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How to prep your skin for drier, colder fall air

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As the weather cools, you should adjust your skin care routine

As fall approaches, you should swap out more than just the clothing in your closet. Dropping temperatures mean colder and drier air, which can also dry out your skin if you’re not using the proper skin care products. Redness, tightness and irritation can quickly follow. We recommend changing your skin care routine — including moisturizers, sunscreen, serums, lip balm and more — along with the seasons. That way, you can target your skin care products to the specific environmental concerns of the time of year. 

Shop this article: Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream Face Moisturizer, Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum, La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Body Cream

Tips to transition your skin care routine from summer to fall

As the season changes from summer to fall, you’ll want to swap your lightweight moisturizer for a thicker option to add even more moisture to the skin and to help retain it. Look for hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, collagen and aloe. 

If you don’t love the feeling of a thick moisturizer during the day, consider using a more lightweight or medium-weight product during the daytime and using a thicker product for a night cream

In addition to your moisturizer, serums can add even more hydration to your parched skin. Look for products with similar hydrating ingredients to your moisturizer. Another great option is a vitamin C-based serum, as it helps brighten skin which can become dull in colder months. 

Cold air is practically synonymous with chapped lips, so you’ll want to generously apply a super hydrating and protective lip product. Use a thick lip moisturizer alone or underneath your lip makeup and reapply frequently, especially if you’re going to be outside. If you’ll be spending time outdoors, you may want to choose a hydrating lip product with an SPF rating since lips can sunburn just like skin even in the fall. 

The same way the skin on your face can dry out with colder fall air, the skin on your body is also at risk. Invest in a body lotion to help restore and retain the moisture in your skin. Body lotion is best applied directly after your shower to lock in hydration. 

You may also want to work additional hydrating, protective and restorative products into your skin care routine such as eye creams, face masks, eye masks and room humidifiers

In the colder months, it’s wise to cut back on harsher skin treatments such as exfoliants. Use retinoids and glycolic acid more sparingly than you might during spring or summer, since they can result in skin dehydration and cracking. 

Don’t skimp on sun protection in the fall

Even though sun protection is most commonly associated with the summer, you can absolutely still get sunburned during the colder months — especially if you let your sun protection routine start to slack. Use at least SPF 30 sun protection on your face, hands, lips and any other exposed body parts year-round. You can do this with sunscreen, a sun-protecting moisturizer that goes under your makeup or a sun-protecting powder, which goes over your makeup. 

Best skin care products for fall

Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream Face Moisturizer

Though pricey, this product is a game-changer when it comes to a powerful moisturizer. The thick yet not sticky product contains moisture-replenishing hyaluronic acid as well as TET8 Patent, which targets signs of aging. 

Sold by Amazon, Dermstore and Sephora

Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum

Up your skin care routine’s moisturizing power with this hyaluronic acid-based serum that’s intensely hydrating. It’s long-lasting and keeps the moisture in your skin from diminishing over time. 

Sold by Amazon and Ulta Beauty

Ren Clean Skincare Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm

If you prefer your thicker moisturizer to be a nighttime product, Ren’s recovery balm, which works while you sleep, is a great pick. It’s formulated with nourishing ingredients including antioxidants and jojoba oil to gently reduce signs of aging, hypersensitivity, dryness and redness. 

Sold by Amazon, Dermstore and Sephora

La Roche-Posay Lipikar AP+ Body Cream

Relieve dry skin with prebiotic moisturizer that can be used on your body and face. It works to repair dehydrated skin with nourishing ingredients including shea butter, glycerin and niacinamide. Despite its rich texture, it doesn’t have a greasy or sticky feel. 

Sold by Amazon, Dermstore and Ulta Beauty

Oxygenetix Hydro-Matrix Oxygenating Moisturizer

Replenish skin with this intense moisturizer that uses a hydrating complex to help deliver oxygen back into to your skin. The aloe-based gel is deeply soothing and it’s oil-free and fragrance-free. 

Sold by Amazon, Dermstore and Oxygenetix

Dermalogica Porescreen SPF 40

Apply this lightweight mineral sunscreen over your moisturizer to add sun protection when going outdoors. The sheer finish product has a hint of tint but can still be worn on a variety of skin tones. It blurs the look of pores and acts as a primer when applied under makeup. 

Sold by Dermstore, Ulta Beauty and Sephora

Biossance Squalane + Rose Vegan Lip Balm

Containing hyaluronic acids and ceramides, this long-lasting and petroleum-free lip balm delivers hydration and protection without a sticky feeling. It’s also formulated with wakame algae, which naturally plumps your pout. 

Sold by Amazon, Sephora and Kohl’s

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

This potent 15% vitamin C serum also contains antioxidants, nutrients and fruit enzymes to firm and brighten skin, as well as improve the signs of photoaging. The lightweight serum targets fine lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness and elasticity. 

Sold by Amazon, Ulta Beauty and Sephora


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Talia Ergas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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