When rainy spring days conclude and sunny summer days are upon us, everybody knows to increase the sunscreen. And when temperatures drop and wintry weather fills the forecast, it’s nearly instinctive to reach for thick, luxuriously rich moisturizers to soothe your parched skin.
But what about the seasonal transition from summer to fall? Turns out, your skincare routine is more than prepared for a makeover at the end of August.
“A change in the season is always a fantastic opportunity to reassess your current routine, how it’s benefiting you, and how it will aid your skin in adapting to climate fluctuations,” advises Mona Seresht, PA-C, MSPAS, a dermatology physician assistant and content creator in Los Angeles. “As we enter the fall months, it’s common to notice slight changes in the skin. The outdoor temperatures drop, overall humidity decreases, hot showers increase, and indoor heaters strip moisture from the air, all of which can contribute to drier and more dehydrated skin.”
So what exactly should you be doing to adapt to these seasonal changes? We asked dermatology experts and estheticians to reveal which skincare ingredients you should include in your grown-up back-to-school skincare shopping list — and which products they recommend for achieving an autumnal glow.
If you tend to experience seasonal dryness, your first step in maintaining your dewy complexion is to swap out your cleanser. “Replace your foaming cleanser with a gentler alternative,” suggests Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. “Foaming cleansers, particularly those that contain salicylic acid, are excellent options in the summer because they effectively remove oil from the skin. However, they may be excessively drying in the colder, drier months.” He recommends hydrating, cleansing lotions or micellar water cleansers for the crisp fall months.
Shop Now: Garnier SkinActive Replumping Hyaluronic Acid Aloe Micellar Cleansing Water, target.com, $9
“Transitioning from a foaming, gel cleanser to a creamier formula will help preserve natural oils and won’t strip away moisture,” says Seresht.
For those with acne-prone skin, Jenny Liu, M.D., FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor, recommends the CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser.
It’s one of my utmost cherished benzoyl peroxide sanitizers — it’s mild and not desiccating,” she clarifies.
Buy Now: CeraVe Pimples Foaming Cream Cleanser, amazon.com, $13
And those with delicate skin will probably adore the Cetaphil Hydrating Foaming Cream Cleanser. “It thoroughly cleanses without depleting the skin barrier,” adds Dr. Liu. “It’s fantastic to use on the face, body, and hands.”
Buy Now: Cetaphil Hydrating Foaming Cream Cleanser, amazon.com, $13
If you’re new to hyaluronic acid, it’s essentially the superstar of moisture replenishment (seriously — it can retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water, according to Seresht). It’s a hydrating agent, which means it attracts water to the skin’s surface for that soft, plump texture you desire. Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your regimen (especially instead of one of your exfoliation days) will leave your skin smooth as silk.
Seresht adores the Facile Skin Dew You Hyaluronic Acid for her patients. “It reduces puffiness, moisturizes, and visibly rejuvenates the skin,” she explains. “The silky and velvety formula absorbs rapidly and provides a continuous flow of hydration throughout the day.”
Buy Now: Facile Skin Dew You Hyaluronic Acid, revolve.com, $32
Shop Now: PCA Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum, amazon.com, $124
Vitamin A Derivative
Vitamin A Derivative, ICYDK, is an over-the-counter chemical derived from vitamin A famous for its anti-aging benefits. However, vitamin A derivative 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.
“Vitamin A derivative 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.”
Shop Now: RoC Derm Correxion Fill Treat Serum, amazon.com, $26
“This is the perfect anti-aging serum for the fall,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Not only does it contain stabilized vitamin A derivative to strengthen the skin, but it also delivers skin-plumping hyaluronic acid to hydrate and fight the effects of cold, dry air on the skin.”
Cream Moisturizer with Ceramides
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.”
Shop Now: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, amazon.com, $22
Shop Now: Vegamour GRO Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum, vegamour.com, $40
Protect Your Skin From the Sun
Sun protection is crucial for maintaining healthy skin. “The sun is one of the biggest contributors to aging in the skin,” warns Dr. Zeichner. “Not only does it damage DNA, but it also breaks down collagen and elastin fibers, leading to the formation of lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin.”
Shop Now: EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, amazon.com, $37
Invest in a high-quality sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and at least SPF 30. Dr. Liu recommends EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, which also contains niacinamide to calm and soothe the skin.
Essential Hydration for Your Skin
Hydrating your skin is essential for maintaining its health and appearance. Seresht advises using products that contain hyaluronic acid, a powerful moisturizing ingredient that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water.
Shop Now: Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face, amazon.com, $10
Purchase Now: Vegamour GRO Advanced Scalp Detoxifying Serum, vegamour.com, $46
Pumpkin Enzyme Masks
Indeed, your pumpkin fixation can exceed your seasonal Starbucks beverages. The orange-tinted superfood possesses a multitude of antioxidants and enzymes, which are crucial for illuminating and gently exfoliating the skin, states Dr. Liu. She suggests the DRMTLGY Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, which diminishes the appearance of large pores in addition to its exfoliating and purifying properties in a soothing, self-warming formulation.
Purchase Now: DRMTLGY Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, drmtgly.com, $42
“[Pumpkin enzymes] also contain vitamin A to stimulate collagen production and vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to firm and enhance the complexion,” adds Seresht. “The zinc component in the pumpkin enzyme aids in oil balance and fighting breakouts.”
Purchase Now: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, amazon.com, $60
Protective Body Moisturizer
We understand — it’s natural for SPF to be less of a priority once the scorching summer months come to an end. Nevertheless, it is imperative to shield your skin from harmful UV rays every single day. Body lotion with SPF is your clandestine weapon for automatic skin protection. Seresht recommends Versed Total Package Replenishing Body Lotion, which contains SPF 30. “It is formulated with nourishing cupuaçu butter and soothing antioxidants from grapeseed oil to replenish moisture and safeguard the skin without feeling heavy or oily.”
Purchase Now: Versed Total Package Replenishing Body Lotion, versedskin.com, $20
For the evening, embrace denser, smooth formulas. “I’m enjoying the EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Créme,” reveals Seresht. “This is a more concentrated body cream that’s appropriate for lack of moisture and sensitivity. It includes niacinamide, recognized for its illuminating and acne-combating characteristics.”
Shop Now: EltaMD Moisture-Rich Body Créme, amazon.com, $33
And if you’re susceptible to parched, fissured skin, Dr. Zeichner recommends the Eucerin Roughness Relief Cream, which combines ceramides with urea to moisturize and provide gentle exfoliation. “This is a go-to for areas like the feet, elbows, and knees,” he adds. Urea, in case you didn’t know, is a naturally produced compound in your body that keeps moisture locked into the top layer of your skin. Simultaneously, it aids in clearing out dead skin cells for additional sleek, supple skin — a potent combination if your skin is frequently irritated.
Shop Now: Eucerin Roughness Relief Cream, target.com, $12
Unlike hydrators, which attract moisture to your skin, occlusives create a shielding barrier to lock in existing moisture within your skin’s barrier. If you experience cracked, dry skin during the winter, get a head start by incorporating occlusive body balms into your routine as soon as possible. “La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm is a versatile soothing cream that hydrates cracked, chapped, and irritated skin, as well as dry skin irritations,” notes Seresht.
It’s not oily and alleviates parched, coarse skin, whilst safeguarding against the dehydrating impacts of the breeze and frigid temperatures.
Shop Now: La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm, amazon.com, $17
Finally, ensure your lips are prepared for autumn. Not only does the skin on your body dry out in the weather suitable for wearing scarves, but your lips also lose moisture. Vaseline is one of the most well-known occlusives on the market, and Seresht admires this simple buy from the pharmacy for its “lasting moisture and a natural, glossy shine.”
Shop Now: Vaseline Lip Therapy, target.com, $2
“Facile Lip Jelly has a hydrating mixture of peptides, jojoba oil, and necessary fatty acids,” Seresht adds. “The extra moisture leads to extremely soft, highly nourished, and plumper-looking lips!”
Shop Now: Facile Lip Jelly, revolve.com, $12