By Alexia Inge
Autumn is huffing and puffing like a stroppy teenager and that means blustery winds, central heating, sniffs, snivels and a change in diet to more stodgy, less leafy foods. If you add the fact that our skin is only just recovering from a UV beating over the summer, it is easy to see why we need to ease it into the new season with a few updates to our skincare regimes.
Exfoliate Do not try and cling on to the last shreds of brownness. A patchy, peeling tan will never look as good as a smooth and even complexion. There are two types of exfoliator which will help achieve the desired effect - chemical (based on glycolic or lactic acid which help break down the bonds that hold grime to the surface of the skin) and physical (which use friction to get dirt moving.) The other upside to exfoliating the skin is that it prepares it like a canvas, helping your moisturizer sink in more quickly and evenly and therefore allowing it to be more effective.
It is all too easy to forget about this part of a beauty routine and then over do it when you do decide to exfoliate. As with most things, little and often is best: chemical exfoliation should be undertaken about once a week and physical can be done up to twice a week. Be gentle and do not scrub too hard otherwise you can take off the skin's natural protection and small scratches could become infected and cause redness or even spots.
Moisturize When the radiators are turned back on, our indoor environments become super arid and this is what causes most of our skin problems in the autumn and winter months - much more than the heavy weather. Using a good moisturizer will not only make the skin feel smoother and more plumped but it will also stop the skin loosing any further moisture. Try adding a serum under a moisturizer to give skin a real boost and make sure you have a night cream in your routine to give skin extra nocturnal nourishment.
It is a misnomer that rich, thick moisturizing creams cause spots, bacteria cause blemishes: if you have a breakout, it is more likely that the ingredients do not suit your skin type (look for the words non-comodogenic on packaging if you are spot-prone). Keep searching for the perfect autumn/winter moisturizer and your skin will thank you next spring.
Complexion Correction Tinted moisturizer, complexion enhancer and foundation - who can live without them in autumn/winter? Make sure you choose a colour that is appropriate to less sun-kissed skin, to avoid the classic tidemark jawline. Unfortunately, whilst there are some amazing products on the market, a foundation that strikes the perfect balance between moisturization and staying-put, has yet to be achieved. It is simply a case of compromising and deciding which matters more to you and works with your skin-type.
SPF Ensure that you have suitable sun protection in one or more of your products. UVA rays still penetrate through clouds and glass and they are also the nasties that cause cells to mutate and in the longer term, cause cancer. Ideally this protection should be in a moisturiser or primer to make sure it reaches all areas of the face. (Foundation should only be applied to areas that need evening out, so not as effective for SPFs.)
Lips The thinner skin of lips can feel seriously exposed at this time of year and needs its own pampering. It is fine to exfoliate lips but do not do it too often and then choose lip products that moisturize; have an SPF and that are as natural as possible. It is estimated that women consume between 4-7lbs of lip products over their lifetime - so where possible, reduce the chemical content.
With a few simple measures it is easy to have beautiful skin this autumn/winter and avoid feeling like you need to hibernate until spring is back with us.
Submitted by Alexia Inge, Brand Director at Cult Beauty. Cult Beauty is an online beauty boutique and blog that casts its net globally to cherry-pick the best beauty, grooming and skin products. Backed by advice from an esteemed panel of beauty experts, Cult Beauty is the savviest, most authoritative beauty guide online.