The changing colors of the leaves don’t just signify a seasonal shift to cooler temperatures and shorter days — they’re also a reminder that it’s time to evaluate your current skincare routine and see what adjustments you need to make as we enter autumn.
What the fall season does to your skin
The major impact of the seasonal change is one you already notice in your wardrobe: It gets colder. Cooler temps also mean drier air. That’s less moisture outside, but also less moisture inside, thanks to indoor heating.
Dry, dehydrated skin is more likely to develop a compromised moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is skin’s outermost layer. When it’s intact, it keeps moisture inside the body and prevents outside irritants, like pollution and germs, from getting in. But if the moisture barrier begins to develop cracks, the all-important moisture inside your body will seep out and skin will become more vulnerable and prone to irritation. (This is one of the reasons that eczema and psoriasis often flare up in the winter, to say nothing of the chapped, cracked, flaky skin that plagues many people.)
But the fall and winter seasons also bring shorter days, and fewer daylight hours can actually be a benefit, if you’ve been considering in-office treatments (more on those later). Regardless, you can’t slack off on SPF just because you may be spending more time indoors.
Skincare Tips for Fall
Now that you know you need to tweak your regimen, here’s what to do:
Make a clean sweep
It’s no surprise that we advocate daily chemical peels for the face. Chemical exfoliation stimulates collagen production and encourages cell renewal gently and effectively. But even if you’re not convinced that daily peels are for you, the shift from summer to fall cries out for a deep, thorough skin surface reboot. Think about it: All summer, you’ve been both sweating and reapplying sunscreen. By now, your skin is likely chock-full of a mixture of sebum and dead cells. There’s no better way to head into fall than by getting rid of all your summer skin build-up. Bonus: Our Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel has been clinically proven to strengthen skin’s moisture barrier, which is exactly what you want as the temperature starts to drop.
Up your moisture game
It’s not a bad idea to kick your hydration program up a notch. If you were previously using a lotion (like Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Oil-Free Radiant Moisturizer), consider a cream (such as Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Dewy Deep Cream). And if you were already using a cream, you may want to layer an additional hydration booster (try Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster) under it. Even if you have oily or acne-prone skin, you still need to moisturize daily — especially in the fall and winter. This will keep your moisture barrier supple and healthy. Just stick to an oil-free formula, like Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion.
Tackle those treatments
Now that the sun’s rays are slightly less intense and omnipresent, it’s a great opportunity to address any dark spots that may have resulted from a summer of sun exposure.
Your daily peel will help break up some existing skin discoloration, but to seriously send it packing, you need to incorporate vitamin C into your daily regimen. An antioxidant superstar, vitamin C has also been shown to inhibit the enzyme, tyrosinase, that’s linked to melanin production. As a result, continued daily application of vitamin C will help decrease excess pigmentation and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Too much is never enough when it comes to topical vitamin C, so layer a potent serum (like Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum) under your moisturizer (Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Oil-Free Radiant Moisturizer or Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Dewy Deep Cream), and don’t forget your eye area (Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment)!
If you want to bring in the big guns, make an appointment at your dermatologist’s office for an intense pulsed light (IPL) session. This light-based treatment can help eradicate dark patches, although it typically takes a series of at least three, spaced about a month apart, to see results. IPL also makes your skin more reactive to sun exposure, which is the reason fall and winter are a great time to schedule your sessions. (They’re actually an excellent time of year for any treatment that makes your skin sun sensitive, such as laser hair removal.)
Still apply sunscreen
We can’t say it enough: Apply sunscreen every day, even during the times of year when rays seem less intense. (UV is UV, you know? It can lead to skin cancer and skin damage, regardless.) Most dermatologists (including our founder, Dr. Dennis Gross) recommend an SPF 30 or above. Dr. Gross also suggests a physical block (which uses the minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to deflect UV rays), as opposed to a chemical sunscreen because mineral formulas don’t irritate sensitive skin and they also don’t absorb into the bloodstream. For the total package, try Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30.
Discover Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare for All Your Skincare Needs
Stay up to date on the latest advice from our team of skincare experts.
Sign up to receive a monthly digest of skincare, wellness, and lifestyle tips.