8 Fall Skin-Care Tips to Keep Your Skin Fresh Through The Season
As temperatures drop and the wind picks up during fall and winter in most places, your skin’s needs change — what kept your complexion clear and glowing in the July sun might not yield the same results when November brings the stinging, frigid wind.
So if you feel like your face is dry and flaky no matter what you do right now, you’re not imagining it. Mother Nature is to blame.
“Low humidity in the air dries out the skin,” says Natasha Gayle, a licensed aesthetician and owner of Mirror Mirror Skin Lab in Brooklyn, NY. “Cold weather constricts the pores and less sebum is released.”
Here are eight expert tips to keep colder weather from wreaking havoc on your skin.
1. Stick with everyday SPF. “Don’t put away the sunscreen,” warns Susan Bard, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “Although the sun feels less intense, those UV rays are still beaming down, even through clouds.” Skip any body parts covered by clothing, but do protect your face — and hands — daily, she says. This is the number one, nonnegotiable skin-care tip for fall (and winter).
2. Swap harsh scrubs for peels. If you’re an exfoliation addict, give it a rest for now, says Gayle. “Friction will expose the skin too much this time of year,” she says. Instead, Gayle recommends using enzyme or chemical exfoliants (or gentle peels) one or two times a week to remove the dead skin that accumulates more this time of year, to prevent “that dry, dull appearance.”
3. Scale back on the detox masks. Charcoal masks can be overly drying, so set them aside until summer, says Gayle. In colder, harsher weather, “hydrating, moisturizing, brightening masks are the way to go,” she says. To fight bacteria and control shine (without drying out your face), Gayle likes ingredients like tea tree, rose clay, kaolin clay, and sulfur.
4. Consider rinsing instead of washing in the morning. Cleansing strips oils from your skin, so if yours is itchy or dry, simply rinse in morning, and use rose water or a hydrating toner, suggests Gayle. If you have combination skin, “hit your oily areas with cleanser and rinse,” she says. If your complexion is oily, you can lather up morning and night with a gentle cleanser.
5. Thicker creams aren’t necessarily better. While moisturizer is a necessity both morning and night, choose yours carefully. Thick emollient ones made with petrolatum, dimethicone, beeswax, and lanolin help prevent moisture loss, explains Bard, but “they can also clog pores.” If that’s an issue, she suggests more frequent use of “lighter, humectant-based moisturizers that contain ingredients that pull water into the skin, like hyaluronic acid or glycerin.”
6. Skip the seasonal scents. Apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice are the signature flavors of fall, but limit use of scented lotions, candles, and lip balms. “Resist the urge to overdo it with the aromatics,” warns Bard. “They can sometimes trigger contact dermatitis or flare eczema for those that are prone.”
7. Use (the right) lip balm. Keep lip balm on hand — and use it often. “But if you feel like your lips are getting chapped despite using more and more lip balm, your lip balm may be the culprit,” says Bard. If this happens to you, use plain petroleum jelly or coconut oil instead. Gayle also likes shea butter and vitamin E oil to combat intensely dry lips, and she also recommends swapping matte lipsticks for creamier formulas during cooler months.
8. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Indoor heat and outdoor air dry out your skin and mucous membranes. Drink plenty of water to help your skin glow from the inside out — and don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Gayle suggests using a humidifier in your bedroom at night, too.