams. Instead, consider a well-formulated toner, gel, or serum to give your skin the essential substances it needs (antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-identical ingredients) to stay young without adding oil or emollients," she said.

For controlling that dreaded shine in the summer, Paula recommends keeping some oil blotting papers in your handbag to help absorb all that excess sweat and oil - plus they're great for on-the-go touch-ups.

Don't forget to follow up with sun protection even if your skin is already feeling oily. Try a mattifying one or use a foundation and pressed powder with sunscreen instead.

If you aren't already using a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) exfoliant, Paula said now is a good time to start.

"BHA can penetrate into the pore to exfoliate built-up skin cells that clog pores and lead to breakouts. A well-formulated BHA exfoliant also can help fade discolourations that result from sun damage and get rid of blackheads. What's not to love about that," she said.

Skin expert Marie Enna-Cocciolone told Be she recommends swapping your super nourishing winter moisturiser for a lighter but still hydrating alternative.

"Take your cleansing game to the next level by combining a gentle antioxidant cleanser with the O sonic cleansing device to remove trapped dirt and excess sebum and exfoliate regularly to slough away any remaining dead skin cells," she said.

Make-up artist Sonia Allen says sheet masks like the Klara Cosmetics Reset Dragon’s Blood Face Mask (available from Priceline) can also act as a booster and give your skin the moisture it needs in the summer without making your complexion oily.

Sonia recommends Klara Cosmetics Reset Dragon’s Blood Face Mask.

Preventing autumn and winter dryness

Winter is for weekend retreats to cabins in the mountains, for slow cooked meals and mulled wine. It is unfortunately also a time our skin suffers from dullness.

According to Sonia, this is the time to bring out detoxifying and brightening masks like the Sukin Oil Balancing Plus Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque or the Natio Apricot & Orange 10 Minute Brightening Mask.

And you can always fake it till you make it. Cue illuminating BB Creams and primers.

If your skin starts feeling drier, flaky, or itchy during the cold months, here's what you can do to make your skin feel smooth and comfortable again.

Tracey Beeby, Head of Global Training at Ultraceuticals told Be that the cooler months for any skin type may lead to dehydration due to heaters, air conditioning and extended hot showers.

This leads to vital moisture loss and bacteria may be able to penetrate the skin easier than before.

"This breaks down collagen and elastin, creating premature ageing," she said.

Paula Begoun claims changing your cleanser - both facial and body- from a gel or foaming water-soluble solution to one that's rich and creamy and your toner to a moisturising one could work wonders for you skin.

You may also need a more emollient moisturiser loaded with ingredients that help keep moisture in your skin (glycerin, ceramides, fatty acids, and hyaluronic acid are just a few examples).

Your moisturiser also should contain anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce irritation, cell-communicating ingredients to help skin produce normal skin cells, and antioxidants to fight off free-radical damage.

At night, you can also add a serum loaded with those ingredients to your skincare routine to protect your skin while you sleep and during the day don't forget your sunscreen.

Sukin Oil Balancing Plus Charcoal Anti-Pollution Facial Masque.

"Even if you don't see much sun where you live, and even when the hours of daylight are reduced, sun protection is essential—year-round! Your skin can withstand any climate change better when it isn't being damaged day in and day out by the sun," Paula said.

For cracked lips she recommends a lip exfoliant and follow up with a rich, emollient lip balm for super smooth lips and for dry cracked skin she said applying a cream or lotion containing 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate built-up skin cells that lead to dull skin, clogged pores, and breakouts.

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