With the first signs of fall, our skin care routine needs to kick into high gear. Holly Sherrard, a skin-care expert with Dermalogica, shows us five easy ways to repair and prepare our skin for the colder months ahead.
1. Get a skin analysis
If you're like most women, it's likely been a while since your last facial. But taking care of yourself means taking care of your skin, too – even if it seems like a luxury. Visiting a spa facialist or skin therapist for a skin analysis will start you on the path to a clear, even complexion.
"Skin therapists can assess how your skin has reacted to summer and recommend products that are appropriate for the colder season," says Sherrard. Based on the condition and type of your skin, a pro will advise which products will best get your skin healthy after a summer of sun and humidity.
The good news is that a skin-care analysis doesn't take hours on end. Even an express 20-minute check-in on your lunch hour – which many spas now offer – can yield great results.
2. Wear sunscreen
We all know sunscreen is an essential in the summer, but are you just as vigilant the rest of the year?
"It's important to continue wearing an SPF 30 in the fall on all exposed skin – not just on your face," explains Sherrard. Smooth on a light-formula sunscreen of at least SPF 30 under your makeup and before getting dressed (brush your teeth or do your hair while you're waiting for it to absorb).
Sherrard also suggests visiting your doctor for an annual mole check as part of your skin-care routine. "Schedule an appointment for when the seasons change as an easy reminder."
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3. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
Months of sitting on patios and cycling outdoors can leave your skin splotchy, dry and dull. "Over the summer, dead skin cells build up, and in the fall we need to renew and reveal the new skin cells underneath," explains Sherrard, who recommends learning how to exfoliate for a fresher complexion.
A light, micro-exfoliator will brighten all skin types, but if you have pigmentation spots Sherrard suggests using an exfoliator with lactic acid, which slows melanin production. This superingredient also benefits aging skin by promoting collagen production and reducing fine lines.
If you have acne or blackheads, search for a product with salicylic acid to help keep your pores clear.
4. Use a serum
When the weather starts getting colder, it's time to reach for a moisture-packed serum, which is normally layered under your usual moisturizer. "When the temperature changes, your skin can become inflamed and irritable," says Sherrard. "A serum helps combat that."
By pumping up your skin's hydration levels, serums can calm dry, flaky complexions while decreasing the breakdown of elastin – a common cause of wrinkles. An overnight repair serum with gentle vitamin C is great for product-sensitive skin, says Sherrard. Or apply a serum along with your daily moisturizer in the morning.
5. Clean deeper
"In the summer we have more oil production due to increased humidity and heat, so oil production slows in the fall," Sherrard explains.
This is great news for those of us with acne, but if you have dry to normal skin it can become dehydrated and inflamed. Sherrard recommends swapping your summer cleanser for a more nourishing cream-based formula in the fall. "Your skin goes through more [stress] in the fall and winter because it's so much colder," she explains. "Our skin changes seasonally, so our skin-care products should change along with it."
The change in seasons is always a great time to assess your skin's needs. If you take the time now and give your skin some TLC, you'll have smooth, soft and glowing skin all fall and winter long.
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