Transitioning from summer to fall isn’t just tough on your wardrobe. Dry air and colder temps can do a number on already-sensitive skin.
Your skin’s needs differ based on temperature and seasons. To keep your skin looking its best, update your routine with these smart moves:
SMART SKIN MOVE #1: EXFOLIATE
“Your skin can appear dull and dry after a summer spent in the sun,” says dermatologist Dr. Michele Grodberg. Exfoliation can remove the dull outer layer of skin, and unclog pores plugged by regular sunscreen use. But be gentle with exfoliation: A mild scrub or a baby washcloth, will do a fine job. “Exfoliate only once or twice a week, and don’t get over-aggressive,” says Dr. Grodberg. Too-vigorous scrubbing can scratch, tear, and damage skin, compromising the glow that gentle exfoliation gives.
Another exfoliation option: Microdermabrasion or glycolic acid peels. These procedures are more effective and quicker at removing the superficial dead layer of skin.
SMART SKIN MOVE #2: SWITCH CLEANSERS
Your skin was probably oilier than usual in the summer, due to heat and humidity, so a deeper-cleansing face wash is in order. But come fall, when the heat begins to disappear, you need a gentler cleanser. Look for a non-soap product, such as Cetaphil, which removes dirt and impurities but doesn’t strip your skin’s natural oils. “If you tend to be oily in the T-zone, apply an oil-free toner to that area after you cleanse,” recommends Dr. Grodberg.
SMART SKIN MOVE #3: ADD MOISTURIZER
Whether you used only your sunscreen or skipped moisturizer altogether in the summer, you’ll need to add this product back into your routine in the fall. “Choose a basic moisturizer that contains vitamins A, C, and E, plus anti-oxidants, such as green tea,” says Dr. Grodberg. These ingredients neutralize the damaging toxins from the sun, and can help prevent further damage when summer is over. If your skin is dry, use your moisturizer all over your face at night. If you’re oily, apply only to dry areas like cheeks at night. During the day, apply a light sunscreen.
A word of caution: Many moisturizers today contain rejuvenating ingredients such as glycolic acid and retinol. These ingredients can be helpful in giving skin luminosity, “but they can be drying to older skin,” says Dr. Grodberg. If you choose to use these products, apply them every other night, alternating with your moisturizer, to help keep the drying effects at bay. Only use retinol products at night.
1. Take it easy.
“The biggest skin woes my patients complain about as they head into fall are uneven tone and rough, flaky patches,” explains Dr. Diane Berson, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Cornell’s Weill Medical College. “This is usually because they spent the summer in the sun and sand.” Before the mercury drops anymore, start treating yourself to a weekly, hydrating facial.
2. Don’t scrimp on sunscreen.
Even though your beach-bumming days are numbered, don’t slack on vigilant sun protection, no matter your natural skin tone. “As humidity levels drop, your skin isn’t able to absorb as much moisture from the air,” says Berson. “So, switch out your sheer sunscreens for formulas that contain moisturizing ingredients, as well as UV-blockers.”
Want to hold on to those last remnants of your summer tan? Think again. Flaky skin (bronzed or not) can clog pores and dull the overall appearance of your skin. Microdermabrasion can be the most effective way to slough away dead skin cells,” notes Berson. “But washing with a motorized cleanser brush also does the trick.”
4. Tend to your body.
“The summer sun doesn’t just dry out your cheeks, nose, and ears,” warns Berson. “It also affects the lips, cuticles, feet, and knee caps.” For a 360-degree approach to fall skin prep (that will also save you money later), opt for cream-based lip balms and slather up daily with body lotions enriched with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and Vitamin E.
5. Attack acne.
Seasonal shifts trigger stress symptoms in the body, leading to (gasp) even more breakouts than usual. “Just remember to tend to all of your skin instead of zero-ing in on specific blemishes” warns Berson. “If you spot treat pimples, you’ll always be ignoring the zit brewing right next door.” Find a skin-care regimen that uses salicylic acid and stick with it to ward off breakouts before they start.