The Broke Girl’s Guide to Perfect Skin

Lisa Patulny

The change in weather as we slide further into spring can be truly delightful—the bitter chill of winter is gone, and the scorching heat of summer is yet to arrive. Plus, packing away your jumpers and ankle boots in favour of swishy skirts and sandals is positively happy-making. So why does this seemingly subtle (and mostly pleasant) change in weather sometimes cause our skin to freak out?

“There are many factors that can affect skin around this time—humidity levels rise causing sebaceous glands to produce more oil, and air-conditioning gets switched on which can simultaneously zap moisture from skin,” explains celebrity skin therapist Melanie Grant (her client list includes Lara Worthington, Jessica Gomes and Nicole Trunfio to name a few). In short: your face is dealing with the skin-compromising features of both summer and winter, at once. Add in cold winds, sun exposure, and irritating pollens, and you've got a recipe for a potential spring skin tantrum. 

Luckily there is a fix—no matter your skin type—and it doesn't have to break the bank. We chatted to Grant for the insider intel on how to get your complexion under control and do it on a budget. Overachievers, us? Read on for Grant's tips on getting perfect skin this spring!

If your skin isn’t typically dry, there’s more than likely an environmental reason it’s suddenly started misbehaving. “Dryness can be caused by the change in season, but it can also be related to overuse of active products,” advises Grant. There are a few remedies you can experiment with at home, starting with dialing back your reliance on “active” products, like anything containing retinol or vitamin C. Upgrading to a richer moisturiser for night-time can help. “Look for one with ingredients like shea butter and ceramides,” advises Grant; as can adding an oil cleanser (like Innoxa Restore Hydrating Facial Cleansing Oil, $18) to your routine. You can also try using a nourishing mask (we like Natio's Ageless Hydrating Mask, $19) a few times a week for speedy relief. “Anything with jojoba oil, borage oil or aloe will work,” says Grant.

Ultraderm Skin Karma Cleanser ($15)

First thing’s first—dehydration is not the same thing as dryness. The former is typically defined as a lack of hydration whereas the latter defines a skin deficient in oils. “Signs of dehydration can include fine lines that appear often on the forehead and around the eyes, as well as a sallow complexion, chapped lips and dark circles,” explains Grant. It may seem counterintuitive to treat a lack of moisture with anything but a moisturiser, but Grant recommends adding a lactic acid cleanser (try Ultraderm's Skin Karma Cleanser, $15) to your routine. “Lactic actually hydrates your skin as well as gently exfoliating which allows hydrating serums and creams to penetrate better.” Boosting your daily intake of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine until your skin normalises can also help. Grant recommends organic herbal tea as a tasty substitute.

Nude By Nature Nude Miracle Serum ($25)

If your face turns slick and shiny a few hours post-cleanse, you’re the owner of oily skin. Other signs include; feeling the need to blot shortly after applying makeup, and dealing with large pores, blackheads and spots. It is possible to develop oiler skin seasonally as the weather turns warmer, too. “As the humidity in the air increases our sebaceous glands become more active and skin naturally produces more oil,” says Grant. Salicylic acid is a star ingredient for taming oily skin—it helps to deeply exfoliate, preventing oil from getting blocked in pores, which is when spots can appear. Grant also recommends switching out a rich night cream for a lighter hydrating gel or serum (we like Nude by Nature’s Nude Miracle Serum, $30). “Using blotting papers to touch-up throughout the day can also be life-changing,” says Grant.

If your skin has suddenly turned sensitive, you’ll know. “This skin type is far more prone to irritation from makeup and skincare, as well as washing powders, cleaning products and airborne pollens,” explains Grant. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis as well as food allergies can cause similar reactions so it’s important to see a dermatologist if you’re unsure. The fix? Stick to a modest regime with a gentle soap-free cleanser, and simple moisturisers. “I love calming serums and masks—look for products with ingredients like calendula, arnica and aloe vera,” says Grant. Grant also recommends cult-favourite (and ours too) Bioderma Sensibio H20 Cleansing Solution Micellaire Cleanser ($30). Avoid harsh abrasive scrubs, astringents, anything containing alcohol, hot water and high-strength active products.

Which budget skincare buys do you use? Share your favourites with us in the comments below!

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