Loosely defined, humidity levels depict the amount of water or otherwise known as water vapour held in the air. Normally, higher levels of humidity are associated with higher temperatures, and lower levels subsequently with colder weather or lower temperatures.
Our skin barrier, needs balance, hence, be it too low or too high, so long as humidity is off balance, our skin will be too.
When exploring high humidity, is important to note that high humidity levels promote sebum or sweat production - resulting in “stickier” skin, that could result in clogged pores and eventually breakouts. Why does this happen? Studies suggest that in warm humid environments, your pores are more likely to enlarge — which in turn means that your skin is also more sensitive to dirt and toxins. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the warmth and sunshine without compromising your skin!
Here are some tips to help you build the ultimate skincare regimen for humid weather.
Double-cleanse and wash your face thoroughly.
No matter what the forecast is, washing your face should already be part of your everyday regime - most importantly your night time routine. Every morning, if you feel that the humidity levels in your bedroom are fairly balanced, then cleansing may not be necessary! Having said that, at the end of your day it is a must! As you prepare to wrap up your day, start unwinding with a double-cleanse. Whether you’re using an oil-based cleanser, or micellar water, both of which will help remove impurities, make-up, and sunscreen efficiently - start with this! It is essential that we remove any build-up that has accumulated on the surface of our skin.
Then, once you’ve done this, follow up with your facial wash of choice, whether it is gel based, cream based or just a gentle non foaming cleanser, definitely do this step as well. For those already suffering from acne, try cleansers that have salicylic acid, tea tree or charcoal in them to better aid in the cleansing process.
Pro tip: Wash your face with lukewarm water to let the product seep in, then splash off product with cold water after - this will help close your pores off.
Keep a face mist handy.
Face mists are the unsung heroes of the skincare world. This versatile product can provide hydration, rejuvenate a tired complexion, and cool your skin — all of which are welcome perks on a hot day. When choosing a face mist, be sure to pick one that fits your skin type. For instance, those with oily or acne-prone skin can go for ingredients like aloe vera and rose water, which can reduce inflammation and soothe blemishes. On the other hand, those with dry skin can use ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalene, which hold in moisture even more. Meanwhile, a basic, hydrating formula is best for those with sensitive skin. Lastly, those with normal or combination skin can get away with trying more varied ingredients — be it hyaluronic acid, rose water, or even essential oils.
Use face powder to stay oil-free.
If you notice your t-zone getting excessively shiny throughout the day, a few dabs of powder will instantly cut away shine, absorb grease, and lock in your make-up. To prevent your skin from looking chalky, go for powders that provide sheer coverage. Watch out for labels like “oil- absorbing,” “lightweight,” and “non-comedogenic” to ensure your product does the job without causing more acne.
Pro Tip: Use a powder based sunscreen, not only will you be protecting yourself from high humidity but you will also be re applying your sunscreen while you’re at it!
Exfoliate - but don’t over-do it!
Exfoliation sloughs away dead skin cells and prevents clogged pores. And in humid climates, there’s definitely nothing better than the feeling of smooth, cleansed skin. Just remember not to go overboard, over exfoliation, or using exfoliators that are too rough for your individual skin type can compromise your skin barrier and lead to more blemishes. Instead, aim to exfoliate once to twice a week, whether using a physical exfoliator like a jojoba scrub, or chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid, Beta hydroxy acid (BHA), or lactic acid. Don’t forget to finish with a moisturiser to restore balance.
Pro Tip: Most exfoliators are formulated with ingredients that will nourish your skin as well, once you’ve applied the exfoliator to your skin in soft circular motions, leave it on there for 5-7 minutes, this will allow it to double up as a mask as well!
Hydrate your skin with gel-based moisturiser.
You may think you can skip the moisturiser when it’s humid, but your skin still needs the hydration! When it’s hot, your sweat evaporates and can consequently dehydrate the skin. Your skin will end up producing more sebum to compensate for the dryness — another recipe for acne. If you’re worried about your skin feeling more greasy, just choose a lightweight, gel-based formula. This will keep your skin nourished and comfortable without adding to the oil content.
Pro tip: Need moisture to stay on your skin? Apply product while the skin is still damp, be it just after a cleanse or just after a shower! The water on your face will help lock in the moisture on the surface of your skin.
Don’t forget sunscreen.
Sunscreen is a year-round essential, but even more when it’s hot and humid. Sun damage doesn’t just cause sunburn, it’s also one of the top offenders in premature aging and skin cancer. This is all because of the harmful UVA and UVB rays that penetrate into the skin’s deeper layers, which also interferes with the skin’s connective tissues and blood vessels.
Make sure your sunscreen has a minimum SPF of 30, and always re-apply every couple of hours or so, especially when you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. Add extra protection by using a sun hat, an umbrella and of course protect your eyes by sporting an awesome pair of sunglasses.
Pro Tip: Use a sunscreen based mist, this will help combat the humidity as well!
Use a clay mask weekly.
Clay masks do wonders in drawing out impurities more thoroughly than your cleanser can. Plus, it effectively soaks up excess oil and de-clogs your pores — resulting in clear, freshly cleansed looking skin. Humidity won’t stand a chance! Look to use a mask of any type at least two to three times a week, depending on how oily your skin is.
When looking to use a clay based mask be careful not to leave it on for too long (usually not more than 20 minutes) as it can dry your skin too much. Lastly, follow it up with a reliable moisturiser.
Pro Tip: Vary your masks, do a DIY one day for hydration, do a clay based on another, and perhaps a facial massage with a great oil to promote circulation and encourage collagen production once as well!
Avoid food that make your skin oily.
You can use all the expensive serums in the world, but good skin still starts from within. Above all, avoid food that exacerbates oily skin or promotes heat within your body. A big hidden one is salt, it is one of the biggest culprits that impacts our skin’s appearance. Consumed excessively, it can lead to dehydration, swelling, and water retention too.
This will trigger your skin to combat dryness by producing more oil. Similarly, sugar, fried food, red meat, and refined carbohydrates are also known to cause inflammation and an overproduction of sebum. Try to limit these food as best as you can, and instead fill up with fruits and vegetables like watermelons, litchi, black plums, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more. You’ll be eating your way to glowing skin in no time.
Caring for your skin in places where humidity is high and the weather warm, may seem complicated. However, almost all of the above can be applied to lower levels of humidity too, so really, you could simply apply this to your everyday, and maintain the balance your skin needs! You can enjoy all the sunshine you want without stressing about acne or oiliness.
Disclaimer: Having said all of the above it is important to note that everyone’s skin is different, so you’ll still want to customise your routine according to your own skin type.