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Transitioning Your Skincare Routine from Summer to Fall

The shift from summer to fall means packing away our swimsuits and sunglasses in exchange for scarves, cozy sweaters, and lots of pumpkin spice. And just like adjusting our wardrobe, it’s important to transition your skincare routine from summer to fall once the season shifts. 

The quick change in temperature, weather, humidity, and activities takes a toll on our skin. The cooler weather and drier air (in addition to indoor heating and hot showers) disrupt the skin’s protective moisture barrier, stripping away hydration and making the skin more prone to sensitivity and discomfort like cracking, flaking, and eczema.  

Coming off a summer spent enjoying the sun, many people will also want to target the effects of sun damage and acne breakouts, which can ramp up in the warmer months. Concerns like melasma, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, post-acne marks, or clogged pores may be at the top of your list to treat once autumn rolls around. 

So, is transitioning your skincare routine from summer to fall necessary? The answer is a resounding yes. Even small tweaks to your routine can protect your skin from the colder months ahead so you can maintain that summer glow all year. 

Don’t know where to start? Follow our 8 essential fall skincare tips below. 

  1. Use a thicker moisturizer

Our number one fall skincare tip is to swap out those lightweight, gel-cream moisturizers for thicker formulations. Look for creamy, nourishing moisturizers that will support the skin barrier against cold weather, indoor heating, and environmental irritants. Ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, glycerin, squalane, aloe vera, and fatty acids will all help revitalize dry skin and prevent moisture loss.

Moisturizers like Medature’s PSL Repair Moisturizer or SkinMedica’s Dermal Repair Cream are perfect options to add to your fall skincare routine.

  1. Reach for a gentle face cleanser

While the summer was a great time to use your gel and exfoliating cleansers, experts recommend switching to a cream-based face wash for fall. Due to a lack of humidity and colder temps, our skin produces less oil during the fall and winter. So using gel-based or foaming cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils. Creamy, moisturizing face cleansers like the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser or PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser are great, gentle swaps that keep skin calm and lock in moisture. 

  1. Keep using your SPF

Summer may be over, but you should still use your daily SPF. Even on cold, cloudy days, UV rays are peaking through causing collagen depletion and sun damage. In the fall, keep using sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to ensure your skin is protected. If you prefer to keep your routine minimal, try a tinted sunscreen like the EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF or Intellishade Original Tinted Moisturizer for moisturizing, glow-boosting sun protection. 

  1. Add in hydrating serums

While trading in those lightweight gel creams for thicker moisturizers is essential, you want to add bonus hydration wherever you can. Applying hydrating serums after cleansing and before moisturizer will add an extra layer of hydration that plumps skin, supports the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss, and improves the overall look and feel of your skin. 

Humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin are the key ingredients you should look for. When applied on damp skin, these water magnets draw moisture deep into the skin’s cells for long-lasting hydration. Serums like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel or H.A. Intensifier add hyaluronic acid back to the skin for a smoother, more moisturized complexion.  

  1. Hydrate with a body lotion

Without summer’s humidity, your skin can quickly feel tight, dry, and itchy. That’s where body lotion comes in handy. Applying a body moisturizer on your legs, arms, hands, and other dry patches will keep your skin nourished and hydrated all autumn. We recommend using a body lotion, like the Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Cream, right when you get out of the shower while your skin is still damp. This will lock in that water for double the hydration.  

  1. Treat those sun spots

To combat those post-summer sun spots and hyperpigmentation, incorporate brightening ingredients into your fall skincare routine. Reach for illuminating antioxidants like vitamin C and niacinamide, as well as natural skin lighteners such as licorice root, kojic acid, and alpha arbutin to treat any dark spots and promote an even skin tone.

  1. Slug your skin (the right way)

For those with super dry skin, consider incorporating the skincare slugging trend into your weekly routine. But don’t just go throwing petroleum jelly on your face. To get the best slugging benefits, you want to do it the right way by layering gentle, hydrating serums underneath an occlusive, deeply nourishing moisturizer or face oil. We love using the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 because the formula is brimming with natural ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids that help repair the skin barrier and prevent water loss.

  1. Don’t forget your lips 

There’s nothing worse than having cracked, chapped lips in the colder months. So stay on top of your lip care when the weather transitions from summer to fall. Always keep a lip balm with you, but make sure it’s packed with hydrating and protective ingredients to repair and prevent dry, chapped lips. This Honey Lip Balm contains shea butter, honey, and plant oils to soothe and nourish, while PCA Skin’s Overnight Lip Mask softens and reduces flakiness as you sleep.