How To Transition Your Skin Care Routine For Fall

Dermatologists recommend what to add and what to ditch when it comes to beauty products and steps in your routine.
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Is your beauty cabinet ready for fall? According to a study in the British Journal of Dermatology, decreased temperatures and humidity can affect your skin health. While it’s tempting to stick with the regimen that held you down in the summer, you may want to make updates as it gets colder.

Since skin typically produces less oil in colder months, your skin can start to experience extra dryness in the fall and winter.

Though it’s tempting to avoid the cold by staying indoors, blasting heat doesn’t exactly help, either. Board-certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick explained that “in colder weather, we tend to rely on indoor heating, which can also strip moisture. If there’s not enough moisture in the environment, the skin becomes more dry and flaky.”

Drop these parts of your routine when fall arrives

Depending on your skin type, you may want to wash your face less often in the fall. “Those on the drier end of the spectrum may not need to wash their face in the morning, but someone who is more oily may need to wash morning and night,” Garshick told HuffPost. If you’re cutting back on cleansing, she suggests the best time to wash it: “Once a day, at the end of the day, is most important. In the morning you can use a micellar water and avoid harsh products such as scrubs.”

While summer skin calls for exfoliating two to three times a week, in the fall, New York-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali recommends switching to a gentler formula just once a week and dropping alcohol-based toners. “Exfoliating cuts to the pore. In the summer you exfoliate more because your skin is more oily,” he said.

Those with acne-prone skin might see benefits from cutting back on scrubs and toners, Bhanusali said. “One of the most common causes of adult acne in the winter months is overexfoliation. If you overexfoliate, there’s an excess secretion of oil.”

Ingredients and formulas you should pick up now

Garshick says skin care basics are similar throughout the year, so “you still want to be using a cleanser and a moisturizer, but you do want to change the types of formulation and the frequency of what you’re doing.” She suggests trading summer-friendly foam and gel cleansers for a cream or hydrating alternative. She also recommends swapping a lightweight moisturizer for a richer formula that will “trap the moisture in.”

With less humidity in the air and oil production on the face, Bhanusali also recommends incorporating more hydrating ingredients like squalene and hyaluronic acid into your routine. “Hyaluronic acid is really good at maintaining the moisture you have. It’s going to keep you from getting dried out,” he said.

Which practices should you keep doing?

Like cleansing, some daily practices or products don’t have to change. Bhanusali says that “niacinamide is good year-round and good for all skin types and colors.”

And even as the temperatures drop, “you should still be wearing sunscreen every day,” he said. In colder, less humid temps, “you may want a thicker sunscreen or the SPF and moisturizer in one,” he added. When outdoors, sunscreen helps prevent windburn ― the burning and redness your skin might feel after being in the cold ― and while indoors, an SPF 30 can help with rays that come in through the window, as well as blue light that comes from the screens of electronic devices.

When to make the switch

Instead of waiting for a specific date or temperature, the experts suggest paying close attention to your skin to know when to switch your routine. “If you have dry, flaky skin,” Bhanusali says, “you’re behind the eight ball. Stay in front of it.”

“If you’re susceptible to the changes, get a sense of what your skin is doing,” Garshick advised. “If it’s feeling tighter when you wash your face, sometimes that can mean that there’s less moisture in the air.”

If you’ve already switched to your cold-weather products but the temperatures spike up again, Garshick says you can adjust as needed. “You can always change your routine day to day. If you find there’s a warm humid day in October, you can always change back.”

Dermatologist-Recommended Products For Fall

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CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
“Switch to a more gentle cleanser,” Bhanusali advised. “You need to do less exfoliating due to less oil production as the weather gets cooler.”

Get CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for $14.53.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Bhanusali likes this moisturizer, which helps repair your skin via barrier protection and is a “great way to heal damaged skin from the sun.”

Get CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for $16.08.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen
For those who hate feeling like they have sunscreen on, Bhanusali recommends this invisible, weightless, scentless SPF 40 formula, which doubles as a makeup-gripping daily primer.

Get Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen for $34.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum
“Up ingredients like hyaluronic acid to help retain the moisture in the skin and so you don't dry out,” Bhanusali recommends.

Get Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum for $15.46.
Aquaphor Lip Protectant
“Remember your lips, which can be especially susceptible to dryness,” Garshick tells HuffPost. Bhanusali likes thicker lip balms, which “can be used at night as lip masks.”

Get Aquaphor Lip Protectant for $3.19.
Levoit Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Humidifiers can be helpful in colder months, especially for those with eczema and other skin conditions.

Get the Levoit Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier for $39.99.

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