Every time I think I’ve figured out what combination of skincare products that work best for me, the seasons change and so does my skin’s affinity to those products. Take, for example, this summer when I found the most luscious moisturiser for my dry-as-a-desert skin. I loved that tub to death while the sun was out but now that it’s pouring outside, I just can’t find the courage to reach out for such a thick formula. So I started to wonder whether this was a me problem or if there really is such a thing as seasonal skincare?
We spoke to Dr. Soma Sarkar, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, to understand the importance of seasonally changing your skincare.
ELLE: Is it necessary to change our skincare routines seasonally?
Dr. Soma Sarkar (SS): Yes, it is absolutely necessary to change your skincare routine according to the seasons we are in. For example, in summers we require extra hydration while in monsoons we want something non-greasy that is also water-proof. Normally, I like to keep my actives as they are throughout the year, but switch up my sunscreens, cleansers and moisturisers.
ELLE: Is it better to have a consistent skincare routine throughout the year, or change routines seasonally?
SS: Following a skincare routine is must throughout the year irrespective of the season. So cleansing, toning, moisturising and applying sunscreen are non-negotiables. But yes, seasonal changes are sometimes required because when the environment around us is changing, so is the PH balance, moisture content and microbium on the skin. It thus needs to adapt to that external environment with the help of seasonally-appropriate skincare products. This will in turn allow you to maintain healthy and glowing skin no matter what the season.
ELLE: Which skincare product is absolutely essential throughout the year regardless of the season?
SS: Sunscreen is the holy grail of our skincare routine and is required irrespective of the season. Even during monsoons when it’s dark and gloomy outside, you still have to use your sunscreen. The rays of the sun might be a little filtered due to the clouds, but you’re still going to be affected by its UV rays. So it’s a mandate–irrespective of the season, whether you’re indoors or outdoors–to use a sunscreen.
ELLE: If we transition from one skincare routine to the other, should we do it one product at a time?
SS: I would suggest taking it one step at a time, I wouldn’t change everything together. So for somebody transitioning routines, it’s easiest to change cleansers and moisturisers. Sunscreens are not required to be changed as often. However, if you’re going into extremely dehydrating weather, you switch from mattifying to gel formulations.
ELLE: In the case of actives that show results after long term use, should we be switching them up seasonally as well?
SS: Vitamin C can be used throughout the year because it doesn’t get affected by anything in the environment when stored properly. When it comes to retinol, however, I would take it a little more carefully because it tends to dry the skin out. So in the winters when your skin can get parched, I’d suggest reducing the application of retinol to the weekends. During monsoons when i’s rather pleasant outside, retinol can be used more regularly.
You don’t have to change the actives in your skincare routine basis the season you’re in, but playing around with frequency of application and products surrounding your actives can help them perform even better.
ELLE: In this day and age of skincare trends overwhelming us, what would you suggest as the most basic skincare routine?
SS: Regardless of skincare trends, I always try to keep it very simple and straight forward. But along with following a consistent CTM (+sunscreen) routine, you need to make sure you’re using products that suit your individual needs. For example, if you have oily and acne-prone skin, I’d suggest you use a face wash containing salicylic or glycolic acid. As for moisturiser, you should use light, gel based formulations that don’t feel heavy or clog your pores. On the other hand, when it comes to dry and dehydrated skin, you can use oil or lipid based moisturisers with more creamy formulations.
ELLE: Seeing that the monsoons are here, should we change anything in our skincare routines?
SS: In the monsoons we’re bound to get drenched. So I like to incorporate glycolic or mandalic acid in my cleansers. When it comes to moisturisers, I’d suggest cream based ones that have ceramides and lipids to keep the skin hydrated. As for sunscreen, I’d suggest using one that offers a matte finish so that it doesn’t get washed away with the rain.
All in all, I think a simple skincare routine that you can tweak seasonally is the way to go!