As a Beauty Editor, This Is How I Transition My Skincare Routine for Dry Fall Weather

Moisture is the name of the game.

How I Transition My Skincare Routine for Dry Fall Weather
Photo: Getty Images/InStyle

Like clockwork, when the temperatures starts to drop, my skin begins to dry up. But I'm not unique in this situation — many people experience dryness as we transition from humid summer weather to crisp autumn air. And yet, year after year I find myself surprised when my skin begins to look a little dull, feel a little tight, and even start to flake.

Thankfully, once those initial signs pop up I know exactly what to do. I alter my skincare routine by swapping out my lightweight products for ones that are more moisturizing and focus on boosting radiance. As with all things skincare-related, it's not one-size-fits-all though. So, I tapped Mikayla Smith, a New York-based licensed aesthetician and member of the Credo Beauty Pro Team to have her explain why transitional skincare is important, the key concerns most people deal with during this time, and how to course correct. Her answers, below.

Why Should People Transition Their Skincare Routines In the Fall?

When temperatures drop, air has trouble retaining moisture. It's why we often experience humidity when it's very warm and, on the flip side, why we experience extreme dryness in the when it's cold. As such, the skin isn't able to grab moisture from the air. Add that to an influx of harsh winds and it's a perfect recipe for dry skin.

"When the temperature drops, it's likely you may need to incorporate more moisture (oil) into your routine," says Smith. "You can do this by adding a face oil or a richer, more occlusive moisturizer into your routine."

What Post-Summer Skin Concerns Are the Most Common?

I could wax poetic about how much I love summer. However, even the biggest fan of the warmer months has to acknowledge that our skin often takes a toll. Smith says that the most common skin concern at the end of summer is hyperpigmentation, either from excessive sun exposure or acne.

"There are lots of ways to tackle these concerns, but I recommend incorporating either a chemical exfoliant or retinol into your routine a couple times a week," she says.

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How to Prevent Dry Skin In the Fall

"You want to be sure that you are maintaining a healthy barrier," notes Smith. "Look for ingredients like ceramides and peptides to prevent trans-epidermal water loss. Moisturizing agents that are rich in vitamin E and A will keep you hydrated and glowing." She recommends the Marie Veronique Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum for glow, and I swear by Skinfix's Barrier + Skin Barrier Niacinamide Restoring Gel Cream to fortify my skin barrier.

Apart from the obvious uptick in moisturizing products, Smith says to look for products that help fade hyperpigmentation from the summer and boost the skin's radiance.

"Since chemical peels can cause photo-sensitivity, it's not recommended to do these services during the summer, but the fall is the perfect time to book one with your esthetician," says Smith. You can either get an in-office peel or use one at home.

I always do them at home and get wonderful results, it's just about using them in once or twice a week and being sure not to combine them with other powerful exfoliants, such as retinol, to prevent over-sensitizing the skin. My go-to peel is Eminence's Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel, which combine lactic and glycolic acid with fruit enzymes and amino acids to smooth my skin's texture.

Of course, it's important to use sun protection year-round — especially if you're treating your skin to a chemical peel. Smith recommends the Odacité Sheer Sunscreen Mineral Drops as it's lightweight enough to wear under makeup and has a dewy finish.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.

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