Whenever you travel or move to a new climate, your body reacts. Maybe your digestive system has to adjust to the food or your sleeping patterns are off. But often it’s your skin that has to go through a prolonged adjustment period. We moved to the UK almost four months ago and it’s taken me about that long to figure out what the hell has been going on with my skin since we got here.
Moving to the UK has impacted my skin for two main reasons. First of all, London is much more humid than New York City. We knew it would be plenty rainy, but even in winter my hair was getting frizzy and wavy despite my never feeling clammy like you usually associate with humid climates. We had the same issue when we moved to Tokyo, which is also very humid (actually subtropical).
The second reason my skin has been different here in the UK is the water. London’s water is much harder than in NYC, which means it has high levels of dissolved calcium and magnesium that can stay on the skin. I thought I’d experienced hard water before, but the sheer amount of limescale I’ve had to deal with here blows my mind. I feel like I’m constantly cleaning the shower, kitchen sink and the tea kettle.
What do these things mean for my skin? As someone who was born oily, I’ve been surprised at how much drier my skin has been, from head to toe. I’ve had eczema patches on my neck and hands and while I’m happy to not be blotting my face all day, I know drying out oily skin only leads to bad things.
This leads me to my second issue: breakouts and clogged pores. I’ve been lucky to work from home, so I’m honestly not wearing a mask for an extended period of time unless we go for a long walk. So when I was noticing blackheads and pimples on my chin I was confused. When they started appearing on my forehead and cheeks, I was pissed. I was using most of the same products I was before the move and those I had changed had very similar formulations to their predecessors (I typically follow the same formulas for daytime and nighttime).
So, I started playing around with my routine, making one change at a time for a week or so and seeing what happened. Here’s what finally helped me get my skin under control:
Swapping out my usual cleansers for more gentle versions.
I switched to a cream cleanser for the morning as well as my first step in the evening. This one from SkinCeuticals has been great. And I stopped using my enzyme cleanser for now to avoid further exfoliation in the evening. Sure enough, the dry patches on my neck cleared up and the breakouts subsided right away. Don’t you hate it when the solution is right in front of you?
Reaching for richer moisturizers.
I was always a gel or gel cream gal when it came to moisturizers. And I would use a tiny amount. Ever since we got to the UK, I’ve been reaching for the heavier formulas in my skincare stash and slathering it on. For daytime, I’ve been loving this tinted formula from Josh Rosebrook. At nighttime I use this cream from LING Skincare. And twice a week, I use this balm from iS Clinical as a sleeping mask.
Embracing face oils at last.
I never had great results with face oil until I found this serum from Living Libations. It’s jojoba based so it absorbs beautifully and actually helps keep my skin balanced and clear. Plus it smells beautiful. I give my skin a break from salicylic acid (a must to keep my pores clear) twice a week and use this as my only daytime serum. And at nighttime, I apply a couple of drops after the LING cream to seal everything in.
Changing up my diet and supplement regimen.
I’ve also been giving my skin more nourishment from the inside out since we moved. I’m a big fan of Tastily meal delivery to help me eat more balanced meals. I also cannot say enough good things about Equi London supplements, which have also helped clear my skin and boost radiance.
My skin is finally feeling happy and balanced, which I hope means I’ve cracked the UK code. But I guess we’ll have to see what spring brings…
I took a few weeks off to focus on applying for jobs and continuing to query agents for my book. Thanks for sticking around 🙂