If you've ever traveled more than a few hours from home, you probably experienced changes in your skin. Perhaps the dry heat of the desert cleared up your acne, or the humid climate of the tropics caused a major breakout. For most of us, our skin adapts to the climate we live in—but that doesn't mean our complexions are clear and radiant. It can require a lot of effort (and many products) to get great skin.
But before you start thinking it's time for a climate change, consider this: There's no one universally ideal climate for skin, according to Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai School in New York City. "It varies depending on your skin type," she says. People with dry skin or those suffering from eczema (a condition that causes skin to become red, dry and itchy) will do well in humid climates, which naturally help the skin retain moisture.
Meanwhile, folks with an oily complexion will benefit from a dry climate. "After three days in a dry area, people with oily skin will notice fewer breakouts," says Leslie Baumann, a Miami-based dermatologist. "They'll also find that their skin feels more 'normal' and they may even use moisturizer for the first time."
If you suffer from rosacea (a chronic inflammatory skin condition), stay away from sunny climates. "The heat and UV light causes dilation of blood vessels which lead to redness and inflammation," says Fusco. People with sensitive skin should avoid polluted cities, as the smog and fumes can agitate skin.
Since there's no perfect climate for perfect skin, Fusco says it's important to learn how to adjust to the climate you live in. People with all skin types can benefit from using a humidifier in their home. "When the ambient humidity is low, either due to A/C or heat, the moisture level in your skin decreases," says Fusco. "The use of a humidifier creates a balance in the air—and in your skin." And whether you have dry skin or an oily complexion, it's a good idea to invest in products that are targeted to your skin type.
- Fusco, Francesca, M.D. Personal correspondence.
- Baumann, Leslie, M.D. Personal correspondence.