Humid Subtropical

Your skin has an imbalance of sensitivity, heat, and wetness/oiliness, much like the Humid Subtropical climate

Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification: Cfa

Profile: Humid Subtropical

Your skin has an imbalance toward sensitivity, heat, and slight wetness (oiliness), much like the subtropical climate found in Sydney, Australia. The subtropical climate is typically characterized by hot and arid to humid summers with tropical rainstorms and mild winters. These climates normally exist on the southeastern side of continents, between latitudes 25° and 35°, like Sydney in Australia, or Georgia in the United States. Additional cities with subtropical climates include Buenos Aires, Argentina; New Orleans, Louisiana; Tokyo, Japan; Sochi, Russia; and Milan, Italy. Subtropical climates typically have average temperatures between 0 °C (32 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F) in the coldest months and around 22 °C (72 °F) or higher in the warmest months.

Similarly, your skin tends to be consistently hot or warm throughout the year. It is generally sensitive, making it prone to irritation. The skin can also tend toward oiliness and moistness and dryness depending on the environment. Furthermore, like the subtropical climate, which is susceptible to cyclones, monsoons, and more extreme weather, your sensitive skin is susceptible to its own extremes in the form of breakouts and inflammation.

Products And Ingredients

The Humid subtropical skin type is especially prone to redness and irritation. Your skin is very sensitive and products containing even slightly harsh or irritating ingredients can lead to inflammation and heat. People with this skin type must carefully choose gentle and soothing skin care products. Although you may be tempted to use popular anti-aging serums or exfoliators, this will usually just lead to excessive irritation if they contain irritating chemicals and abrasive ingredients. Instead, you can promote balance in your skin by choosing soothing, cooling, and gentle skin care products.

Balancing products and ingredients

Examples of products and ingredients that are balancing and well tolerated by the Humid subtropical skin type include:

  • Jojoba oil – jojoba oil closely matches the skin’s natural sebum (facial oil) and therefore can be wonderfully soothing to the Humid Subtropical’s sensitive and hot qualities.
  • Skincare oils and products containing Neem tend to be soothing as they can keep the skin from becoming too sensitive and inflamed. However, skin care oils should be virgin or extra virgin as refined oils may be too harsh for the skin.
  • Gentle facial cleansers – Soaps can be too harsh on the skin and the Humid Subtropical skin type should choose a very gentle cleanser. Oil-based cleansers would be less drying and irritating to the skin.
  • Gentle and light moisturizers – choose a moisturizer free of irritating ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids. Instead of a heavy cream, a lighter facial moisturizer such as a lotion with more water content may feel more comfortable.
  • Sunscreen – everyone of all skin types should wear sunscreen daily, but it is important to know that your skin is especially sensitive to increased inflammation with sun exposure. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and reapply often throughout the day. Chemical sunscreens may be more aggravating to the skin and mineral-based sunscreens, such as zinc oxide, may be a better selection.

Aggravating products and ingredients

The Humid Subtropical skin type is very sensitive and naturally warm, so products that are irritating can be extremely aggravating to this skin type. Avoid any product that makes your skin feel as though it is tingling, burning, or more red than usual. Examples of products and ingredients that should be avoided in your skin type include: 

  • Products containing fragrances: both chemical and natural fragrances can be irritation and should be used carefully
  • Harsh exfoliants – chemical exfoliants containing alpha-hydroxy acids and mechanical exfoliants containing abrasive beads or gritty materials can be exceptionally irritating to your skin type, leading to inflammation, and further imbalance
  • Warming essential oils – eg. Cinnamon or ginger
  • Warming fixed oils – eg. Sesame oil
  • Ingredients that dilate the blood vessels - eg. methyl nicotinate
  • Alcohols can be drying and irritating to the skin and products that have a large component of alcohol in the ingredient list are best left off the skin and on the shelf.

Bathing and Washing

Balancing bathing and washing habits

The Humid Subtropical skin type is naturally sensitive to warm temperatures. Your skin will best benefit from daily bathing with a gentle cleanser as needed and opt for cooler shower water temperatures.

Choose a facial cleanser that is very gentle without any added harsh or abrasive ingredients.

Aggravating bathing and washing habits 

Since your skin is already warm, you should never take hot showers and baths. Prolonged hot showers will make your face even redder, which can be embarrassing for some if they are going straight to work or an event. Hot water may trigger more redness in the skin, more itching, and may even trigger hives. This can be avoided by taking cool and soothing showers.

Diet

Balancing foods and beverages

People with the Humid Subtropical skin type should strive to eat a cooling and drying diet to balance out their naturally sensitive, warm and slightly oily skin type. This is the law of opposites, so consuming cool meals and beverages can help bring your skin type towards balance. Take advantage of all the local produce to make delicious cooling fruit smoothies, colorful salads rich in drying vegetables, and hearty pasta and squash meals. Examples of balancing foods and beverages for the Humid Subtropical skin type include:

  • Eat cooling foods regularly. Examples of cooling foods are fruit smoothies, melons, sweet berries, mushrooms, cool beverages, and spices like cumin, neem, saffron, and turmeric.
  • Heavy and sweet foods can also be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis. These foods include root vegetables (eg. Squash), cooked grains like rice and barley, nuts, seeds, ripe mangoes, pastas, and sweet potatoes.
  • Eat drying foods to balance your naturally oily skin. Examples of these include cruciferous vegetables (eg. Kale, collard greens, and broccoli), pomegranate, dark chocolate, beans, lentils, apples, cauliflower, popcorn, crackers, and dried fruits.
  • Yogurt that has only been lightly fermented and has a sweet taste rather than a sour taste that is seen with heavily fermented sour yogurt. Fermented coconut yogurt is a sweet and fantastic option.

Aggravating foods and beverages

The warm and moist Humid Subtropical skin type should reduce hot and spicy foods as much as possible since this can make the skin excessively warm and red. 

  • Avoid hot and spicy foods, which include: chilies, cayenne, radishes, pepper, and hot soups and beverages.
  • Sour foods can also aggravate your skin type, so do your best to limit these foods as well. Examples of sour foods include heavily fermented sour yogurt, tomatoes, vinegars, hard cheeses, and alcohol.
  • Salty foods may also heighten the inflammation and redness in your skin, so do your best to avoid soy sauce, tamari, seafood, added salts, and carefully check food labels for nutrition content.

Activities And Excercise

Balancing activities and exercise

The Humid Subtropical skin type benefits greatly from regular exercise. You should opt for methods of exercise that are more on the cooling side. It is normal to sweat and a flushed face getting your heart rate up is nearly unavoidable, but some exercises and activities tend to be more cooling and grounding than others. Also, activities that repeatedly dilate your facial blood vessels can increase the risk of developing rosacea.

If you haven’t discovered the exercise that fits best with your lifestyle, see the following list of activity ideas that are balancing for Humid Subtropical skin types:

  • Swimming
  • Tai chi
  • Stretching
  • Hiking during cooler hours
  • Meditation
  • Yoga (non-heated)
  • Massage with cooling oils
  • Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Slower-paced cardiovascular activities
  • Other cooling and grounding activities

Aggravating activities and exercise

Any activity that makes you excessively sweaty, hot, and flushed should be reduced. Overdoing an exercise to the point that it begins to wear you down is extremely disruptive to your skin type and overall well-being. Your skin tends towards being easily irritated and inflamed, and high intensity or prolonged workouts in hot environments without breaks or cooling periods can lead to greater imbalance. Instead, choose more moderate to low intensity activities or high-intensity activities that can be cooling at the same time (such as swimming). Here are examples of exercises and activities that are best avoided in your skin type:

  • Hiking in bright sunshine and heat
  • Heated styles of yoga, such as Bikram yoga
  • Running for long durations of time
  • Steam rooms and saunas
  • Any exercise in which you have to wear gear covering your face in a hot environment (eg. Helmet) 

Exercise routines should be discussed with a physician first to ensure that you are fit enough to engage in exercise.

Climate

Balancing climates

Cool and somewhat dry climates, such as the Mediterranean or boreal climates, can help bring the hot and oily tendencies in your skin into balance. Exposure to these environments can help decrease the chance of sensitivity and inflammation. Enjoy clear radiant skin while watching the movie stars in Los Angeles or when exploring the nature and snow in Anchorage, Alaska.

Aggravating climates 

Hot and wet climates can exacerbate the hot and oily tendencies in your skin, which can lead to breakouts and inflammation. Avoid exposure to hot and rainy climates to minimize your skin’s sensitivity. The hot sun during a tropical vacation can make your skin more sensitive and the increase in moisture can cause pimples to occur. Make sure to bring your sunscreen and oil wipes before you travel to cities like Sydney, Australia, West Palm Beach and Miami, FL.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a health system that is from India and is over 5000 years old. The basic concept in Ayurveda is that each person can either be in balance or have imbalances. Everyone has the potential to balance their body and their skin if they can pay attention to their imbalances and their skin’s natural tendencies. Imbalances are described by the Ayurvedic concepts of the doshas which describe three unique physiological building blocks for the body and skin. These doshas are known as vata, pitta, and kapha. Ayurveda is a practical approach to skin care. Learn more about how Ayurveda works and what makes up the doshas.

Imbalances in the doshas

This skin type is associated with an imbalance in the pitta dosha. Individuals who have more pitta in their constitution tend to be ambitious and driven and can often experience rashes, impatience, anger, reflux, and indigestion when Pitta is out of balance.

Pitta represents transformation and metabolism in the body and is made up of the elements fire and water. Fire is hot and water is wet, and this is represented in the inflammation and slight oiliness in the skin for this skin type. Heat, vitamin D production, and skin radiance are all thought to be mediated by Pitta. When Pitta is in excess, your skin may be prone to inflamed acne, redness, increased sensitivity and rosacea.

How are the doshas influenced?

Each dosha is exacerbated when it’s elemental qualities are in excess. Anything hot and wet can exacerbate Pitta, whereas anything cooler and slightly dry can calm Pitta. Sun exposure, spicy food, hot and humid weather, and increased stress or anger are all considered heating and can contribute to skin sensitivity and acne seen with excess Pitta. If your skin becomes too dry then air, which stirs up fire, can cause your skin to be more inflamed as seen with red chapped skin in the winter.

What the skin says about the rest of your body

While the skin is often affected by the environment, it also often reflects what occurs internally. Stress, in particular, exacerbates Pitta and can also be associated with worsening of acne, rosacea, and eczema. What we eat can also have an effect.

Foods

In Ayurveda, foods have different effects on the body and skin. One of the most important ways to balance Pitta is to avoid spicy, sour and salty foods. Spicy and hot foods, in particular, can increase flushing in the skin and worsen rosacea. You can learn more about Pitta balancing foods here.

Take care of your skin, body, and mind from an Ayurvedic perspective

From an Ayurvedic perspective, imbalances in the doshas, or the physiologic mind-body constitution types, lead to different issues in both mental and physical well-being. The mind-body connection is well recognized in many different healing traditions and is now being recognized more in conventional medicine.

Ayurvedic philosophy focuses heavily on prevention and advocates adequate sleep, specialized healthy diet principles, and stress management. Herbal regimens can also be of benefit. Topical aloe vera is known to be cooling for Pitta and can also help decrease redness and inflammation in the skin. One study showed that a mix of oral and topical Ayurvedic herbs helped improve acne. Managing stress is especially important for those with Pitta, who tend to worsen their stress by overworking at times. Self-care through meditation and coconut oil self-body massage can calm the fire of the Pitta mind but also the skin.

Personality

Those with the Humid Subtropical skin tend to have an internal fire to their personality. They are the classic “Type A” individual. Those with this personality type know what they want in life and usually stay motivated to achieve their goals, given their focus and willingness to prioritize. While intelligent, ambitious, and assertive, they can even come off as aggressive at times. They are highly influential and often motivate others around them or those who work for them. They have difficulty with stopping projects once they start them, to the point that their work can take over their life. If this personality type does not take care to tame their focused drive, they can burn out quickly. Making a conscious effort to take time to enjoy life instead of working all the time can be very helpful for this personality type. Working on being less critical of one’s self can also be of benefit. 

In terms of friendships and relationships, they are dependable but can sometimes come off as judgmental or impatient. It’s hard to miss this person at a gathering since they can often be the life of the party. They can also become angry and critical, both with themselves and others, so it important for them to take time to self-reflect on themselves and the world around them.