We speak to dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting about how to update your beauty regime from summer to winter
Finding the best way to adapt your skincare routine to match the seasons can be a tricky business. How’s best to meet the new demands of our skin come winter, without doing more damage than good and getting utterly overwhelmed in the process too?
It’s time to get smart with our skincare, so we asked dermatologist and Get The Gloss Expert Dr Sam Bunting for her top beauty tips when it comes to bolstering our winter skincare regimes in the best and most effective way possible. From the best skincare products for your skin type to the best SPFs, whether you have dry skin, oily skin, are in the search for clear skin or a full beauty product overhaul instead, no matter your particular skin problem or skin type, this interview’s certain to clear the confusion for good.
GTG: What are the main things to bear in mind when adapting your skincare regime for winter?
SB: I think there are a number of key things to address when evolving your routine to suit the seasons.
1. Luxe up on texture. In summer the focus is often on mattifying gels and lotions to reduce shine; in winter it’s all about barrier function support. More fortifying formulations like creams come to the fore.
2. Address issues triggered by less-than-stellar sun protection. Despite good intentions, many women still succumb to the allure of bronzed skin and tanning. So I see a lot of women for issues like melasma and age spots in September. Perhaps surprisingly, acne flares often occur after summer - whilst temporarily benefiting from UV exposure in the warmer months, breakouts can paradoxically worsen due to the clog-promoting effects of the sun – so this is something we often need to tackle as the seasons transition.
3. Ease up on exfoliation. Sticky summer weather makes women reach for the scrub or cleansing brush to soup up makeup and sunscreen removal. But as the weather gets cooler, treating the skin aggressively can prove counter-productive, making it more prone to sensitivity. So try incorporating hydration-boosting chemical exfoliants like lactic acid to improve texture whilst also enhancing skin’s resilience.
GTG: What steps should your morning and evening winter skincare regime consist of?
SB: The basic routine should be cleanser + moisturiser (where needed) + sunscreen (AM) and cleanser + moisturiser (where needed) (PM). I think of cleanser and moisturiser as the bread in the sandwich – the ‘fillings’ are the actives you need to address the issues you have. So for someone concerned with radiance, that filling might be vitamin C serum (AM). For someone concerned with fine lines, that might be a retinol serum (PM). This way everything in the routine has a rational purpose for being there.
GTG: If you want to change up your usual line-up of products, how should you go about it - all at once or little by little?
SB: If you’re using products in a happy-go-lucky sort of fashion, I’m a great believer in starting from scratch, as many of my patients will confirm! But if your skin is reactive, then substituting one product at a time will make more sense and cause less anxiety.
GTG: What are your top cleansing tips and product recommendations for winter?
SB: I think that flexibility is key when it comes to cleansing. In the morning, when the face is essentially clean and efficiency is key, micellar waters can be indispensable. However at night time, there’s the grime of the day, excess oil, makeup and sunscreen to remove, so a more thorough cleanse is needed.
MORE GLOSS: 10 micellar waters tried and tested
GTG: What are your thoughts on toner?
SB: I think toner has a place if it deposits something useful on the skin, like AHAs or BHAs.
GTG: Should you wear an SPF in winter? Which ones are your favourites?
SB: I think its key to wear broad-spectrum SPF in winter – the issue isn’t UVB (as indicated by the SPF rating); rather, it’s about protection from UVA, which we’re exposed to all year-round and penetrates through glass and travels deep into the skin’s dermis, damaging collagen and elastin supplies. Look for zinc oxide, ecamsule or avobenzone. I like Obagi Sun Shield SPF50, RRP £65.57 (find your nearest clinic here ) for oily/combination skin types and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Comfort Cream SPF 50 , £14.50 for dry skin.
GTG: What types of moisturisers would you recommend? How should your winter moisturiser differ from your summer one?
SB: I believe in having choice as the skin is a dynamic and adaptable organ. Many great products come in lotion and cream format, so you can customize your texture according to skin needs, without losing the benefits of your favourite ingredients.
GTG: Many people often worry that richer moisturisers may cause them to breakout. What would be your recommendations for selecting one that fits your skin type?
SB: It’s perfectly possible to find a rich moisturiser that won’t promote breakouts - supporting barrier function is actually a key aspect of acne management. I’d advise sticking to products labelled non-comedogenic. French pharmacy brands like Bioderma and Avène are great as all their products are non-comedogenic, thus taking the guesswork out of the process.
MORE GLOSS: How to deal with adult acne
GTG: What would you recommend for dry skin types? Are there any face masks that are particularly good or extra skin boosters that we should have on standby?
SB: I love occlusive masks for really dry skin; in fact anyone who has just gotten off a long-haul flight will find these an invaluable component of their skincare wardrobe. I adore the Dolce & Gabbana Aurealux Mask , £110. It really makes the skin pop.
GTG: Finally, there’s a real buzz regarding face oils at the moment. Do they do more harm or more good in your opinion?
SB: I think they have a place for those with normal/dry skin who aren’t blemish-prone and enjoy the sensorial aspect of using an oil. However, non-foaming gels and milks are equally good options and are more suitable for those who do find they suffer from the frustrating combination of breakouts and dry patches.