There’s a lot to get excited about for the fall season, but as we transition into autumn and the weather changes, the way our skin reacts to the new temperatures changes too. “During summer, there’s often more humidity to help moisture stay in the skin and protect its barrier,” says Nancy Samolitis, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder and medical director of FACILE dermatology + boutique, in Beverly Hills, Calif. “In the cooler months, the air gets drier outside and inside with the operation of heaters. When skin starts losing moisture, the barrier can get disrupted, causing increased sensitivity, dryness, and irritation.”
So it’s not just trendy to change up your skincare routine for fall—it’s crucial for maintaining healthy, happy skin year round. Here are a few skincare tweaks you can make to fortify against the cooler temps and drier air, according to the experts.
1. For Super-Sensitive Skin, Hydrate With Elastin, Collagen, or Aloe
Ann Lee, a cosmetic chemist and founder of Dermaesthetics Beverly Hills, says people with sensitive skin, or with conditions like psoriasis or eczema, might experience a burning sensation or feel overly sensitive for a few days (even weeks) during the transition of seasons. “The best thing you can do is hydrate and coat your skin with essential oils, serums, and creams,” she says. “Nourish your skin with elastin and collagen to aid in the recovery process. Coat your skin with cold-processed aloe and thicker creams as your skin builds and exfoliates.”
2. Switch to a Thicker Moisturizer
Because of environmental changes, switching to a thicker moisturizer before bed is important, says Julia Tzu, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist, and the founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology in New York City. “We need to compensate for the change by adding more moisture to the skin and helping to retain it,” she says.
Dr. Tzu’s favorite moisturizer is Eau Thermale Avene’s Tolerance Extreme Cream ($38, amazon.com) because “it’s hydrating, non-irritating, and non-clogging to the skin. It’s as pure as you can get with a moisturizer.”
3. Use a Lip Moisturizer and Add Eye Creams
If these two things weren’t already a part of your skincare regimen, they should be during the cooler months. Just as you should switch to a thicker moisturizer, adding these products moisturizes your lips and the skin around your eyes. “Our skin does not like sudden transitions, and by adding lip and eye creams, it helps with this transition,” Dr. Tzu says. She adds that for lips, something as simple as Vaseline Petroleum Jelly ($6, amazon.com) will suffice.
4. Don’t Use Exfoliants and Retinoids as Frequently
Decrease the use of exfoliants and retinoids—the reason for this, again, has to do with the drier and colder nature of the environment, Dr. Tzu says. “Humidity and warm temperatures usually buffer the irritating effects of topical retinoids and exfoliants, probably because of increased oiliness of the skin,” she says.
5. Continue Using Sunscreen
Dr. Tzu says, while UV radiation is greater during the summertime, it’s still present throughout all four seasons. “Sunscreen should be used at all times because it generally helps decrease the incoming UV radiation,” she says. “UV radiation accelerates and increases the risk of skin cancer.” She recommends sticking to a daily SPF 30 (at least).
6. Add Vitamin C To Your Regimen
“Vitamin C works double duty in the colder months and helps combat SPF rays that aren’t fully blocked by your sunscreen,” says Anne Chapas, MD, a board certified dermatologist and the founder and medical director of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. “It also evens skin pigmentation, which helps to boost collagen production resulting in a brighter complexion.”
7. Add a Humidifier Into the Mix
Along with your regular skincare regimen, dermatologists suggest investing in a humidifier during the fall and winter to boost hydration at home. “Humidifiers add moisture to the air, and your skin constantly interfaces with the air,” Dr. Tzu says. “The more moisture in the air, the more moisture it’ll share with your skin.”