Ready to Set Seasonal Skin Goals? We’ve Got Strategic Fixes For Misbehaving Skin

A woman washing her face

Nope, you’re not imagining it. When the weather turns, so does your skin. As we trade summer’s humidity and open-window policy for drier, recirculated air, our skin can get a little peeved. You know you’re dealing with irksome seasonal skin issues when it starts looking flaky, dull or generally lacklustre.

Not to worry! Your skin is not the boss of you! With a little TLC and the right products you can improve the sitch, pronto.

Seasonal skin – self-care options

According to Graydon Moffat, founder of the eponymous plant-powered line Graydon Skincare, a few tweaks to your daily routine is key to managing the seasonal shift. And remember, she says “less is always more” when starting with new products. “If you just start slathering on a heavy cream or a lot of oil-based serums, your face may not like that. You don’t want to shock your skin and then be annoyed with an angry outcome like rosacea or acne. Know yourself.”

Vancouver dermatologist Dr. Katie Beleznay agrees. Getting intimate with your needs is key to skin’s good health. “I encourage people to develop an understanding of their own skin. If you are someone who deals with flare ups, then try to identify triggers that can be managed or eliminated, which may include avoiding things such as fragrance.”

Here are four easy steps to start today (or tomorrow) for happier seasonal skin, asap.

Step 1: Cleansing

“Foaming cleansers might be more popular in humid months, but the milky cleanser is often a person’s best friend come fall,” says Moffat. “It’s a great proactive technique to deal with the dry, dehydrated skin that you know is on its way, thanks to forced air and heaters. A milky cleanser can really help to gently prime your skin to be able to absorb more hydration.”

Step 2: Exfoliation

“It’s easy to overdo it with harsh exfoliants – whether they be physical or chemical. So, something like a bamboo charcoal sponge will help to dislodge dead skin cells and allow your face to absorb more of the goodness that you’re applying on to it,” says Moffat.

Step 3: Serums

A good serum can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Oil- or water-based? Why not try both! “A good technique, that’s easy for everybody, is what I call the smoothie effect,” says Moffat. “Add a couple of drops of a water-based serum and an oil-based serum in the palm of your hand and blend for a bespoke approach. If you want more water-based serum for dehydrated skin as opposed to oil-based serum for dry skin, then it’s easy to customize.”

Step 4: SPF

Yep, even though we’re leaving the hot summer sun behind, its colder cousin still packs a UV punch. So, SPF up, ladies! “No skincare routine is complete without SPF,” says Dr. Beleznay. ”I recommend using an SPF of at least 30 or higher every day. The benefits of SPF are vast, from preventing skin cancer to helping prevent pigmentation and signs of aging. A moisturizer with SPF can be suitable as your main source of face sun protection if it has SPF 30+ and you apply the right amount – same as you would a pure sunscreen.”

All sounds easy enough, right? But, does it make sense to try everything at once, or should we introduce products one by one?

“I think it really depends on the person,” says Moffat. “It could be overwhelming for the person who just has a lot on the go and isn’t as in tune with how their skin is responding. On the reactivity side, if you are introducing too many things at once, and you know that you have really sensitive skin, maybe less is more, like adding one thing at a time.”

Looking for more cleansing options? Here are our beauty journalist’s faves!

Seasonal skin – clinic-care options

Looking for a little profesh help to bridge the seasonal skin transition? We caught up with Skin6 founder Jeremy Tebbutt for his take on what works best when dealing with summer’s hangover of skin issues.

Seasonal skin issue: Sunspots

A summer of sun can heighten the appearance of sunspots and freckles, but there’s an easy fix if you want to zap them away. “My personal favourite is a laser treatment called IPL,” saysTebbutt of intense pulsed light therapy. “This comfortable and quick treatment helps to remove sunspots, freckles and age spots.” Of note, not everyone is a candidate for this treatment  – the technology works best when there is a strong contrast between skin colour and spot. Check with your practitioner before booking.

Seasonal skin issue: Dullness

The best clinical way to deal with this common transitional issue is to remove the top layer of skin. Tebbutt recommends a chemical peel, an exfoliating treatment that will smooth the surface layers of your skin, boosting brightening while minimizing sun damage. Micro-needling, which works by causing micro-breaks in the skin and forcing your body to stimulate collagen and elastin production as part of the ”healing” process, also treats sun damage by providing exfoliation/resurfacing/hydration benefits, especially when it’s combined with an hyaluronic acid treatment, which Skin6 offers, Tebbutt says.

Seasonal skin issue: Laxity

Does your fall face look older than your spring mug? Maybe laxity won the aging battle while you were doing other things this summer. Laxity occurs naturally with age, given that collagen and fibrin (proteins within the skin) deplete. “Thankfully, there are ways to help increase collagen/fibrin levels,” says Tebbutt. PRP micro-needling, the so-called “vampire facial” is one way to stimulate collagen and improve the effects of laxity, he says. Here’s the deal: At your appointment a nurse will draw your blood, then centrifuge it so that your platelets (that the PRP par – Platelet Rich Plasma) are separated from your blood and then micro-injecting back into your skin. Sound like too much? A less invasive way to improve laxity is via radio-frequency treatments such as Forma, which uses heat technology to slowly lower skin’s temperature to a level that signals collagen production.

Ready to get your best seasonal skin yet? Here’s an assortment of our top product picks to help you manage the transition.

Graydon Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge, $16. An eco-friendly and gentle way to exfoliate skin. The sponge, lasts up to four months, is made up of biodegradable plant fibre sponges.

Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50 $18. It lets you skip a step while still ensuring you get your SPF. Offering fast-absorbing hydration, it’s good for all skin types, and non-comedogenic, too.

Laneige Perfect Renew Youth Serum, $79. This serum addresses changes to skin texture and loss of radiance, while also re-energizing it; thanks to a trio of essential amino acids and wild butterfly ginger root.

Glow Guava Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum, $59. Multiple forms of vitamin C combine with guava and tranexamic and ferulic acids to brighten your complexion while softening the look of dark spots.

Graydon Aloe Milk Cleanser, $33. This gentle, creamy cleanser also tones and freshens thanks to the uplifting and sebum-balancing pink grapefruit and geranium.

Celeb MUA Victoria Radford says this is the miracle for looking younger.


Welcome to Pretty Healthy, FLEETSTREET’s in-depth series. Beauty starts with healthy skin and hair, and this column delivers the goods on making that a reality.