With the oppressive heat and humidity of late-summer behind us, it’s time to shuffle the hoodies and sweaters toward the front of the closet again. It’s also time to reevaluate your skincare routine. Just like your wardrobe, it should transition with the seasons.
I’m not talking about a major overhaul. A few strategic tweaks can make a significant difference. Here’s how to go about adjusting your skincare routine for fall.
Slather on a heavier moisturizer
Start with your moisturizer. In the cooler weeks ahead, you’re going to need something more substantial than the lightweight, oil-free one you used all summer. Replace it with a heavy cream made with ceramides, which are essential and healthy fatty acids that occur naturally in our skin. But they need to be replenished during the cold-weather months.
That’s because they’re critical for maintaining a strong, healthy moisture barrier. When our skin lacks ceramides, the barrier has a more difficult time retaining moisture and keeping irritants out. That manifests as dry, irritated skin.
As it is, we’re more prone to skin dehydration during the fall and winter for a variety of reasons. If you’re constantly nagged by dry, cracked skin, try heading it off by supplementing a heftier moisturizer with a hyaluronic acid-based serum. Just as two or three lightweight shirts may keep you warmer than one big, bulky sweater, the serum is meant to serve as an extra barrier, to help prevent moisture loss.
If you opt for the layering approach, apply the serum first and then the moisturizer. In other words, go from light to heavy.
Ease up on the exfoliating
It’s also a good idea to curb your use of robust ingredients, like retinoids and glycolic acid.
Even in ideal conditions, it’s easy to over-exfoliate, which can create tiny cracks in the skin barrier that lead to more hydration loss and inflammation. If your skin’s ever been inflamed, irritated, itchy, or even in pain after exfoliation, you’ve probably overdone it.
Through the winter months, try a gentler approach, like glycolic treatment pads or a mask, and use them no more than once a week to help remove discoloration caused by the summer sun.
Turn up the humidity
The environments inside our homes and offices can be just as harmful to our skin as the bone-chilling air outside. That’s because low humidity also erodes our moisture barrier.
This one’s a relatively simple fix, though. To stave off flaking, cracking, and peeling, simply run a humidifier in any space where you tend to spend chunks of time, especially your bedroom.