Every summer, my chronically dry and dehydrated skin does a one-eighty, becoming what skincare packaging would label as “combination to oily.”
According to Dr. Lisa Kellett, a Toronto-based dermatologist, it’s not all in my head. “Heat can increase the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands,” she explains. “Because of the wind and cold temperatures in the winter, you have an increase in trans-epidermal water loss, which makes skin appear flakier and drier. You don’t have that in the summertime.”
So while you might need a richer formula to prevent skin from feeling tight in the winter, it may be too heavy for the warmer months. The fix: Consider swapping your oil-based moisturizer for a water-based gel or serum.
“I tell people to look at the product, not the marketing on the package,” says Kellett. A gel absorbs quickly into skin and is usually clear—not white. And if you feel that your skin is hydrated enough with just sunscreen on, you might not need anything else.
Despite my fluctuating skin type, I use gels year-round, layering on more in the winter—something Kellett recommends to all of her patients with acne. “I find one of the most common causes of breakouts is using something that is too rich for your skin,” she says.
L’Occitane en Provence Aqua Réotier Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel ($34)
Biotherm Aquasource Gel ($52)
Erno Laszlo Firmarine Lift Essence Lotion ($88)
Yves Rocher Hydra Végétal Anti-Fatigue Moisturizing Fresh Gel ($29)
Glamglow Waterburst Hydrated Glow Moisturizer ($62)
Beautycounter Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum ($48)
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of ELLE Canada.