With the arrival of fall, the vibrant colors of summer start to fade, and the temperature begins to drop. This seasonal transition brings about changes in your skin’s needs and challenges. As we bid farewell to the carefree days of summer, it’s time to adjust your skincare routine to ensure your complexion remains healthy, luminous, and well-protected throughout the autumn season. To guide you through this transformative skincare journey, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide with expert advice from facialists, dermatologists, and aesthetic doctors. Discover 11 essential fall skincare tips to help you maintain radiant skin.
1. Reassess Your Skin
September marks the beginning of a new season, making it an excellent time to reassess your skin’s condition. After months of sun exposure, increased pollution, and potential neglect during the summer, your skin may require some attention. Facialist Jasmina Vico emphasizes the importance of this step, stating, “DNA within the skin cells can be damaged by prolonged sun exposure, pollution, and a lack of sleep.” Take a close look at your skin, identify any changes such as dehydration, congestion, or pigmentation, and investigate their underlying causes. These issues could be the result of both external and internal factors. Once you’ve identified the root causes, you can begin using corrective products to repair, heal, and strengthen your skin. Ingredients like vitamin C and exfoliators can be valuable tools in this repair process.
2. Nurture Your Skin Barrier
As the temperatures drop and the air becomes drier, your skin is more likely to experience dryness and dehydration during the autumn and winter months. Aesthetic doctor Dr. Sophie Shotter advises, “Nurture your skin barrier because through autumn and winter, skin is more likely to be dry and dehydrated.” The constant transitions from cold outdoor air to warm indoor environments can weaken your skin’s protective barrier. In severe cases, conditions like rosacea may flare up, while milder effects can manifest as increased dryness, slight flakiness, or heightened sensitivity. Now is the time to prioritize the health of your skin barrier. Consider incorporating a moisturizer rich in ceramides into your skincare routine. For those with drier skin, look for formulations that include fatty acids to create a richer, more nourishing moisturizer. If your skin is on the oilier side, opt for lightweight, non-comedogenic creams.
3. Keep Your SPF Close
The arrival of fall doesn’t signal the end of the sunscreen season. Dr. Fiona McCarthy, an aesthetic doctor at The Bronte Clinic, reminds us that “UVA rays, which are responsible for the formation of lines and wrinkles, can penetrate clouds as well as glass.” These UVA rays remain a threat throughout the year, even during the fall and winter months. To future-proof your skin, continue using broad-spectrum sunscreen. Remember that the SPF in your moisturizer and makeup may not provide adequate protection. Invest in a dedicated SPF product and apply it as the final step in your morning skincare routine, following your moisturizer.
4. Address Pigmentation
The summer sun can often lead to an inevitable resurgence of pigmentation, despite your best efforts with sunscreen. Plastic surgery registrar Dr. Jo Mennie suggests shifting your focus towards repairing this damage during the autumn season. To tackle pigmentation, she recommends using a vitamin C serum that also contains hydroquinone, such as the Obagi Rx C-Clarifying Serum. This medical-grade product offers a high concentration of both ingredients, working in synergy to kickstart the pigmentation reversal process effectively.
5. Get Water Temperature Right
When cleansing your face, pay attention to the water temperature you use. Dermatologist Dr. Alexis Granite advises using lukewarm water, explaining that it “activates your cleanser to properly remove product build-up, dirt, and grime on the skin while also protecting the skin’s natural oils.” Hot water, on the other hand, can be irritating to the skin, leaving it sensitized, tight, and dry. Additionally, hot water can negatively impact the skin’s barrier. Although cold water may have its benefits, such as reducing puffiness, it is not as effective at thoroughly cleansing the skin as water at warmer temperatures.
6. Don’t Forget Your Lips
As you prepare your skin for the colder months, don’t neglect your lips. Medical doctor Dr. Tijion Esho emphasizes the importance of lip care, particularly during autumn and winter. The changing humidity levels and harsh winds can lead to increased transepidermal water loss, leaving your lips dry and cracked if not properly cared for. Dr. Esho recommends using a lip balm that contains squalene to hydrate and protect your lips. Additionally, ensure you apply SPF to your lips to shield them from the sun’s harmful effects.
7. Embrace Inside-Out Beauty
A change in seasons provides the perfect opportunity to introduce new habits that prioritize skin health from the inside out. Medical and cosmetic doctor Dr. Ewoma Ukeleghe is an advocate for supplements as part of her holistic approach to beauty and overall health. She recommends incorporating a collagen supplement into your autumn and winter routine. Products like Vida Glow’s Natural Marine Collagen can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promote healthy hair growth, and strengthen your nails.
Moisturizing is a crucial step in your skincare routine, especially during the colder months. Dr. Mary Sommerlad, a consultant dermatologist, underscores the importance of moisturizing your face, hands, body, and feet, particularly after showering when the skin is slightly damp. Dry, cold air and central heating can increase water loss from the skin, leading to dryness and itchiness. Look for multitasking moisturizers that draw in moisture, soften the skin, and prevent water loss. Key ingredients to seek in moisturizers include ceramides, which help repair the skin barrier, as well as humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which attract and retain water in the skin. Shea butter is a recommended plant oil due to its low irritation potential, and squalane is a valuable addition to any moisturizer.
9. Cleanse Correctly
Proper cleansing is fundamental for healthy skin, and getting it right is essential for effective skincare. Dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting advises using non-foaming, gentle cleansers with a skin-friendly pH of around 4-5 that won’t clog pores. A gel-based cleanser is an ideal choice, as it cleanses without causing pore blockages. Additionally, consider incorporating a micellar water into your routine for on-the-go cleansing and eye makeup removal. Dr. Bunting’s Flawless Cleansing Water, for example, contains just nine ingredients, combining gentle surfactants with excellent cleansing power and skin-soothing agents like glycerin and licorice extract to support the skin’s barrier.
10. Incorporate Chemical Exfoliators
As the fall season arrives, it’s an opportune time to reintroduce gentle chemical exfoliators into your skincare routine. Consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto recommends chemical exfoliants like lactic acid, mandelic acid, kojic acid, gluconolactone, and lactobionic acid. These acids are traditionally known to make the skin more sensitive to the sun, making autumn an ideal season for their reintroduction. They are effective at removing the upper layer of dead skin cells and targeting pigmentation, freckles, or uneven skin tone caused by summer sun exposure.
11. Restart with Retinol
Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient that is particularly well-suited for autumn and winter. Aesthetic doctor Dr. Maryam Zamani highlights its benefits, stating that “Retinol helps boost collagen production, decrease pigmentation, and improve skin tone.” This multitasking ingredient works by gently accelerating skin exfoliation and diminishing the lasting signs of sun damage from the summer. Consider incorporating retinol-based products like the MZ Skin Retinol Skin Booster into your evening skincare routine.
By following these 11 essential fall skincare tips, you can ensure that your skin remains radiant, healthy, and well-protected throughout the autumn season. Embrace the changing weather with a tailored skincare regimen, and enjoy the beauty of luminous, resilient skin as you transition from summer to fall.