The autumn skincare reset: Give your skin a treat as the seasons change

Laura Kennedy: Skin conditions such as acne and eczema can be exacerbated by seasonal change

Changing temperatures always mean cantankerous skin, but you can get ahead of it by making clever seasonal swaps in your skincare routine. As someone who has been in and out of the dermatologist’s office this year with ongoing skin issues, I have to regularly remind myself that while what we put on our skin can certainly make things worse, there’s only so much that topical skincare will do.

Occasional breakouts and bouts of dryness are normal, but skin conditions such as acne and eczema can also be exacerbated by seasonal change. If your skin is making you feel miserable, products you’ve bought are not helping or you find yourself spending undue portions of your time thinking negatively about your skin, then it might be time to get a referral to a dermatologist. They will be best placed to help you pare back your skincare routine and prescribe anything that your skin might need.

However, for everyone else (or people like me who are already using prescription skincare), autumn can bring flare-ups and challenges. When I find my skin getting unsettled and see the warning signs of inflammation, dryness or congestion, I part ways with serums entirely and strip my routine back to a simple cleanser, eye cream and moisturiser, occasionally using a soothing mask if needed. That’s it. No faffing around. This basic routine is all about restoring my skin’s frazzled barrier without worsening breakouts or drying it out.

CeraVe Blemish Control Cleanser (€11.50 at pharmacies nationwide) is a new launch from the pharmacy brand that those with troublesome skin consider a godsend. This contains decongesting salicylic acid but does not strip or irritate the skin. It’s ideal for the breakout-prone, the oily and teenagers who may want a great morning cleanser. It is also good for using on your back in the shower if you are prone to spots back there.


While some may be tempted to increase the richness factor in skincare when autumn hits, that doesn’t suit everyone’s skin. Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster (€69 at Space NK) is light but really hydrating, adding a layer of protection and moisture to younger and oily skin without overloading or drenching it. It’s perfect for those who like a lighter texture and a good winter base for make-up.

Ren Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream (from €20 at is the only eye cream that I have found to genuinely brighten the eye area and play well with make-up — I use it year-round but rely on it more in the colder months when skin can look that bit greyer.

When all goes wrong, I rely on the fire extinguisher that is SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque (€75 at For skin that has had too much retinol, or wind, or just feels sensitised, it is a fantastic comfort. It’s expensive, so I keep it for those emergencies that tend to crop up more when the seasons shift.

Product of the Week

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick in Mise à Nu (€42 at Brown Thomas)

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy

Laura Kennedy, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about beauty