When rainy spring days end and sunny summer days are upon us, everyone knows to amp up the sunscreen. And when temps drop and wintry weather fills the forecast, it’s almost intuitive to reach for thick, luxuriously creamy moisturizers to soothe your dried-out skin.
But what about the seasonal transition from summer to fall? Turns out, your skincare routine is more than ready for a revamp at the end of August.
“A change in the season is always a great opportunity to reassess your current routine, how it's serving you, and how it will help your skin continue to thrive with climate fluctuations,” advises Mona Sershest PA-C, MSPAS, a dermatology physician assistant and content creator in Los Angeles. “Going into the fall months, it’s not uncommon to notice slight changes in the skin. Outdoor temperatures dropping, a decrease in overall humidity, an increase in hot showers, and indoor heaters stripping moisture from the air can all contribute to drier and more dehydrated skin.”
So what exactly should you be doing to roll with these seasonal changes? We asked dermatology experts and estheticians to divulge which skincare ingredients you should add to your grown-up back-to-school skincare shopping list — and which products they recommend for achieving an autumnal glow.
If you’re prone to seasonal dryness, your first step in maintaining your dewiness is to switch out your cleanser. “Swap out your foaming cleanser for a more gentle option,” suggests Josha Zeicher M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. “Lathering cleansers, especially those that contain salicylic acid are great options in the summer because they effectively remove oil from the skin. However, they may be overly drying in the colder, dryer months.“ He recommends hydrating, cleansing lotions, oils or micellar water cleansers for the crisp fall months.
If you’re new to hyaluronic acid, it’s basically the superstar of moisture replenishment (seriously — it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, according to Seresht). It’s a humectant, which means it draws water to the skin’s surface for that soft, plump texture you crave. Adding hyaluronic acid to your routine (especially in place of one of your exfoliation days) will make your skin soft as velvet.
We love The Organic Pharmacy Hyaluronic Acid products. The silky and smooth formula absorbs quickly and delivers a constant stream of hydration throughout the day.
Retinol, ICYDK, is an over-the-counter chemical derived from vitamin A famous for its anti-aging benefits. However, retinol can also make you sensitive to the sun, so many people ditch it during the summer months, notes Dr. Zeichner. If that’s you, he recommends re-adding it to your fall skincare routine.
“Retinol is the best ingredient,” he says. “It improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. At the same time, it enhances cell turnover to help the skin shed dead cells or those that are heavily pigmented. It also stimulates collagen to strengthen the foundation of the skin.”
Similar to swapping out your gel cleanser, your moisturizer needs a fall upgrade too. “Light moisturizers feel great during the summer, but [they] usually don’t offer enough hydration for some individuals once the temperature and humidity drops,” points out Seresht. “Using richer products that contain ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid help to support the skin barrier and penetrate deeper to provide long-lasting hydration.
News flash: Skincare isn’t just for your face. Your scalp undergoes seasonal changes too, including dryness. “Dandruff flares are common during changes of season, so [using] anti-dandruff shampoos a few times weekly can be helpful,” says Dr. Liu.
Unlike humectants, which draw water into your skin, occlusives form a protective barrier to lock existing moisture into your skin’s barrier. If you suffer from cracked, dry skin in the winter, get a head start by incorporating occlusive body balms into your routine ASAP. Province Apothecary Hydration Rescue Balm is a multi-purpose soothing cream that hydrates cracked, chapped, chafed skin, and dry skin irritations,” notes Seresht. “It’s non-greasy and relieves dry, rough skin, while protecting from the drying effects of the wind and cold.”