As one season folds into another, it’s very likely that you change out your wardrobe so that it is more suitable for the weather and elements associated with that time of year. Well, it’s important to do the very same with your skincare products. Yep — you should be swapping certain products and ingredients out for ones more suitable for the season you’re in.
This is especially true for fall and winter when temperatures plummet and humidity lessens, leaving the skin feeling dry and sensitive, explains Marisa Garshick, M.D., a dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery (MDCS) in New York. “This combination can lead to dryness of the skin, as there is less moisture in the environment and the cold temperatures can be harsh and irritating on the skin, which can also impact the skin barrier,” she says. “Disrupting the skin barrier can make the skin more susceptible to moisture loss and sensitivity, which may appear as redness, irritation, dryness or flaking of the skin.” For this reason, it can be helpful to opt for creamier, thicker and more hydrating ingredients as opposed to gels and lightweight lotions.
Disrupting the skin barrier can make the skin more susceptible to moisture loss and sensitivity, which may appear as redness, irritation, dryness or flaking of the skin
Lifestyle changes also make an impact as the seasons change, notes Brendan Camp, M.D., a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. “Taking longer showers and using dry heat in the home also impacts skin health, as long hot showers can strip skin of oil and affect its ability to retain moisture and dry heat can leave the skin, not to mention nasal passages, dry and fragile,” he says.
To make sure your skin is in tip-top shape for everything that the fall season is about to bring on, check that your medicine cabinet is filled with these skin-loving ingredients.
Well-known for its humectant properties, this key skincare ingredient not only helps retain moisture, but it also helps plump the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, explains Dr. Garschick. “Because hyaluronic acid helps to draw in moisture, it can be helpful to apply to damp skin and to apply in combination with other ingredients that help to support the skin barrier to prevent moisture or water loss,” she says.
You can find hyaluronic in just about everything these days, from cleansers and serums to toners and moisturizers, and it can be used by people of all ages to create a more hydrated and youthful appearance.
Here’s another humectant with impressive skincare benefits for the fall season. “Glycerin helps to draw moisture into the skin and can smooth the skin, which is especially important during the fall and winter months,” explains Dr. Garshick. “It is often found in moisturizers, cleansers and serums, and will often be used in combination with other moisturizing ingredients to achieve the greatest benefit.” Glycerin is safe for use by all skin types and can also be combined with other humectants and other moisturizing ingredients.
Most of us load up on this nutrient during the fall and winter months to help our immune systems fight colds and the flu. But it’s also quite impactful as a skincare ingredient this time of year as well. In fact, Shelley Fox, D.N.P, nurse practitioner with Derrow Dermatology in Central Florida, recommends vitamin C serums for a wide variety of conditions including rosacea, melasma, acne, and especially for those patients looking to add something great to their anti-aging regimen. “Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that works hard to fight free radicals that can significantly damage our skin,” she says. “It’s great for those interested in correcting dark spots and having a more even skin tone.”
Another added benefit of vitamin C is sun protection, which can still come in handy during the fall months even though the temperatures are cooler and the daylight hours are shorter. “Sun exposure can still cause significant damage to the skin, so adding in a vitamin C serum to the regimen is a great addition, and even something they can continue to use all year long,” says Fox.
When it comes to protecting the natural skin barrier and retaining moisture to ward off the harsh elements of fall and winter weather, ceramides are key. “Ceramides help keep the skin cells together which helps to prevent water loss and protect the skin from outside stressors,” explains Dr. Garschick. “Supporting and strengthening the skin barrier is important all year round, but especially in the winter when there are many stressors on the skin barrier, it is especially important to keep the skin barrier strong to reduce further moisture loss and prevent external irritants.”
From acne and eczema prevention to the treatment of hyperpigmentation, niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a skincare ingredient with a whole lot of benefits. It is especially useful for helping to calm and soothe the skin, as well as aiding in the protection of the skin barrier, which can be ideal for harsh fall or winter weather, notes Garshick. “The vitamin B3 helps with moisturizing and strengthening the skin barrier but also helps with brightening and discoloration, making it a great option for those with dark circles,” she adds.
Word to the wise: Don’t forget sunscreen
Even though the sun’s not shining quite as intensely in the fall and winter months, it’s still incredibly important to load up on sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. “UV rays can affect your skin all year long and contribute to sun spots, skin cancer and other forms of photoaging,” warns Dr. Garshick. “It is important to continue with regular use of sunscreen, using a product that is SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum and remembering to reapply — and this applies even if it is cloudy, rainy or snowy!”
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