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How to Transition Your Skincare Routine from Summer to Fall

Just like your wardrobe changes from breezy sundresses and sandals to chunky sweaters and boots in the fall, so should your skin care. Your skin certainly recognizes changes in climate and responds to them to regulate its needs, and unfortunately, as cooler temperatures kick in, the lack of moisture in the air can give way to a myriad of skin problems: dryness, flakiness, break-outs and irritation. But fret not. With the right combination of skin-nourishing ingredients, you can shed summer damage on your skin, and uncover a glowing complexion.

Keep reading for expert tips on how to transition your skin care routine from summer to fall without making your skin angry.

Switch to a Thicker Moisturizer
Your favorite, lightweight, oil-free moisturizer is likely not going to pull its weight in the fall. Cooler, drier air usually translates to drier skin, so that means that as temperatures start to dip, it’s time to swap your summer moisturizing staple for richer, more hydrating options.

For a moisturizer with all the bells and whistles, opt for one with ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which are all great at restoring your skin’s lipid barrier and hydrate skin. Pro tip: apply your moisturizer when your skin is damp, to trap the water in before it escapes.

Jan Marini Transformation Face Cream

SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

After the dog days of basking in the sun (sans sunburn, hopefully), your skin may have a buildup of dead skin cells. Exfoliating can help your skin shed those dead skin cells to reveal a radiant complexion. However, be careful not to over do it.

Over exfoliating can create tiny cracks in your skin barrier that can lead to drier skin and irritation. Pro tip: Use a gentle, chemical exfoliant that won’t irritate or strip your skin of moisture, such as lactic acid, glycolic acid, or azelaic acid.

StriVectin Lactic Acid Nightly Retexturizing Serum

Replenix Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Peel

Use a Gentle Cleanser
While summer may be a great time to use those gel-based foaming cleansers that curb oil production and encourage cell turnover, fall and winter are prime time to pull out your gentle, lotion or cream-based cleansers.

The surfactants in foaming cleansers can strip the skin too much of its natural oils. That in combination with the already-drier fall air may be a recipe for a skin freak-out. Pro tip: Watch for surfactant ingredients in your cleanser, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate.

PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Add a Hydrating Serum
Applying a hydrating serum before your moisturizer will bring your hydration game to the next level. Serums contain ingredients in a more concentrated cocktail, and they come in various forms to target various skin concerns such as dullness, aging, hydration, and more. Pro tip: Pick a serum with hyaluronic acid and peptides.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Use a Retinol
Aside from exfoliating, retinol is your best friend when it pertains to getting rid of sun-induced skin dullness or discoloration. It’s also the gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging.

Retinol is a type of retinoid, which is made from vitamin A. It goes deep beneath the epidermis to neutralize free radicals and boost the production of elastic and collagen. In turn, it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Pro tip: Retinol can cause photosensitivity, which is why the fall is a better time to introduce the product more consistently into your skin care routine.

SkinMedica Retinol Complex 0.5

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0

Continue to Wear SPF
Do not be fooled by the waning hours of sunlight, the fall is no time to snooze on applying sunscreen daily. Sunscreen should be used year-round, rain or shine. In fact, even in overcast weather, clouds don’t block the harmful UVA or UVB rays from penetrating your skin.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clouds filter less than 25% of the UV rays that can cause skin cancer. Pro tip: Choose a mineral sunscreen with zinc and titanium dioxide, and at least SPF 30 for prime sun protection.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted Face Sunscreen

MDSolarSciences Mineral Crème SPF 50

Wear a Lip Mask
Your skin isn’t the only thing that gets dry as the days get colder. Your lips do too, and they can chap, flake and crack. A lip mask with occlusive ingredients such as petrolatum, glycerin, and beeswax can help keep your pout moisturized and younger-looking. Pro tip: Exfoliate your lips at least once a week with a sugar lip scrub before applying a lip mask to lock in moisture.

GrandePOUT Plumping Lip Mask

PCA Skin Overnight Lip Mask

Invest in a Humidifier
The dryer outside air is one thing, but the dry heat from your apartment, home or office can serve another threat to your skin barrier, which can lead to flaking cracking and peeling.

Adding in a humidifier like the Dyson Purifier Humidifier can reintroduce moisture into the air and neutralize the dry air’s effects on your skin.

As the temperature dips in the fall, your skin needs richer products than can help keep it hydrated and promote a healthy, glowing complexion. Transitioning your skin care products from summer to fall by adding thicker moisturizers, gentle cleansers, and hydrating serums can help your skin stay bright, calm, and flake-free.