An in-demand dermatologist on the art of transitioning your regimen by season.
Written By Jayme Cyk
Switching Up Your Skin Care Routine | THE VIOLET FILES | @violetgrey


When it comes to maintaining proper skin care, it’s important to follow a few rules: Establish a routine that best addresses your concerns, be vigilant in adhering to your regimen (consider good skin your religion and your nightly routine akin to bedtime prayers), and fine-tune your plan whenever necessary.
As cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman explains, your skin care regimen needs to be updated at least twice a year, particularly when the seasons change. Here, her tips on adjusting your repertoire.

“I don’t care if it’s winter—you still need sunblock,” declares Grossman, adding that the sun is active regardless of whether you can see it. “[The American Academy of Dermatology] recommends an SPF of 30 every day, year round. But the sunscreen you use in the spring and summer may not be hydrating enough in the fall and winter. You probably need to add more elements to draw water into the skin.” 

Skin-tone correction should always be a mainstay in your evening routine—winter, spring, summer, and fall. But it’s important to mitigate the intensity of your anti-aging products in the colder seasons, as ingredients like retinol can be drying. “If you use a retinoid or [prescription] Differin on a daily basis in the summer, you may find that that as the weather changes your face has a harder time tolerating it,” says Grossman. “Try cutting back to every other day in order to keep your skin feeling comfortable and looking good.”

While daily exfoliation during the spring and summer can result in a smooth surface, that’s not always the case in the cooler months. Grossman notes, “Even if you’re tolerating daily home peels or acids, manual exfoliation, microdermabrasion, or Clarisonic use without a problem, you may need to cut back in the fall and winter, as your skin will be more sensitive.”
While those afflicted with oilier skin may be tempted to bring out the big guns, Grossman advises that gentle cleansers are actually your face’s best friend, especially in the winter. “You don’t want to overstrip,” she cautions. She also suggests toning down your alpha-beta hydroxy acids, retinoids, at-home peels, and at-home microdermabrasion for the season. Instead, she advises, “Use a light cleanser or makeup wipe at night. If you’re feeling a little dry, you can use a hyaluronic acid–based gel or a hydrating aloe.” And if you are embarking on a Bahamian vacation or dreaming of next summer? “In warmer and more humid climates, people with oily skin tend to need a lot less moisturization,” Grossman says. 

In general, regardless of the season, Grossman tells her patients to apply serums first, then gels, lotions, and creams—in other words, to move from the least inclusive to the most inclusive (think thinnest to thickest textures). “I tend to encourage people to use a sunscreen-moisturizer combination in the morning and then add moisturizer over that,” she explains. “If you have drier skin, the evening is a great time to go for that really rich nighttime moisturizer. If that’s still not enough, add a hyaluronic gel. You can even mix in some oils for extra hydration. And if you’re super, super dry add an additional oil on top of that.”

“During the fall and winter some people really focus on their skin, but they don’t think about changing their environment,” says Grossman. She recommends adding a humidifier to your bedroom and any other area where you tend to spend a lot of time. “If you’re in a really dry environment already, put central humidity into your whole heating system,” she adds. “If it’s really, really dry you want to double-duty it.”


In polite society, change can be a GOOD thing, particularly as it pertains to lovers, HANDBAGS, and moisturizers.
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