Now that the scorching temps and sticky, humid summers are behind us, Hong Kong’s cooler and drier weather calls for more attention to our skin, which can become more sensitive in the autumn.
Just like how we swap out flip-flops for boots, our skincare routine also needs a makeover to keep up with the seasonal change. When lightweight moisturisers don’t cut it anymore, follow these expert-approved skincare swaps and tips to make a seamless transition from summer to fall.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
As we transition into the drier and cooler months, the tendency of trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) increases significantly, which can lead to a plethora of skin problems such as dryness, irritation and sensitivity, says Christal Leung, founder and product development specialist of Skin Need.
The solution? Hydration. Look for humectants such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 when choosing a moisturiser, or start reintroducing retinol into your routine. “Many of us have scaled back on retinol over the summer to avoid photosensitivity due to frequent outdoor activities, it’s time to reverse the sun damage using this age-defying ingredient.”
Up your mask game
No, we’re not talking about the surgical face mask you’ve been wearing every day. On days when we’re too lazy to apply layer upon layer of skincare, hydrating face masks are our best bet.
“A good mask should incorporate a variety of humectants from low to high molecular weights, offering surface moisturisation to immediately induce skin suppleness, while delivering below-the-surface moisturising factors to help retain moisture from within the skin,” says Leung. She recommends Skin Need’s Aqua Infusion Mask series, which comes in four different formulas targeting specific skin conditions.
So, when’s the best time to apply a face mask? The answer is: it depends. “If the mask is packed with nutrients and promotes skin renewal, one of the best times to use it would be after having cleansed your skin thoroughly following an intense workout, when the body’s circulation flow rate is high,” explains Leung.
For gel and cream masks, it’s a good idea to smooth on a thick layer onto the skin before stepping into a warm bath. “As the high temperature of a hot bath induces the evaporation of skin moisture, the gel or cream mask functions as a perforated and lightweight barrier on the skin surface to nourish the skin while reducing moisture loss.”
If you’ve been opting for oil-free and water-based products to accommodate more SPF applications during summer, you may want to add oil content to your daily skincare routine.
“Our skin is made of 65% water and the rest is oil. That’s why it’s important to keep the hydro-lipidic barrier strong to enable oil to envelope water molecules, preventing hydrant evaporation and let the oil support the inner structure of the skin,” says Ada Ooi, celebrity facialist and founder of 001 Skincare London. The easiest way is to add a step after your water-based serum using a light oil serum that contains natural plant oils of low comedogenic ratings such as grapeseed, sweet almond and rice bran oil.
To exfoliate or not to exfoliate? As the weather gets cooler, it’s best to cut back on harsh ingredients like glycolic acid, says Ooi, who recommends opting for lactic acid as an AHA to slough off dead skin cells and low dose of salicylic acid to loosen pore linings and clear those clogged pores and blackheads.
“The beginning of autumn means cutting back on exfoliation from four times a week to two or three,” adds Olive Wong, founder of INUF (I Never Use Foundation Breakfast Club), who swears by the INUF Exfoliate: Overnight Detoxifier, a gentle and mild mixed-plants acidic mist that helps breaking down dead skin cells while igniting skin-renewing and collagen-stimulating effects.