Fall often signals changes to our routines, whether it’s pulling on a sweater in the mornings or swapping your iced coffee for a pumpkin spice latte.
As the seasons change, you might notice your skin is looking and feeling a little different too. If that’s the case, it may be time for some adjustments to your skin care routine.
On top of that, the summer surf, sand, and sun can leave your skin in need of a little extra TLC.
Ready to address your post-summer skin care concerns and prep your skin for dry fall weather? Read on to learn how.
While summer is a great time to get plenty of sun, it can take a toll on your skin. Extra sun exposure can lead to several skin concerns, like:
“Without a doubt, the most damage caused to our skin over the summer months is from the sun,” says Tracey Ryan, scientific skin care advisor at Skin Trust Club. “In fact, around 80 percent of all the outward signs of aging on our skin is caused by UV exposure.”
This can show up in the form of pigmentation, like freckles and dark spots. You may also notice more fine lines and wrinkles.
“As well as the sun, we expose our skin to salt water, chlorinated pool water, and air conditioning, which all contribute to dehydrated skin,” Ryan adds.
Overall, you might find your skin is looking a little duller than usual.
Hassan El Husseini, dermatologist at Dr. Kayle Aesthetic Clinic, Dubai, agrees.
El Husseini says this is a result of heat and environmental factors that can cause the skin’s glow and plumpness to disappear.
While our skin will get a break from the high temperatures and extreme sun exposure in the colder weather, Ryan says it will have to contend with drier air as the temperature falls. This is because cold air holds less moisture.
“This reduction of moisture in the air can cause our skin to become drier and even cracked and chapped,” she explains.
On top of that, you may be cranking up the heat indoors.
“In response to the colder temperatures, we turn up the central heating,” Ryan adds. “This dry heat also causes the skin to lose moisture and so we are hit with a double whammy.”
Add to that lingering signs of summer skin damage, like pigmentation, dullness, and congestion, and you may have a slew of skin concerns on your hands.
Your go-to skin plan as the weather turns colder? Rejuvenating skin care, says Ryan.
“Rejuvenative skin care is all about the skin retaining its [healthy] appearance by being well-hydrated, plumped, and functioning optimally,” she explains.
It’s also about restoring the skin’s barrier. When your skin barrier is working as it should, it will retain moisture and keep your skin hydrated.
When it’s compromised, you’re more prone to dehydration and moisture loss.
“Rejuvenative skin care helps to restore the skin barrier by adding much-needed lipids and ceramides and preventing further damage by using suitable products,” Ryan says.
The good news is you don’t have to toss all of your products, and don’t need to spend a whole lot of money completely updating your skin care kit either.
Adjusting your skin care routine for fall is all about making small tweaks to your current regimen and slowly introducing new ingredients.
Try the tips below.
Opt for a gentle cleanser
“As a rule of thumb, if your skin feels tight after washing, it’s likely that the cleanser you are using has disrupted your skin barrier,” explains ElHusseini.
Instead, you should opt for a cleanser that cleans your skin without stripping it of moisture.
According to Ryan, switching cleansers that foam or lather for oil-based or balm cleansers is your best bet.
Add a hydration step
With cold temperatures and central heating drying out the skin, adding hydration is key.
Ryan advises adding an extra hydration step, such as a hydrating spritz, right after cleansing.
She recommends using products that contain humectants, like:
ElHusseini also recommends hyaluronic acid.
“As a humectant, it attracts moisture and acts like a sponge, making it a go-to ingredient for maintaining the skin’s moisture balance,” he explains.
You’ll find hyaluronic acid in products such as serums and moisturizers.
Choose a richer moisturizer
One of the biggest skin care challenges in autumn is targeting moisture loss. To help, Ryan suggests going for a slightly richer moisturizer or adding a facial oil into your routine.
“You could swap out your light lotion or gel-based moisturizers for something a little richer to help seal the moisture in,” she advises.
Thicker moisturizers tend to have a higher oil content.
“Oils are emollients and keep our skin soft and supple, but they also help lock in hydration,” Ryan explains.
Keep using SPF
The sun might not be making an appearance quite so often, but that doesn’t mean you should throw your sunscreen in the trash.
You still need to protect yourself from UV rays even if it’s overcast.
“SPF is still your skin’s best friend, so apply it daily in the morning,” advises Spirithoula Koukoufikis, senior medical aesthetician at Skinfluencer London.
It’s also a good idea to top up throughout the day.
The American Academy Of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above.
Add in some active ingredients
Koukoufikis says fall is a great time to begin adding in or increasing the use of active ingredients. You can try:
It’s important to introduce these ingredients slowly by using a lower percentage to avoid irritation or damage.
These ingredients can increase sun sensitivity, so introducing them when your exposure to sunlight is lower could present a lower sun damage risk when compared to the summer months. Still, it’s essential to use SPF when using these products!
Do a freshness check
As fall comes around, you may have a stash of products leftover from summer.
Koukoufikis says now is also a good time to check all of your products to ensure they haven’t expired.
Here are a few skin care steps you might want to skip in fall.
Ryan says physical exfoliation is a big no-no, so you might want to skip grainy scrubs and manual exfoliation devices.
“These can be too rough on the skin and don’t play well with dry skin,” she explains.
Instead, you should look for gentle acidic exfoliation. Try a product with lactic acid or gluconolactone, Ryan advises.
Too much layering
Overburdening the skin is also a big mistake. Choose just a few basics and stick with them to avoid irritating the skin.
Doing a total overhaul
It can be tempting to change everything at once, but it’s best to introduce new active ingredients one by one, as drier skin can sometimes be more sensitive.
Our skin care needs change with the seasons and what worked for you in the summer, might not necessarily work as well in fall.
To rejuvenate your skin after summer and tackle seasonal moisture loss, opt for gentle cleansers, rich moisturizers, and hydrating ingredients – and don’t forget your SPF.
Remember, making small, slow changes is key.
Victoria Stokes is a writer from the United Kingdom. When she’s not writing about her favorite topics, personal development, and well-being, she usually has her nose stuck in a good book. Victoria lists coffee, cocktails, and the color pink among some of her favorite things. Find her on Instagram.