Prepping Skin for Autumn: My Favorite Tips & Recipes
Prepping Skin for Autumn: My Favorite Tips & Recipes
The transition into autumn brings vibrantly colored leaves, crisp morning air, cozy knit scarves and sweaters, pumpkins and wintery fare, and all things quintessentially fall. It also brings colder temperatures, dry and windy weather, and more time indoors where the heated air is dry and low in humidity. This change in conditions can wreak havoc on our skin, causing it to become unbalanced, dry, flaky, chapped, and may cause acne even for those who usually don't experience breakouts. So, if you've had dry skin recently or acne when you usually don't, then the shift in seasons could be the culprit!
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by this or don't know where to start, I wrote this article for you! Here are my favorite skincare tips to help your skin throughout this transition so that it can stay healthy and balanced during the autumn and winter months.
1. Listen to your skin. This seems obvious, but sometimes we don't pay attention to the clues that our skin is naturally giving us, instead continuing with our usual routines and wondering why the products that we used last season no longer seem effective. Simply watch your skin and see what it needs. Is it becoming more dry? Do you have patches of flaky or rough skin? Acne when you usually don't? Does your skin look dull, rather than fresh and healthy? If so, read on because I have tips, recipes, and information to share with you! This is the perfect time to listen to your skin, reassess your skincare needs, and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Exfoliate! As the weather becomes colder, our skin can become dry, and then our body creates more oils to combat the dryness. The additional oil plus the build-up of dead skin cells can clog pores, cause dull skin, acne, and the inability for moisturizers to penetrate into the skin layers. Exfoliating away those dead and dry skin cells stimulates the skin, helps moisturizers penetrate deeper, and keeps skin smooth and glowing. For best results, exfoliate once per week.
We make a lovely Lavender + Calendula Botanical Facial Scrub with herbs, clays, and finely ground grains which is available in our shop, but you can also make a simple facial scrub at home by grinding oatmeal into a coarse powder and then mixing it with water, tea, honey, or yogurt. In addition, you can also use a silk facial sea sponge daily to gently exfoliate and stimulate your skin.
If you'd like a super easy DIY recipe for body scrub, I have a recipe for Vanilla Sugar Body Polish on our blog which you can access here! This recipe is really delicious, can be made within a few minutes, and moisturizes skin while exfoliating. Your skin will feel so silky-smooth afterwards!
3. Moisturize as much as necessary. During this season, some of us need to increase the moisturize that we're giving our skin, switch to a richer facial serum or lotion, or apply multiple layers of moisturizer. If you have dry or mature skin, or live in a climate that is dry/cold/windy, then applying a thin layer of facial balm (like our Nourishing Botanical Facial Balm) or a plant-based butter (like shea butter) over a base layer of facial serum/oil once the serum has soaked in will really lock in the moisture and create a barrier to protect your skin. It can also be helpful to use a balancing moisturizer during the seasonal transition so that your skin can more easily adapt to the changes without pores becoming clogged (psst, our Sandalwood facial serum for September is a perfect example of this!).
For the body, apply a body oil, lotion, or body butter immediately after bathing or showing to keep skin moisturized and healthy.
And, don't forget about your lips! Our lips don't have glands or pores, which makes them more prone to drying out and becoming chapped. Apply a moisturizing lip balm as needed throughout the day to keep lips nourished and protected.
4. Facial steams. Facial steams cleanse, help remove dirt, oils, impurities, and pollutants from pores, hydrate, purify, relax muscles, and stimulate circulation. After a facial steam, skin feels so renewed, clean, hydrated, and has such a radiant, fresh, and healthy glow! They really are a magical treatment, only take 10 minutes, and can be easily made with many common ingredients.
I wrote a thorough article about the benefits of facial steams, how to properly do a facial steam, common plants that you can harvest for use in facial steams, and provided some DIY facial steam blend recipes that you can make yourself! Here is a link to that article. I also offer botanical facial steam blends in the shop which have been carefully formulated to balance and benefit all skin types. I recommend doing a facial steam once per week if you can, they're so good for your skin!
5. Facial masks. Facial masks deeply cleanse, naturally remove oils, toxins, and impurities, tone and tighten skin, and bring a fresh glow to dull complexions. They're a great way to "reset" your skin and deep cleanse pores.
You can do a simple facial mask with plain clay or with our Lavender + Comfrey Botanical Facial Clay Mask which I make from a blend of powdered herbs, clays, herbal extracts, and pure essential oils. For very dry skin, I like to apply raw honey for a nourishing mask which calms and moisturizes the skin. Honey masks are especially wonderful if your skin has been really dry and needs some extra love.
6. My "secret" spot treatment for acne. I've been using this as a spot treatment for two decades, it's ridiculously simple, so effective, and something that I don't see talked about as much as it should be... tea tree oil! For occasional acne, I simply apply a tiny drop of pure tea tree essential oil directly to the blemish and allow it to dry. I'll do this in the morning and at night, just after washing and toning my face. Don't overdo this treatment because that will cause skin irritation ~ 1-2 spot treatments per day for 2-3 days is all that you'll need to dry up and heal the acne. Tea tree oil is actually one of the few essential oils that can be used undiluted on the skin in small amounts, but if it causes a skin reaction for you, then discontinue use immediately. You can also use a drop of lavender essential oil instead, but I find that tea tree oil is more effective for me. Try it out and see what you think! For me, it's been a magical fix for those occasional times that I experience acne. If essential oils are too strong or irritate your skin, then apply a dab of an alcohol-based herbal extract or witch hazel extract to the spot instead.
7. Use cold or lukewarm water, never hot. Always use cold or lukewarm water when washing your face, never hot water. Hot water strips your skin of natural oils, causing skin to become dry and sometimes irritated. Warm showers and baths are best for the body as well, even though it's so tempting to take long, hot showers when it's cold out!
8. Use gentle cleansers and toners. Strong cleansers and toners can be too harsh for the skin, stripping away the beneficial and necessary oils that our skin naturally produces. Using gentle cleansers and toners keeps our skin balanced and healthy, while still cleaning away dirt, debris, and impurities. Our line of botanical facial wash and botanical toners are gentle and nourishing. For the body, we also have a line of botanical body washes which are very gentle and leaves skin feeling soft, clean, and nourished!
9. Hydrate! Inside and out. We all spend more time indoors in the cooler months, and the heated air can really dry out our skin. It can be really helpful to keep a bottle of hydrosol or hydrating spray on hand to use throughout the day whenever skin feels dry. For those of us with dry skin, one of my favorite remedies is to apply a few drops of a facial serum immediately after misting with a hydrosol, and then gently rub the hydrosol + serum blend into the skin. This is a lightweight, hydrating, and moisturizing treatment that can be done as needed throughout the day. If the air inside your home or office is really dry, then you may find it helpful to utilize a humidifier to help balance it out. And, one last tip which may seem obvious, but is so important... Drink plenty of water every day for healthy skin!
I hope that this information is helpful and as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or if there are any topics that you'd like to see in future blog posts!
Owner + Maker, Fawn Lily Botanica