Fall is all about change. It brings PSLs, colorful leaves, colder weather — and the need for a new skincare regimen. Board-certified dermatologist and surgeon Dennis Gross tells you what you need to know to make sure your skin looks flawless all season long.
1. Don't use a physical exfoliator. Cold weather can sap the moisture from your skin. Instead of a scrub exfoliator, opt for a chemical exfoliator, which is specifically designed to minimize irritation. Try something with alpha and beta hydroxy acids, like Murad's Age Reform Exfoliating Cleanser.
2. Don't use a lightweight moisturiser. While your favorite lightweight moisturizer has been good to you, keeping your skin smooth and healthy during the summer months, Dr. Gross says it's time to say good-bye. Switch to a moisturizer that contains humectants, which will bring water from the atmosphere into your skin, making it look plumper and firmer. He recommends Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturiser, which contains hyaluronic acid that smooths and restores elasticity to your skin. If your skin is on the dry side, try Aquaphor Healing Ointment. Have oily skin instead? Opt for something like Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Moisturizer.
3. Don't use single-purpose products. Products that are multifunctional are ultimately better for your skin because they tend to contain fewer preservatives, which can be harmful. Look for vitamins C and E, lycopenes, green tea, and grape seed extract, which will fight free radicals that break down collagen.
4. Don't ditch the sunscreen just because the summer's over. Sun damage can occur all year long. Snow-covered floors can increase the chance of sun damage due to the reflective white ground. This can even affect you when you're indoors: Unless you have UV protection-treated windows, you can incur sun damage sitting in front of the window of your sun-filled living room, in your office, driving your car, and on airplanes. Apply an ounce of sunscreen daily on all the exposed parts of your body, and a nickel-size dollop to your face.
5. Don't retire your tinted moisturiser. While you might be opting for a full-coverage foundation as the temperatures go down, don't throw out your other options just yet. Dr. Gross says the tinted moisturizer that served you well during the summer can carry you through to the winter months if it has a good SPF, which not only helps to moisturize your face but also provides some much-needed protection from UV rays. This oil-free NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser conceals blemishes and hyperpigmentation while still providing SPF 30.
6. Don't take long baths or showers. As tempting as it is to stay in the shower for as long as possible when it's below freezing outside, this wreaks havoc on your skin. While high temps during the warmer months cause your body to produce more natural oils, your body slows down in the colder months. Your skin's oil production directly corresponds with the amount of moisture in the air, which means the more humid it is, the more water your skin can draw into it in order to produce more oil. Hot water makes this lack of oil production worse because it strips the oil from the skin. If you're going to indulge in a hot shower, try to make it a quick one, lasting no longer than 15 minutes.
7. Don't let the dry air in your house dry you out. While your household heaters keep you warm during the colder months, they also suck the moisture from the air in your house or apartment, drying it, and your skin, out. There's also less moisture in the atmosphere during the colder months. All of that adds up to be super-drying to your skin. Combat this by sleeping with a humidifier in your room, which will promote cell turnover and help you maintain smooth, supple skin.
8. Don't overdo it on the acne products. Harsh acne products can irritate sensitive skin, and leave you red and flaky. Dr. Gross suggests steaming your face for 15 minutes twice a week in order to counter that. If you have mild acne, use a gentle facial cleanser, such as Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser. It has a soy component, which will exfoliate and even out skin tone, while natural salicylic acid fights acne. If you have moderate or severe acne and are on prescription products, you may want to ask your dermatologist about potentially lessening the dose you take or opting for a milder concentration during the colder months.
9. Don't use alcohol-infused toners. Alcohol is yet another ingredient commonly found in skin care products, but it has the potential to be overly drying. Dr. Gross recommends a toner made of witch hazel instead, which provides a deep-clean without stripping your skin. Try Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner.
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