The climate you live in can have a direct impact on your skin. Here, one writer shares how her concerns and routine changed after moving from the East Coast to the West Coast.
I haven’t always had the best luck with my skin, especially in my adult life. Once I wrapped up my college years in the fresh-air climate of middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, I headed back to the crammed streets of NYC, and my skin was in for it. Luckily I had spent years in the city that never sleeps, so I had my Big Apple skin care regime down and ready to go for the pollution and congestion that I was about to face. I was prepared for the sticky, humid, acne-flaring summers, and the cold, frigid winters that left my skin tight and dry.
Thicker moisturizers, such as the Botanic Farms Avocado Honey Rich Lotion, were my best friend, and I almost could never get by without a spot treatment, like the Cosrx Acne Pimple Patch. What I didn’t know was that when my days as a born-and-bred East Coaster would come to a close in the summer of 2016, so would that alternating beauty routine of mine that I had worked so hard finessing. I’d be moving to Los Angeles and everything was about to change, especially my skin care.
I’m not so sure if it was the excitement of making a big move or if I was just naive, but I completely disregarded the effect that climate can actually have on your skin. Within several weeks of being in Southern California, I had noticed my skin was different but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why just yet.
For anyone who’s been to Los Angeles, I’m sure you’ve heard the people who live here say things like “the weather here spoils you”, or “the best part about living here is the weather”, and I’ll have to admit, I’ve become one of those people. Escaping humid summers, frigid winters, frequent rain, etc., is one thing, but noticing a change in your skin because of this is a total game-changer. Now, allow me to explain just how my skin care routine has switched up since heading west.
It may sound a bit cliché, but I did try to adopt a healthier lifestyle once I moved. I was working out a lot more often, which meant I had to cleanse my skin more often too, but the type of cleanser I was using changed. Back in NYC, I used acne-fighting cleansers, typically salicylic acid-based ones because the environment contributed to more frequent flare-ups and blemishes. I also made it a point to use physical exfoliators frequently because I could feel the buildup and grime on my skin from public transportation and other factors.
Now here in LA, I like to start with a gentle cleansing oil to remove all of my makeup and impurities without any harsh chemicals. I then follow with a foam cleanser because it’s just as gentle and leaves my skin feeling refreshed, glowy and not stripped of any essential oils. As for exfoliation, I prefer to do an at-home peel once a week now since I don’t feel that my skin is as stressed as it was before.
Moisture and Protection
As I mentioned before, when living in New York I relied on rich moisturizers to get me by during the harsh winters. On the other hand, during those sticky summers, I stuck to more lightweight moisturizers and face mists to cool off midday. Now, I’ve found that gel-based moisturizers are more of my go-to whether it’s winter or summer in Los Angeles. They sit comfortably underneath my makeup and don’t get in the way of the natural state of my skin, no matter what the temperature is like. As for SPF, that’s stayed the same, because we all know we should be wearing that all day, every day, no matter where we live.
Serums, Oils, and Toners
When I was back on the East Coast, I wasn’t as adventurous with my skin care as I am now. I was definitely one of those people who shied away from using face oils for fear of getting oily skin as a result, and I found serums to be overwhelming. So let’s just say those two weren’t really part of my routine until I moved to LA. As for toner, I used a salicylic acid-based one to further treat my acne flare-ups after cleansing, and then followed up with my moisturizer. Here in LA, I learned that face oils and serums are part of almost everyone’s skin care DNA and I must’ve been silly for ignoring them in New York (I’m sorry to all of my NYC skin care aficionados!), so I’d decided to give them a go. During the day I like using a serum infused with Vitamin C which helps me with any scarring and dark spots from past acne, and at night I use an anti-aging serum to target fine lines and wrinkles.
I’ve always been a lover of face masks—seriously. I can count back to my junior high school days where I would slather on a Clean & Clear mask to battle my pre-teen acne and indulge in a faux spa day at home with a set of cucumbers across my eyelids. As an adult, I relied on charcoal masks to draw out any impurities when I was back on the East Coast, but in LA I have another main priority: brightening. LA skin is all about having a dewy, natural glow and I need to brighten up the state of my natural skin in order to achieve that. I love to throw on a brightening sheet mask at least twice a week to give my skin a treat and a radiance boost.
All in all, the biggest takeaway for me has been that my skin concerns have changed in general since moving from coast to coast. While I can worry less about frequent acne flare-ups and congestion, I cater more to the radiance and overall moisture levels of my skin. I’ve also branched out and tried more products than I ever have before, and have become quite the skin care junkie if I do say so myself. In addition to the climate, my healthier LA lifestyle has definitely contributed to the improved state of my skin. During the last two years, I’ve noticed the overall texture of my skin become a lot smoother when in the past I had dealt with rough patches and several acne scars, dry patches, bumps, etc.,.
I have to admit, while LA has been good to my skin, New York taught me a lot about it.