Just when you thought you had your skin care routine figured out (and your breakouts and patchiness under control), a family gathering has you crossing time and weather zones. Or you get called to go abroad on a work trip. Or a cold front hits your usually moderate-climate city. Whatever the case may be, dramatic changes in weather can leave you and your skin confused and not sure how to cope.

There are several issues at play here. First, regardless of the skin care routine you currently use, it needs to be adjusted to deal with the weather change. This means switching beauty products accordingly. Generally, one gets a couple of weeks in-between seasons to gauge temperatures and bring their skincare up to speed. But when traveling, or when a cold front hits, you get approx. 1 day or less to come up with a new game plan.

Second, facing extreme weather changes is often due to travel. And however wonderful travel itself might be, it is commonly accompanied by less sleep and a high chance that your regular diet staples will change, too. Sleep, diet, and weather changes all affect how your skin looks. So to cope with extreme weather changes, you need to address all aspects that could be causing your skin to freak out.

Here are some common hazards that accompany extreme weather changes and how to deal.

Going from hot to cold

Cold climates are not good news for your skin. Sorry, there’s no nice way to say that. If you’re traveling from a warmer climate to a colder one, you will want to change up beauty products to heavier moisturizing and nourishing creams. Also, consider applying them a couple more times a day than what you are used to. A hydrating mist/spray will allow you to moisturize over your makeup. And humidifiers can help reduce the dryness in the air. Green tea and other foods with high anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant ingredients will help to lessen your susceptibility to inflammation, which will reduce that red patchiness common to colder weather.

Going from cold to hot

This one is much easier on the skin but still requires you to adjust your skincare and makeup routine. Sweating more can cause certain skin types to become prone to breakouts. When this first happens, some girls go overboard with the salicylic acid and the exfoliators, stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Don’t overdo it. You can afford to use less and lighter products on your skin in warmer and particularly humid climates.

Dealing with less sleep

A lack of sleep will show up on your face immediately. If the extreme weather changes you are dealing with are due to travel, not getting enough zzz’s and the change in weather can cause your skin to have a little fit that no amount of makeup can hide. Your body amps up blood flow to the skin while you sleep, which is why when you get enough, you wake up with a glow! Don’t get enough sleep and your skin looks dull and ashen. Cut down on caffeine. Take cat naps. Consider implementing 1 hour of device-free time right before bed to help you unwind.

Handling diet changes

We eat differently as the weather changes. In hot weather, we opt for foods that cool us down. And in cold weather, we want comfort foods. By the time each season is in full swing, conscientious folk will have figured out how to consume vitamins and fiber-rich foods in an appetizing way. But with sudden and extreme highs and lows, what used to be appealing – your green smoothie in the morning – can become a chore. And then what to eat if the weather change is due to travel? Airplane and restaurant food contain more salt and oil than home-cooked meals, which can cause bloating and breakouts.

Come up with an “If this… then that” list. For example, “If it’s cold out, then I will have a vegetable soup. But if it’s warm out, I will have my green smoothie.” And for travelers, nothing beats researching a doable diet plan before stepping out your door.

We wish skincare could be less fluid, but our skin and how it looks is a result of your body’s unique makeup plus environmental factors. Travel can throw good intentions for taking care of your skin out the window. The best way to deal is to be prepared. Invest some time into coming up with a plan. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Tomoko Matsuoka


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