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Your After-Summer Skin Repair Plan

After months of cuddling and huddling together against harsh winter weather, we don't begrudge you a few hours (or days or weeks) spent in the sun. Hey, we can all benefit from a direct hit of the sun's powerful rays, but you only need about 15 minutes to kick of the chain reaction that affords you the recommended daily dosage of vitamin D, a nutrient that helps promote strong teeth and bones, among other things.

We get it, there's just something so covetable about that sun-kissed glow it keeps us hitting the beaches and parks for more. But you've had your fun, and now that winter has come around again, it's time to get treat your skin to a little loving, and get it back in shape to face the winter again.

Exfoliate
After months of constant sun exposure, your skin can appear dry and flaky. Not to mention the high SPF sunscreens you've been slathering on have a tendency to make the upper layer of your skin thicker, harder and drier.

Without adequate hydration, the skin can't properly perform its own natural exfoliation process, so you'll have to help it along. Rather than aggressively scrubbing or exfoliating with rough product, treat your damaged skin with care by opting for a chemical exfoliator that will be more gentle and offer a more controlled exfoliation for vulnerable post-summer skin. Look for products that contain lactic acid, which will help with hydration too.

It's important to exfoliate before moisturizing - how are those hydrating creams and serums supposed to penetrate the dead layer of cells to treat the new, smoother skin beneath?

Moisturize
Your skin is probably desperate for a little moisture by now, and when you want to restore proper skin-barrier function, look for intensely nourishing products, especially those fortified with niacinamide to nourish and smooth skin, restoring radiance.

If you find your skin is looking creased and weathered, or there are signs of age spots, look for a moisturizer that contains fruit acids as the emollients will help target repair by gently exfoliating to reveal new cells.

Clear Post-Summer Acne
Heavy sweating (not to mention sweating off greasy hair and skincare products) and using suncare products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they can clog pores) can cause your delicate skin to break out. If you haven't already, switch to products that won't block pores and consider incorporating a salicylic acid into your skin care regime. It will help unblock pores and prevent inflammation.

Work From The Inside Out
It should go without saying that cleaning up your diet will help clean up your skin, and there's a lot of research surrounding the use of antioxidants to battle the negative effects of free-radicals on aging skin.

We wouldn't frown upon a post-summer cleanse to kick your system back into gear, along with upping your intake of vitamins C and E. Try adding more green tea, kiwi, and nutritionally dense greens, like spinach, kale, and chard to your diet. If you aren't getting the recommended amount of water – eight 8-ounce glasses a day – now's the best time to start. From plumping up your skin, hair and nails to ensuring your brain and body are working at the optimal levels, water is one of the best tools in your arsenal to look younger and feel better.

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