How To Transition Your Skin-Care Routine Into Fall In 5 Easy Steps

Photo: MCV Photo
The only constant is change, said Heraclitus. So since you summer fans can't do anything about the fact that it's ending, you might as well do your best to embrace all fall has to offer. Open your hearts to boots and sweaters. Swap your cold brew for a hot chocolate (permission to skip out on all things pumpkin spice granted). Make room in your medicine cabinet for rich creams.
The latter is important because with the change of weather, the pH balance in our skin changes as well. “In general, we all produce more oil in the summer than in the fall and the winter," says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder & director of Capital Laser & Skin Care. With decreased oil production, our skin can become confused and irritated. And instead of acting reactively by treating skin redness or dryness after it's already become a problem — we asked a few dermatologists to give their expert advice on the proactive steps we should take for a smooth-skin transition into fall.
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Little things — like switching out your foaming cleanser for a creamy one, working a heavier moisturizer into your routine, and using a brightening serum to repair any sun damage accrued — will help to keep your skin happy as the weather gets colder. Ahead, your guide to the tweaks to make this month and the products the pros recommend.
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Ellen Marmur, MD, dermatologist and founder of Marmur Medical in NYC, recommends swapping your foaming or glycolic cleanser for something bit softer and more nourishing, like an oil-based formula. Dr. Tanzi agrees and adds, "As the weather gets colder, it’s best to cut back on strong acne-fighting ingredients like retinoids and glycolics."
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Dr. Marmur's skin-cleansing pick is a soothing oil from Bobbi Brown. It's nourishing and extremely gentle, and though it's formulated for all skin types, it's especially effective for sensitive skin that errs on the drier side.

Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, $46, available at Nordstrom.
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Moisturization is key, says dermatologist, Ted Lain, MD. "Dry skin is prone to inflammation, rashes, itching, and infection," Dr. Lain explains. His recommendation to fight against any dryness? Switch from your lighter, summertime lotion to a heavier daily moisturizer. But if you want to keep your morning moisturizer as is, you can boost hydration by adding a heavier night cream into your routine. "Good ingredients to look for in a transitional night cream are ceramides, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid," says Dr. Tanzi.
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This La Roche-Posay cream is Dr. Lain's moisturizer of choice. It's an easy swap because it's not too heavy, but it works to keep the skin super-hydrated and helps to repair any dryness that has resulted from sun damage.

If you're looking to add a night cream, Dr. Tanzi recommends the Aveeno Positively Radiant Night Cream. "It provides hydration with mango seed butter combined with the anti-inflammatory aspects of soy," she says. And at under $15, it's an addition that won't break the bank.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV, $19.99, available at La Roche Posay.
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The end of summer is the best time to do some major skin rehab. The harsh UV rays sometimes cause brown spots to appear," says Dr. Lain. "Fall and winter are the prime months for lightening these spots, since the sun is not as intense.” And even if you don't have visible sun spots, you may still have cellular sun damage. “DNA damage from sun exposure is cumulative, therefore doing what you can to repair this damage — forming new, younger skin cells, and limiting free radicals is incredibly important over the cooler months," explains Dr. Lain.
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This repair serum is Dr. Lain's pick. Yes, it's pricey, but if lessening sun damage is your goal, it'll do the job. Dr. Tanzi also recommends using glycolic treatment pads once a week to help lift spots and discoloration from the skin.

Biopelle Tensage Serum, $125, available at Derm Store.
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This might seem counterproductive if you have dry skin, but regular exfoliation actually helps encourage skin cell turnover, which leads to a brighter complexion. “Unless you have very sensitive skin or rosacea, adding gentle exfoliating alpha and beta hydroxy acids into your skin-care regimen helps to even your complexion — and also enhances the absorption of all other skin-care products," says Dr. Lain.
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Dermatologist Julie Russak, MD, explains that when adding a chemical exfoliant into your transitional skin routine, it's most effective to go with a gentle exfoliant because it takes time for your skin to acclimate to products with different pH levels. This pick is an all-natural physical and chemical exfoliant — and at under $10, the price point is tough to beat.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $9.99, available at Target.
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It's a common assumption that in the chillier months, when the sun doesn't beat down as intensely as it does in mid-July, we can skimp on SPF. Wrong. “Every day, you should use a broad-spectrum SPF 30," says Dr. Lain. He warns that without sunscreen as part of your daily regimen, your skin products won't be as effective because UV rays can degrade the active ingredients in your non-SPF skin products.
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Dr. Tanzi recommends this powdered sunscreen to patients — and she also uses it on her own skin. She describes it as: "The absolute purest form of powder sunscreen with colors that blend with all skin tones. The powder locks makeup in place, cuts down on facial oil on a humid day, and provides excellent sun protection," she says. Bonus: It can be applied onto fresh skin or over makeup.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-on Sunscreen SPF 50, $79.99, available at Amazon.
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