When seasons change, it can be a tricky time for your skin and your health. Whether we notice it or not, in autumn our body is forced to work hard to readjust and rebalance itself so that it can cope with shorter days, less light, cooler temperatures, and drier air. There are also new allergens in the environment such as ragweed and the molds and microorganisms in decomposing leaves.
These changes to the external environment can trigger a flare-up for those with skin conditions. That’s why it’s good to be gentle with yourself and pay extra attention to your health and your skin regimens during seasonal changes.
But it’s not just the obvious external changes in the weather and nature that can trigger fall flareups. Here are overlooked changes that happen in autumn that could be affecting our skin:
Seasonal Changes Change our Lifestyles
Another aspect to seasonal changes is how much they change our lifestyles. In the fall, many people are returning to school, starting new projects, or have family members who are. The whole world seems to be waking up from summer daydreams and getting back to work. We may be adding more life stress without even realizing it. We may be so excited by our goals and projects, we forget to rest, or to take care of ourselves.
Different seasons bring different seasonal foods, too, so our diets may change. Luckily, autumn brings a harvest of healthy food like apples, squash, and the return of warming recipes like stews and soups. But if you have a sweet tooth, you might be eating more candy than usual around Halloween, more home-baked goods, or maybe you’re eating a diet richer in fats and meats. These changes might give you a healthier glow or may bog your system down and wreak havoc with your skin.
Indoor Environments Change Too
As the seasons change, windows may be open or closed more than usual. In Fall, they may be open more often at first, but start to close as the weather gets cooler. That can mean more outdoor allergens coming indoors when they’re open, and less fresh air (which can mean more indoor allergens like pet dander and dust) when they’re closed.
Heaters and furnaces may kick on for the first time, often blasting dust into the air if they’ve been dormant for several months. Those heaters can dry the air out even more, which means we need to hydrate more by drinking more liquids and moisturizing more (or more often) each day.
Your wardrobe changes in Fall, too. More wools, more insulation, more layers. These different fabric textures, materials, and the heat and weight of them could be affecting your skin.
A Calendar or Journal can Give You Clues
If you have a chronic skin condition, sometimes you need to be a good sleuth to track down what seasonal triggers might be affecting you. It’s good to jot down in a calendar or journal when you have flareups, or conversely, when your skin looks and feels great.
Think back on when you had your worst flares in the past, did they always seem to happen about the same time of year? Carefully consider everything going on in your life: What’s your stress levels at each of these times? What is your diet like? What’s going on in the external and internal environment where you live? Could the trigger be related to the season?
Whole Health Awareness Through the Seasons
Our skin not only responds differently to each season, our skin is also intricately connected to the health and well-being of every organ system in our body, and to our emotional and psychological well-being. These can change with the seasons, too.
That’s why a short-term medication fix that treats only the surface level of our skin’s symptoms may not always work in each season or over the long haul. Unless you can address and heal the root cause of the health issue causing your skin condition, it’s likely to keep recurring.
Inspiration from Changing Seasons
As the seasons pass, they remind us that everything changes. They show us the amazing adaptability in nature and in ourselves. They inspire hope and celebration with the understanding that new experiences are always just around the corner.
Dr. Olivia and Amethyst Holistic Health Solutions are here to help you through the seasons and to give your skin the natural support it may need to stay balanced through both seasonal and life changes. Best of all, our TCM approach helps get to the root cause of your skin condition so that it can stay healthier year-round.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.