The fall is a perfect time to renew and recharge especially when it comes to your skincare routine. “Autumn is the time to reverse summer skin damage while readying your regimen for the cold, dry weather ahead,” says Dr. Michael Tick. “What many people don’t know is that products appropriate for summer heat should be replaced by formulas that contain nourishing ingredients to keep skin hydrated in the dry fall and winter months.”
Below, Dr. Tick reveals essential ingredients to look for in your skincare products to ease your skin through this seasonal transition.
One of the most common skin care challenges that accompany the cool, dry autumn air is a parched complexion. Even if you enjoyed dewy skin all summer long, fall may bring unexpected patches of dryness.
Dr. Tick recommends throwing out your soap-based cleansers. These formulas often contain sodium lauryl sulfate – a common culprit of stripping away the skin’s natural moisture barrier that locks in hydration. Instead, look for a cleanser that contains ceramides, which are a type of lipid that helps skin maintain moisture on its outermost layer.
Glycerin helps prevent dryness and scaling caused by brisk winds or artificial indoor heating. It has the ability to attract water from the environment and from the lower layers of skin (dermis) increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin. Dr. Tick recommends products that contain a moderate amount, whereas too much glycerin can be harmful. This ingredient is also very beneficial to use for those with psoriasis, and has been proven to reduce redness.
When cold, dry air arrives, you may notice that your skin suddenly appears duller or is more prone to breakouts. A common culprit is the accumulation of dead, pore-clogging skin cells on the surface of skin. “For this reason, autumn and winter are especially important seasons to exfoliate your skin, getting rid of this debris so your skin can stay clear and look radiant,” says Dr. Tick. He recommends topical skincare treatments that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Derived from fruit and milk, AHAs slough away dead skin while stimulating the production of collagen and elastin beneath the surface of skin.
You might think during the winter you should avoid exfoliating to lock in moisture. Actually, you can get away with using exfoliates or scrubs up to 2 times a week to scrub away dead skin. It will actually buff your dry, chapped skin and leave your face and body looking silky smooth.
We’re all well educated about the problems posed by sun on our skin and we reach instantly for the sunscreen in the warm summer months. But don’t toss your sunscreen just yet. “Regardless of the season, you’re exposed to the sun’s rays every day – whether you’re walking your dog on a brisk fall afternoon, or skiing down a ski slope – so you should wear sunscreen year round. According to Dr. Tick, for days when your sun exposure is pretty minimal, choose a moisturizer or makeup with SPF built in. But if you’ll be outside all day (fall camping, winter skiing, etc) then grab the sunscreen you used this summer and apply it liberally.
Dr. Michael Tick is a biochemist, laboratory director for The Institute for Skin Sciences and founder of Edimi, a line of natural skincare and body care products sold at luxury spas and salons around the world.