Skincare Routine: Fall is upon us, and while we’re sad to see the summer months go, we’re looking forward to the season’s cooler weather, gorgeous gold foliage, and (of course!) warm, cozy lattes. Every season, we prep for fall by switching out our warm-weather-wear for comfy sweaters, boots, and light jackets. But what about our beauty routines? Our beauty products and skincare routines are in need of a swap too—those lightweight moisturizers and gel cleansers just won’t cut it in the colder months.
Your skin has certain needs in the summer (extra SPF for the summer sun, a face mist to cool you down, gel moisturizers to let your skin breathe), but fall weather calls for formulas that deliver what your skin craves after being exposed to dry air.
Skincare Routine, “Skin loses a lot of moisture into the environment when the air is less humid, such as during the transition from summer to fall,” says dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD. But it can be hard to choose the right skincare products. To take the guesswork out of your skincare routine for fall, we’ve rounded up the best fall skincare tips and products that we love to get your skin glowing and looking its healthiest yet!
1. Use a Gentle Cleanser
Skincare Routine, Light, foamy cleansers feel so refreshing in the summertime, but when there’s less humidity in the air, you need a balancing cleanser that can hydrate without stripping away moisture. “Switch to more humectant (water-based) products in the fall and winter vs emollient (oil-based) products in the spring and summer,” says esthetician Jessica Houston.
2. Exfoliate Gently and Less Often
Skincare Routine, If you’re experiencing dullness and dryness, it may be tempting to scrub, scrub, scrub to brighten up your complexion. But exfoliating aggressively can lead to even more dryness and irritation. Your summer skin has more of a buffer—thanks in part to humidity that attracts moisture to your skin—to cushion irritation that exfoliants can bring on. Use exfoliants less often and make it one that’s easy on your skin.
Instead, if you must exfoliate, opt for a chemical exfoliant. “Fall is a great time to start using those stronger AHAs and BHAs, as they could sensitize the skin during the summer with a lot of sun exposure,” says Houston.
Skincare Routine, If you feel your skin needs it, you can use a gentle exfoliating toner two to three times a week. Just be sure you’re using plenty of hydrating products in conjunction.
3. Use a Hydrating Toner or Serum
Skincare Routine, Did you know hyaluronic acid is a humectant that helps bring moisture to the skin? It’s like an all-powerful skin hydrating ingredient. And when it comes to vitamin C, not only does it provide the skin with antioxidants and protection against free radicals, it brightens your complexion by evening skin tone and fading dark marks.
Add both a vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum into your routine to keep skin glowing, plump, and hydrated like it’s still summer!
4. Swap for a Richer Moisturizer
Skincare Routine, It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the easiest ways to prep your skin for fall is by swapping your lightweight lotion for a richer formula, or layering them. “Dry skin requires both humectants and emollients that draw in moisture and lock in moisture, respectively,” says Dr. Nazarian. “A good humectant is hyaluronic acid which draws water into the skin, and skin barrier repairing creams such as CERAVE Daily Moisturizing Lotion that contains ceramides to be applied afterward. These help decrease the loss of moisture into the environment over time.”
5. Don’t Skip the SPF!
Skincare Routine, Yup, that’s right—you need to protect your skin from sun damage all year long (even in cold weather). “SPFs are still very important because although the temperature drops, there’s still radiation year-round and even a small amount of radiation can add up to the cumulative damage that leads to skin cancer, wrinkles, pigmentary problems, and aging of skin,” says Dr. Nazarian. “I like sunscreens that have added hydration and are still lightweight and that protect skin from ultraviolet light while moisturizing all day long.”
6. Keep Your Showers Short
Skincare Routine, A long soak in a tub after a cold day sounds heavenly, right? We’re not saying to skip out on your bubble bath completely, but limiting your exposure to hot water can go a long way to keep your skin hydrated and happy.
7. Pick Up a New Body Cream
Skincare Routine, Moisturizing from top-to-toe is extremely important in the cold winter months. “Apply moisturizer immediately after the bath, and use an emollient (like VASELINE) after you moisturize to lock in moisture and prevent evaporation. People also often wash their skin too aggressively, which can strip skin’s natural moisture barrier and lead to drying,” says Dr. Nazarian.
By moisturizing your whole body, you’re protecting and actively rebuilding your skin barrier, which protects your skin from redness, flakiness, and even eczema due to cold weather.
8. Buy a Humidifier
Skincare Routine, We love coming into a cozy, heated home. But your heating system can seriously suck moisture from the air, leaving little for your skin. “You can minimize the potential for dry skin by using a humidifier to add moisturizer into the air during colder, drier months,” says Dr. Nazarian. So, when our heat goes on, we turn on our humidifier (especially when we’re sleeping) to help prevent moisture loss at night. Trust us, your skin will thank you for it.
9. Be Mindful of Sugar
This one isn’t as obvious to most skincare lovers as the weather turns colder. With the holiday season approaching in the colder months, it’s natural to be eating lots of yummy sweet treats. Our favorite fall treats are definitely apple cider donuts and pumpkin pie!
Keeping in mind, foods high in sugar and refined carbs can sometimes break out our skin due to hormone increases. Make sure to drink plenty of water and monitor your skin — it will tell you what it needs more of and what it needs less of!
10. Don’t Forget Your Feet, Elbows, and Lips
Skincare Routine, You might find this tip funny—why do I need to pay attention to my feet, elbows, and lips? Well, the bottoms of our feet and our elbows are some of the thickest parts of our skin and they require a lot of moisture to keep hydrated. They’re also the parts that can lose water and hydration the quickest. So while you’re using your body cream pay extra attention to these areas to prevent them from getting rough and calloused.
As for your lips, they’re one of the most delicate parts of our skin. Although they have the ability to heal quickly, you’ll want to prevent them from cracking in the cold weather. Keep a thick lip balm (like Vaseline or Aquaphor) in your bag to reapply and treat them throughout the day.