During the summer months, our skin care is focused on sun protection and oil control. Now that the crisp, cool autumn air is here, it’s time to change things up and redirect our attention to keeping our skin soft and moisturized.
To help transition your Summer skin to the changing Fall environment, here are eleven of my best tips.
1. Moisture! Moisture! Moisture!
Fall brings less heat and humidity than the summer, so every product in your skin regimen should incorporate moisture and protect against dryness. Your favorite fragrant summer soaps may have been refreshing after a day at the beach, but in the fall, they will leave your skin dry. So, switch to a soap-free hydrating cleanser. Put away the gels and bring out the creamy body wash.Be sure to avoid any products that are alcohol-based as they will only dry out your face. Use toners made with witch hazel which will clean and disinfect your sensitive skin without stripping it in the process. And most importantly, switch your lotion to cream.As the air becomes drier, your skin needs a thicker moisturizer. Creams provide a stronger oily barrier, which means they both reduce water loss from the outer layer of skin and simultaneously, provide hydration. Moisturize your face twice a day to protect your skin from the changing temps of fall. Also, when you hop out of the shower, be sure to apply some moisturizer all over your body to ensure your skin stays soft and smooth and to prevent irritation. And don’t forget to keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water on a daily basis, which can help your skin look and feel its best.
2. Exfoliate with an oil-based scrub.
The summer sun, chlorine and salt water may have left your skin feeling dry and flaky. Start the new season off with a full-body exfoliation session. Oil-based scrubs are excellent because they exfoliate and hydrate. I recommend salt or sugar scrubs as they naturally dissolve as you wash and therefore, morph from a scrub to a polish as the rougher parts of your skin are washed off. Here are the differences:
- Salt scrubs are more abrasive because of their sharper edges and, therefore, they do a better job at smoothing the rougher skin of the body. Most salt scrubs use sea salts, which are natural purifiers that remove the toxins that block the pores of the skin. It helps the skin breathe easier, promotes better circulation, tightens the skin and improves skin texture. There are many sea salts used in scrubs including Himalayan, Mediterranean, Hawaiian and Dead Sea Salts from Israel. These various salts have different trace minerals, which include calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. The minerals help to promote circulation, reduce the inflammatory response, and act as a detoxifying agent and general muscle relaxant.
- Sugar scrubs are gentler than salt scrubs because the granule is round and therefore doesn’t “cut” the skin. It’s a better choice for sensitive skin types and the only option for the face. Sugar granules dissolve more readily in hot water and are less abrasive. While sugar scrubs don’t have the mineral benefits of salt scrubs, they are less drying, and many natural scrubs now use natural sugars which contain the nutritive properties of sugar cane. The glycolic acid content of sugar is another plus, helping to protect skin against harmful toxins. Vital for the maintenance of healthy skin, this acid works to both condition and moisturize. Even for seriously rough and dry skin, sugar scrubs are great because sugar sizes come in fine, medium and course.
3. Protect your lips.
Start moisturizing now to prevent dry, cracked lips this winter. Here’s a great review on the best lip balms. LIPBALM test
4. Invest in hand cream.
Hand cream is not just a marketing ploy. The skin of the hand is a little thicker than the body/face and has a slightly different chemical composition. It is both tougher and more flexible. When in good condition, it is more impermeable. The skin on the hand gets a lot of mechanical stress and has to grip things. There are not many sweat glands or pores on the palm. Therefore, all these factors impact the difference of ingredients used to make hand cream versus body/face cream. Granted, not all hand creams are created equal. But a good one is worth the investment to prevent dry and cracked skin during fall and winter. So, start moisturizing your hands now to ensure soft, supple hands thru the colder months.
Though the temperature may be cooler, the UV index may continue to be high. So don’t forget to wear a moisturizer with sunscreen every morning, and be sure to keep slathering SPF 30 sunscreen for outdoor activities.
Cold temps constrict blood vessels and thus can hinder circulation. Without proper blood flow to the skin, your complexion can appear lackluster. To ensure you don’t lose your glow, look for products with antioxidants that are known to stimulate blood flow, like rosemary, ginseng extract, and peppermint. Vitamin C is also perfect for this time of year. When applied topically as a serum, it creates a beautiful glow and also helps brighten the skin. Best used in the morning, Vitamin C also helps fend off free radicals in the environment that may otherwise cause damage to your skin.
7. Cuticle Oil.
Regular hand cream is usually not enough to keep dry cuticles at bay. And as the season becomes progressively colder, dry cuticles become more and more of an issue. By investing in a cuticle oil now, you can stave off cracked skin and its accompanying pain. Apply oil onto your cuticles and rub in. Do this a couple of times a week for best protection.
8. Hyaluronic Acid.
Topical hydration is the most important part of maintaining your face’s glow. Products with hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring sugar in our skin) are fantastic for hydration because these molecules can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. For those with drier skin, you’ll also want to use rich, oil-based creams at night to nourish and help lock in the moisture you already have.
9. Invest in a humidifier.
A great trick that’s easy to implement is to run a humidifier in your bedroom at night. Adding additional humidity to your environment helps counter some of your skin’s water loss each night while sleeping.
10. Watch the water temperature.
While we all love to languish in a long, hot shower on a chilly day, keep in mind that long, warmer temps can strip away oil and lead to parched, dry, and scaly skin. To minimize losses, lower the temperature to warm and keep your bath or shower short. This is especially important when washing your face in the shower! If you’re craving steam, at least turn down the dial before you expose your face to the water—or wait until after you get out to wash your face. Then pat, don’t rub, your skin and apply a moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp.
11. Your Feet Need Love, Too!
Your feet are going to be stuck inside socks and boots for the next few months, but if you continue taking care of them and exfoliating them on a regular basis, you’ll be summer sandal-ready when the time comes. So keep a foot scrub in your shower. Scrub your feet 1-2 times a week and you’ll enjoy soft feet all year long.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.