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This is a really exciting time of year for many - it’s the season of pumpkin spice and the lead up to the holiday period. However, as the temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to keep good skin habits for clear skin - the thing is, they might not necessarily be the same things as we’d do in the summer.
In the summer, skin tends to be oilier as the weather is much more humid and not as cold. Adapting your skincare routine to colder, wetter weather ensures your skin stays clear all year round - these six fall skincare tips will help your skin all autumn long, and as well prepare your skin for your winter routine.
Fall is usually one of the wettest seasons - most of us associate it with rainy weather and cozy time spent indoors. While this sounds romantic and perhaps better than dry winter cold for our skin, it’s actually equally as drying.
The colder it gets as fall goes on, the more likely it is that we’ll be spending time indoors where it’s warmer and drier. While this means that in general, we’re more comfortable, it means that our skin isn’t. Dry environments can suck all the water out of the skin, especially if you use humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
However, this can be combated with the right types of moisturizers - look for non-comedogenic moisturizing creams which are designed not to clog pores, but still lock moisture into the skin. If you really need to, don’t be afraid to reapply if your skin still feels dry. You can also use a non-comedogenic occlusive on very dry spots of the face - just use it sparingly to avoid that heavy, greasy feeling that occlusives can have on the skin.
I know, a clay mask is basically an acne-prone person’s best friend. However, using them during fall and winter could be doing your skin more harm than good. First off, cooler temperatures anecdotally impact oil production - if you’re oily-skinned, you might already notice that your skin is producing less oil. In that case, you won’t need to use a clay mask as frequently to manage your oil production.
Secondly, clay masks can be too drying for colder fall weather. While they’re incredibly efficient at grabbing excess oil from skin, they can also grab essential water-based hydration away from the skin. Leaving your skin too dry in the winter could lead to another skin issue that causes even more acne - a damaged moisture barrier. When your moisture barrier is damaged, it’s not as effective at protecting your skin from outside irritants that could be causing acne.
Instead of clay masks, opt for moisturizing wash off masks (many come in non-comedogenic gel formulas) and sheet masks to hydrate and replenish skin. Just one more skincare tip: if using wash-off masks, try to rinse using lukewarm (not hot) water. Using hot water can actually dry skin out in colder weather!
Sunscreen is an all-year-round commitment! Some acne treatments actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so wearing sun protection is even more crucial. Our acne treatments don’t, but it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreen to protect your skin throughout the year.
I know what you’re thinking - why does acne-prone skin need to wear sunscreen otherwise? Here’s the thing - it goes a long way towards reducing the intensity of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, aka the dark spots left behind by acne. Yes, you can use effective treatments to lighten these marks too - however, sunscreen speeds up the process.
UVA Rays darken and damage the new skin, making these spots look darker and last for longer than if the new skin wasn’t protected with sunscreen. These UVA rays can still penetrate cloud cover - so even on rainy days, they could be damaging your skin. So even on cloudy fall days, it’s important to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s at least SPF30. Formulas these days are much more lightweight and less comedogenic than they used to be, too, so it’s easy to find a great facial sunscreen.
Cooler temperatures mean that we’re starting to run indoor heating - and this is the same kind of dry heat that can suck all the moisture out of the skin. If you’ve ever noticed that your skin starts to change in the fall, this is probably why. Other than changing the skincare you use, it’s also a great idea to try and influence your environment for better skin.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to run a humidifier - this ensures that your environment isn’t too dry, causing excessive trans-epidermal water loss which leads to dry skin in the fall. Even just running it overnight as you sleep will help your skin retain hydration during the day time.
While a thicker moisturizer is a great place to start when it comes to stopping water loss in the skin, you can actually get a boost out of it by using hydrating serums and toners beforehand. Look for products that have hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and polyglutamic acid. These are all humectant ingredients (that won’t clog pores) that help to hydrate skin.
It’s important that you lock them in with your moisturizer, though - humectants can make skin drier than before if the external environment is too dry. However, when used correctly, humectants are a great tool in your skincare routine to preventing dry skin during fall and winter.
Exfoliation is a great technique to use on the skin to manage breakouts. Exfoliation gets rid of excess dead skin cells that clog pores, as well as encourages cell turnover. However, in this process, exfoliation itself can also encourage dryness in the skin.
However, that doesn’t mean that you need to stop exfoliating - full stop. It’s probably just a good idea to stop exfoliating as frequently to prevent excessive water loss in the skin, which could lead to a damaged moisture barrier and an increase in acne.