If you think trading in those cute bikinis for comfy sweaters is all you need to do to be fall-ready, think again. Moving from summer to the cooler months requires more than just a wardrobe update, as a switch in seasons also calls for a change in your skin care routine. Summer skin care is mostly about keeping your skin shine-free and protected from the sun, but in the fall, you come face to face with other skin concerns that include repairing damage from all that frolicking in the beach.
“Skin tends to be drier in the fall or winter because our body equilibrates with the environment. The environment at this time is very dry and cold, which means our skin will mimic this,” says board-certified dermatologist Jill Waibel, M.D., of Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. “Since we are 90-percent water, water evaporates into the air during drier seasons. Our skin will become dehydrated and dull due to the lack of moisturization we are getting from the setting we are currently in.”
While your gel-based moisturizer may have kept your skin from being parched all summer long, it may not be enough to help it survive the dry air as the temperature drops. Luckily, making a smooth transition from summer to fall doesn’t always require a complete overhaul of your skin care regimen. Sometimes, it only takes a few tweaks and switches and if you’re lucky, you may even get to keep that face wash you can’t live without!
Here are a few tips on how to transition your summer skin care products to fall.
While constant sun exposure may have kept your exfoliating routine to a minimum in the summer, it’s important to make it a habit in the fall “to keep your complexion looking bright,” says New York-based dermatologist Craig Austin, M.D., founder of Cane+Austin. “Daily peel pads with glycolic acid can help aid in the skin’s natural turnover process, revealing brighter, clearer skin.” Exfoliating can also reduce breakouts by sloughing off dead skin cells and help lighten skin discoloration.
When it comes to cleansers, board-certified dermatologist Janet Prystowsky, M.D., of Livad Skincare says your best bet year-round are gentle, soap-free cleansers that won’t irritate your skin and aggravate any existing concerns. For fall, you can even start a double-cleansing routine by lathering your face with a cleansing oil to remove makeup and grime without stripping your skin of moisture, then follow it up with your tried-and-tested face wash.
If you’ve been incorporating toners in your skin care routine, you need not worry about having to skip it in the fall. Though toners are essential to keeping your skin balanced and boosting hydration, make sure you reach for ones that are not alcohol-based, says Dr. Prystowsky. “While they may feel like they tighten skin, it’s only because the outer layer of your skin is constricting from drying out.”
No matter the season, nutrient-dense serums are your skin’s superfood and should always be part of your regimen. “One should always use a serum throughout the year that includes antioxidant powerhouses such as CoQ10, ceramides, omegas and of course, vitamin C,” says certified esthetician Dayle Breault.
“The key to your fall/winter skin regimen is to moisturize, hydrate and moisturize some more!” says Dr. Waibel. Colder temperatures require richer creams for your face and heavier lotions for your body as not only will these “actively replenish the moisture in your skin,” they will also “give you that dewy and glowing look,” says Dr. Austin. Reach for formulas with natural ingredients like aloe and shea butter and humectants like hyaluronic acid. Another way to avoid dull and dry skin is to add a layer of face oil to your routine. Aside from providing your skin with necessary moisture, different face oils offer many benefits—from repairing damage, lightening scars and wrinkles to soothing skin and improving moisture.
Don’t let the colder temperature fool you—UVA rays can penetrate the skin even on cloudy days! Up to two-thirds of sun damage is acquired from everyday activities like commuting, so it’s just as important to apply sunscreen in the fall or winter. Instead of pushing that bottle at the back of your bathroom counter, better keep it handy in your purse!
Dry skin becomes one of the top concerns as soon as temperatures begin to drop, but you can help prevent this with a cream mask that targets parched skin. Another product you can use to boost your fall skin care routine? Retinol, says Dr. Prystowsky. Retinoid products smoothen your skin’s texture and fight signs of aging. Keep in mind since they are photoreactive, Dr. Prystowsky advises against using them in the summer.