It might still feel like summer, but fall is practically among us. While you might still be able to get away with rocking sleeveless tops, denim shorts and your favorite pair of mules—for now anyway—your skincare routine will soon be in desperate need of changes. The onset of the colder season brings a whole new set of skincare problems including dryness, blotchiness, dullness—even breakouts. To keep your complexion looking smooth and glowy throughout the fall and winter—here are 10 dermatologist-recommended tips that will help your skin transition without the seasonal freak-outs.
“It is all about hydration at this time of year to both repair post summer skin concerns and prepare for winter,” says dermatologist Dr. Audrey Kunin of Dermadoctor. “The use of an oil-based cleaner can be less drying than detergent-based cleaners and potentially leave a hydrating, protective film. I like adding an oil-based treatment to the skin to fully nourish, hydrate and protect skin. Try an oil cleanser like Laneige Perfect Pore Cleanser ($36).
Stick to cleansers that are pH balanced.
Dr. Kunin recommends a cleanser that’s not only detergent-free but that’s also pH balanced. “This is really important to maintain the protective acid mantle of the skin,” she says. “Milky, gentle bases are ideal.” Try Glossier Milky-Jelly Cleanser ($18).
Add a toner to your routine.
There’s a reason why toners have been making such a huge comeback in skincare lately. Kunin explains that they help remove pollutants, dirt, and residual cosmetics from skin. They also help balance skin as well. Fortunately a lot of the toners out in the market these days no longer contain high levels of alcohol, helping them to hydrate and replenish skin rather than drying it out. Try DERMAdoctor Ain’t Misbehavin’ Toner ($39). “It also contains AHAs to help gently exfoliate dry, flaking skin, and impurities while leaving the complexion glowing,” Dr. Kunin says.
Layer on a serum.
“The addition of a hyaluronic acid serum is a perfect choice. While lightweight in texture, it holds 1000 times its weight in water,” Dr. Kunin says. “With the temperature swings at this time of year, it won’t feel heavy yet will provide critical moisture. Try SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier ($98).
Vitamin C is key.
Dr. Kunin highly recommends incorporating vitamin C serums into your skincare routine especially during the colder months. “At this time of year, it is particularly helpful for brightening and evening the appearance of skin tone often darkened or spotted from summer sun,” she says. “It also helps naturally restore the skin’s naturally acidic pH balance. This helps skin cells lying flatly upon each other, reducing potential dehydration, which helps protect against dry heat from furnaces come autumn and call fall/winter weather.” Try an overnight vitamin C treatment like DERMAdoctor Kakadu C ($74). This evening oil is packed with vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid.
Switch to more intensely hydrating moisturizers.
“Make sure to include or switch to a moisturizer that provides additional hydration and protection from skin,” says Dr. Kunin. “Boosting vital minerals and electrolytes can be important for achieving healthy skin.” Try DERMAdoctor Lucky Bamboo Jukyeom 9x Water Gel ($54). “It’s an ideal option to provide the essentials for daily healthy skin plus a moisture burst. It’s light-weight yet powerful,” she adds.
Keep using sunscreen.
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should shelf your sunscreen. If fact, Dr. Kunin recommends always using one on your face, regardless of the season. “Make sure your sunscreen provides a broad spectrum SPF 30 year-round. An SPF containing antioxidants such as vitamin C and E plus tea extracts can be protective against antioxidants and help brighten skin dulled from hours of outdoor summertime UV exposure,” she says. Try a an ultra hydrating but light-weight option like ReVive Sensitif Renewal Cream Daily Cellular Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen or Garnier Moisture Bomb The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer SPF 30 ($17).
Make face-masking a regular thing.
“Detoxifying masks help exfoliate and cleanse away damage experienced during summertime exposure to UV rays, chlorine and pollutants,” says Dr. Kunin. “Make sure your mask of choice contains hydrating agents such as hyaluronic acid, squalene or allantoin to replenish post-summer thirsty skincare needs and prep skin for dry, cooler weather.” Try a good detoxing and complexion clearing treatment like Tata Harper Clarifying Mask ($68).
Get a good hydrating mask.
Hydrating masks that moisturize skin are just as essential as detoxing ones. Look for a formula that will leave skin smooth, soft and radiant. Try Fresh Rose Face Mask ($62).
Get seasonal facials.
“Facials should be done no more than once a month,” says Dr. Kunin. “Exfoliation helps remove impurities and dry, flaking skin. Make sure your esthetician applies protective emollients at the end of your facial.”