The Canadian Climate: How Much it affects your South African Skincare Routine

By Teneal Bird

Yes! You have arrived in Canada, it’s been a wild ride, and you’re making your mark and establishing yourself in this new world. But… what’s happening to your skin? Canada’s climate is quite different from that which we experience in South Africa, and as a result, our skins can often experience a few changes. At the same time, we acclimate to our new environment. Some of us have been unlucky when it comes to finding a solution, so we have had a chat with a skincare specialist and licensed Esthetician, Tamsyn from             

Skin by Tamsyn. She has given us insights into how we can tackle the challenges our skin often experiences when moving to Canada.

Tamsyn arrived in Canada in April 2017 and recalled that the wind-chill factor immediately caught her off guard. However, as much as the Canadian weather is often given the blame for many skin conditions, she found that personally, it was a combination of factors, especially in the first few months. As most Canadian – South African’s know, they had just survived the awfully long flight with minimal sleep. The notorious airplane A/C was in full “drying” effect and the emotions were still high after saying their goodbyes…

skin by Tamsyn

“My best advice for the first few months is to keep things clean, stay properly hydrated and remember to be kind to yourself.”

Tamsyn and her husband had moved from Durbanville, Cape Town to an apartment in busy Yonge and Eglinton, Toronto. Their apartment had central heating and cooling, something they didn’t have in SA. This, together with the hard Toronto water affected the overall condition of her skin and hair quite extensively. One of the best purchases Tamsyn recalls making was a humidifier for her bedroom, changing her shampoo and investing in a potent probiotic and omega 3 supplement.

“I do believe that we need to nourish and support the skin from the inside as well as the outside, especially after a stressful move.”


Tamsyn suffered from severe cystic acne as a teen and is inherently aware of reducing the spread of acne bacteria by keeping things clean. If you are prone to breakouts, she highly recommends that you use a clean facecloth daily, change your pillowcase/ towels often and ensure that your make-up tools and your fingers are clean before touching your face.

Tamsyn also shared the importance of strengthening and supporting the skins’ protective barrier. Being a combination to oily skin-type, she focused on using ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin C and of course a broad-spectrum sunscreen to strengthen, support and protect her stressed skin. A daily skincare routine with the correct ingredients for your skin type is essential in taking care of the health and condition of your skin.

“Get proper sleep at night and get out, go for a daily walk in the fresh air!”

One of the reasons we experience a change in our skin is due to the humidity levels of a region. In warmer climates, our skin tends to produce more oil, often clogging pores and leading to breakouts, however in colder climates with lower humidity our skin is often stripped of its natural moisture and left dry, flaky, and irritated. Both environments can leave your skin with a compromised barrier, if not properly cared for.

Our skin’s barrier is vital in keeping moisture in the skin, while also keeping bacteria out. Improper care of a compromised skin barrier can lead to chronic irritation, excessive dryness and sensitivity as well as acne flare ups. 

Tamsyn advises that this is one of the most important reasons why having a thorough skincare consultation is essential prior to choosing a homecare routine that’s best suited for your skin type and concerns.

Skin by tamsyn-skincare products

Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to skincare and in all honesty, there shouldn’t be. This is something Tamsyn feels very strongly about, and what she spends most of her time on when putting together a personalized home care routine for her client’s. 

“I really focus on choosing key ingredients that will address my client’s concerns, while also improving and supporting the overall health of the skin.”

The three key products that Tamsyn firmly believes should form part of an effective home care routine are:

A potent and stable Vitamin C serum, a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen, and Vitamin A. Going into summer, we want to ensure that we have sufficient antioxidant protection from free radical damage, environmental stressors, and of course; UV Damage. A few of the many benefits of Vitamin C include antioxidant protection, collagen synthesis, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as brightening the skin. 

“I always advise that you do your research and invest in potent serums when it comes to deciding how you spend your money!”

Vitamin A is a topical retinoid that should only ever be used at night. It is essential in stimulating collagen production, speeding up cell turnover, reducing bacteria and improving the overall skin tone and texture of the skin. It’s truly an ingredient that should be used for life!

Last and definitely the most important product is sunscreen. No matter the season or whether you are in or outdoors, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 should be applied daily. Especially if you are using Vitamin A at night.

“My golden rule is, if you don’t apply sunscreen daily then all your skincare efforts are done in vain.”

With regards to choosing the correct skincare for your skin type and current skin conditions, booking a consultation with a licensed esthetician is one of the most important steps you can take. A daily skincare routine is essential in maintaining optimal skin health and preventing premature aging. A thorough skincare consultation should provide you with a home care routine that you can maintain, afford, and of course see results with. 

(Tamsyn advises that you give your skin a minimum of twelve weeks on a new skincare routine.)

Finally, Tamsyn also suggests seeing a Dermatologist annually, especially if you have a history of skin cancer. Booking a mole mapping appointment is an excellent way to ensure you receive a thorough check up that will help keep track of any changes in skin texture. Fortunately, many healthcare professionals have now moved online and are offering telemedicine/ virtual appointments.

One of my favorite sayings: 

“You don’t simply rely on going to a dentist every 3 months, you brush your teeth every morning and every night. The same goes for your skincare.”

To sum it all up, if you are struggling with your skin, book a skincare consultation with a licensed esthetician. Tamsyn truly believes that the combination of lifestyle tweaks and a great skincare routine should be the starting point for investing in your skin…

To schedule your complimentary virtual skincare consultation with Tamsyn, contact her at or send her a message on Instagram @skinbytamsyn

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