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5 health and beauty habits to adjust for autumn

September 17th 2015 / Anna Hunter


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If you always do what you’ve always done...you know the rest. Get set for a new season health and beauty reviver

Somehow I find the transition between summer and autumn the most brutal. Whereas spring ever so gently takes over the reins from winter, autumn seems to metaphorically punch us in the face as soon as we’ve put down the Pimms. If you were sporting shorts a month ago but now require an actual ark to return safely home from work, plus you’re eyeing up the thermostat longingly, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Make the lifestyle transition more of a plain sailing situation by adjusting your health and beauty habits accordingly. All day drinking wasn’t that fun anyway. Speaking of which…

Get off the G&T train

Barbeques, lunchtime trips to the pub and park picnics all often typically involve a certain degree of slow pickling in booze. Because you start drinking earlier in the day than you normally might, and because this is not only socially acceptable but sometimes the purpose of meeting, you go with the flow. When the flow begins circa 11am, however, days can go somewhat awry or you know, awol. You meant to go to the gym, but you were a bit drunk, or you were intending on eating healthily, but the scotch eggs were just, there. Despite the abundance of fresh produce available during the summer months, it can sometimes be harder to stick to our health guns during sunnier months than even at Christmas time, as we all get a little giddy at the prospect of al fresco frolicking and a consistent supply of someone else’s good quality rosé.

From that respect, a return to a soggy September status quo can actually be quite refreshing. You’re less likely to accept or be offered a drink unthinkingly at a bit of a bonkers time, and you’re more likely to reach for a glass when you actually want it, not simply to conform. Despite darker days you’ll wake up feeling fresher as a result, and have more energy to adopt the ‘back to school’ attitude that’s sweeping the nation. That’s the theory. Failing that, skipping the hot weather happy hours can do wonders for skin that’s already adapting to a change in the seasons, as ELEMIS co-founder and director of product and treatment development Noella Gabriel highlights:

“Alcohol is a diuretic, as the body responds to it by losing extra moisture and water content. This results in skin being very tight and likely dehydrated, and in fact some people can experience extreme sensitivity and high colour as a side effect of drinking. It can also be the culprit behind acne, rosacea and swollen, puffy eyes. I really believe you can enjoy great nights out, but you can’t do it successively or every day and maintain good skin.”

“In my experience alcohol is also one of the most ageing factors on our skin. There is nothing nicer for the body than to give it some breathing space! The body responds very quickly; it’s a creature of renewal. Making even the smallest adjustment to lifestyle will make the skin look fresher, less tired and well cared for.”

Exercise caution

If exercising outdoors, don’t catch your death. There’s no heroism in hauling yourself round the park in hotpants, as Freedom 2 Train founder and ELEMIS fitness expert Steve Mellor emphasises:

“While you don’t need to change a huge amount in terms of your exercise routine, you’ll clearly need to wear warming clothes when exercising outdoors and it’s also wise to increase your warm up time. Anecdotally my clients seem to be quite bit ‘looser’ in the summer months, but it is specific to the person. When it starts to get cold you should focus on breathing through your nose as to warm the air before it hits your airways. Cold air has been shown to increase URTIs (upper respiratory tract infections) and common colds. Breathing through the nose warms the air slightly so that you reduce this.”

Just don’t put your workouts on hold for fear of the flu…

“To see a change you need to be exercising three times a week. Less than this means that there isn’t enough of a stimulus to cause adaptation or change in most people. It also coaches healthy behaviours in other aspects of your week, for example you would be more likely to make healthy food choices in a week when you stick to your exercise goals too.”

“Pick something you like doing at a time that suits you and try to keep it very achievable, then it’s just a case of perseverance. There’s no secret exercise that gets the best results and is super easy unfortunately. Consistency is key!”

Support your skin

If your skin tends to flare up when the leaves fall, quit using the bathroom freebies you nabbed on your summer holiday and start taking your ‘autumn/ winter’ skin as seriously as your ‘summer skin’. Your skin will likely be adjusting to the likes of tights, central heating and biting winds before long (if not...now), so treat it with the same TLC that you give tanned limbs. Noella thinks TLC it starts in the shower:

“It is important to avoid soap, high alkaline products and products with detergents and alcohol as all of these rob the body of any natural oils and feed into skin irritations and dehydration. This is why I would highly recommend the ELEMIS Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, £42, which is prescribed as a nine day recuperation programme for those suffering from psoriasis and skin allergies. This gentle milk whey rich bath product supports the acid mantle and the NMF (natural moisturising factor) of the skin.”

Do ensure said bath isn’t piping hot, however…

“If you’re body is sensitive in any way, extreme heat can cause broken veins. A very hot bath dries out the skin at a rapid rate, and this can even result in ingrown hairs, particularly around the bikini line and thighs. Not worth it.”

“If you crave heat, prep beforehand. Use a body brush before a bath to stimulate circulation and warm the body, which will mean that it’s not shocked by a sudden temperature change. You’ll also have softer skin afterwards.”

Post wash, adapt your body care routine:

“Autumn and winter bring harsh weather, shorter days, less sunshine and a dramatic change in diet from seasonal salads and fruits to soups and warmer food, which all have a direct impact on skin tone and radiance. During colder months it’s important to switch to oil based products because the body is challenged to adjust to the extreme temperature alterations. The perfect treatments are those where the body is polished and drizzled with nourishing oils.”

It’s surely not possible to suffer seasonal blues while being drizzled in warm oil. Just saying.

Tailor and layer

Not your clothing, although you may want to consider that, but in terms of your skincare. Don’t run to the nearest cosmetics counter in search of something heavy and unctuous simply because winter is, indeed, coming. Follow Noella’s advice and analyse what’s really going on with your skin:

“The skin responds to a change in seasons in a different way for each individual. Some skins become oily, others very dehydrated and others very sensitive.”

“Above all, autumn and winter skin needs protection, nourishment and extra nutrients and nurturing.”

“During the cooler months it is wise to introduce an extra layer under your day time moisturiser to help the skin adjust to the challenges put upon it by the environment. Regular exfoliation, in fact twice a week, to slough away dead skin cells will keep the skin responding and functioning at its peak. It also certainly helps in terms of retaining a summer glow and preventing the skin from looking dry and depleted. I feel nurturing is more important in the winter months, so try to make time to perform an at home facial in the comfort of your own bathroom.”

“Consider booking a skin consultation with a trained therapist when there is a change in season as they might possibly recommend changing your cleanser from a wash off to a cream cleanser or layering your skin with a serum, or perhaps introducing an overnight mask into your routine so that the skin can absorb it overnight.”

“In the case of moisturiser, this is definitely the main area to invest in in terms of a skincare regime, as a lack of moisture will result in dehydration and more often than not the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s well worth spending more on a clinically proven, results driven moisturiser.”

“That being said, because moisturisers are so beautifully designed today in respect of both texture and technology, you do not need to change your moisturiser as the seasons change, but where you may need to make changes is considering what you put under the moisturiser. I would use a serum or antioxidant oil, rather than changing to a heavier textured moisturiser, which is not necessarily the answer as the heavier the texture, the more it sits on the skin, thus not delivering the what the skin needs or craves. Many people don’t realise that for some people, colder weather can actually trigger more shine, oily patches and breakouts, so it’s vital to take your unique skin type into account.”

Stop being so available

In summer many of us book a holiday at some point, leave early on a Friday and go galavanting at weekends, so we get some genuine R&R. As the nights draw in and the weather gets worse, it’s tempting to snuggle up for the evening with our smartphones, meaning that we’re never really disconnected from the office or anxiety inducing social media updates. If you’re a risk of working a seven day week, stage an intervention and free yourself from email mind fog. You may not be able to run off to the beach or snooze under a tree but it’s not selfish or indulgent to book a treatment every month, escape to the cinema or just, heaven forbid, leave your phone at home for an afternoon. You’ll feel better for it. If you’re struggling, I’ve spied the perfect addition to your AW wardrobe. Kovert Jewellery looks very slick and allows you to just receive calls, notifications and messages from those that you really need to, shutting out the stressful tech demands by vibrating only when you’ve deemed it valuable. The necklaces, rings and bracelets are soon to launch and worth saving up for. The holiday that it grants you from work and white noise could well be as reviving as that trip to Mallorca that’s now a fond memory…

This feature was written in partnership with ELEMIS

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