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Have you ever gone on holidays and found that either your skin cleared up completely or flared up massively? This is because your skin is your pelt and its main function is to protect you from environmental changes. It responds to your external environment by producing more or less oil or sebum, and by holding onto water or losing it through sweating. So, if you get on a plane in Winter and get off several hours later in Summer, or vice versa, your skin goes through a dramatic change.
Many people I see in clinic notice a change in their skin that correlates with a change in seasons. Some people develop a skin condition after migrating to a new country because the climate their skin has been accustomed to their whole life is so different. Add to this the change of diet and the stress of moving and leaving family behind and you have the perfect conditions for a chronic skin disorder to occur.
Changing your skincare routine with the seasons or extreme climatic changes can help prevent a lot of problems. Using a richer moisturiser in cold conditions or when facing air conditioning on a plane can save you from problematic holiday skin. Using a lighter moisturiser in warm, humid conditions will help your skin adapt to the need for less oil production. Having a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids and low in inflammatory foods will also help with adaption.
Eczema typically gets worse in winter because people are constantly going from a cold exterior to a warm, heated interior. Air conditioning and heating dry the skin out and cold weather aggravates the skin. Some people develop eczema or psoriasis for the first time in winter when their skin gets too dry. Using Dr Michael’s Daily Moisturiser after showering can help protect your skin throughout Winter. Washing with Dr Michael’s Moisturising Bar (soap-free) will also help to heal and soothe dry, inflamed skin.
Acne typically gets worse in Summer for those with naturally oily skin but can actually improve in Summer for those with dry skin. Dr Michael’s AR-Cream* is perfect for acne or rosacea-prone skin throughout the year because it is moisturising without being too oily, and it is anti-inflammatory to help protect your skin from the elements. Use Dr Michael’s Healinex Lotion* for oily skin with active acne. It helps to reduce oil production and improve the bacterial microflora on the skin’s surface. If you have combination skin with an oily T-Zone just use the Healinex lotion in the oily areas.
A gentle foam cleanser to remove dirt and excess oil is useful all year round but you may also need to gently exfoliate your skin to unclog blocked pores, thereby preventing blackheads and pimples. Use Dr Michael’s Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser once daily for moderate to severe acne or twice weekly for mild acne or just for prevention. For major breakouts I recommend Honevo Acne or Honevo Red (pharmaceutical-grade Kanuka honey), and this can be useful to have in your toiletry bag for emergencies. It is good for acne, folliculitis, rosacea, and inflamed eczema or psoriasis (unless you have bee product allergies).
So the next time you travel don’t just pack appropriate clothing for the season, but think of your skin too. Be prepared to support your skin through the environmental changes you expect to face and have some emergency products on hand to deal with the unexpected.
For chronic skin conditions and for advice tailored to your skin’s needs book a consultation.
*AR-Cream and Healinex Lotion are prescription-only and are only available to existing patients of Auckland Skin Clinic. The rest of the products mentioned here are available to purchase through my website.