The changing seasons have more of an impact on our health, wellness and hormonal variances than we may realise, all of which can affect the skin. Sure, you may have noticed that your skin tends to dry out a little more in winter compared to other months, and the skin may become oily when it’s hot, but did you know that there are deeper clinical effects of seasonal change on the appearance and health of your skin?
According to a recent study conducted on millions of blood samples analysing the hormone levels in men and women between the ages of 20 and 50 according to the months of the year, testosterone levels were higher in women closer to April, and dipped as they approached summer. Research shows that cortisol–the stress hormone–also follows seasonal patterns, increasing in warmer weather.
It’s not surprising then, that the summer months may bring more unwanted acne breakouts for many women, as higher testosterone is known to increase the risk of acne, and cortisol released in excess can increase sebum production, redness and breakdown in elastin and collagen.
Dr Bradley Wagemaker, Medical Director at Lamelle Pharmaceuticals, suggests that as South Africans transition into spring and anticipate much warmer weather ahead, it’s important to reevaluate skincare routines to accommodate the changes and any potential hormonal shifts that are likely to occur.
“As the weather heats up, there is also more moisture in the air and, as a result, higher humidity,” says Dr Wagemaker. “Contrary to popular belief, the reason why we’re more likely to break out in warmer weather is not because our pores are more ‘open’ during summer. This is a myth.
“Rather, it’s the humidity that causes us to sweat resulting in excess sebum and dirt that clog the pores. What’s more, we’re more likely to touch our faces to wipe away sweat and feel cooler, causing bacterial infections to set in resulting in acne breakouts,” he adds.
Wagemaker says that gentle AHA exfoliation for your skin is a good idea in spring and summer, rather than a harsh scrub. If your skin tends to be more sensitive and susceptible to redness and irritation, he suggests rather using an everyday gentle foaming cleanser containing natural ingredients and mild surfactants with Zinc to calm, soothe, and lower the risk of irritation.
For skin that is more acne prone than others, this time of year calls for an extra defence against breakouts. “Consider taking a daily supplement that contains Niacinamide and Zinc, which are both helpful in calming inflamed skin and giving existing pimples a chance to heal while preventing the formation of more breakouts,” says Dr Wagemaker.
A Niacinamide and Zinc-enriched supplement, in conjunction with a topical spot treatment, will go a long way towards controlling inflammatory breakouts and keeping your skin spot free throughout summer and beyond.
Understanding how your body and hormones react to environmental factors, including seasonal changes, is your best defence against breakouts, ageing, dry skin and other skin health issues. By taking the right skincare steps and using the right products now, you can also ensure the best results regardless of the season of life you find yourself in.