If you're someone who suffers with dry skin, you're likely not looking forward to the changing seasons. Although it feels like summer's just begun, you'll want to prepare for the months ahead — a process that can include learning how to deal with dry skin in the fall. Autumn is a season that creeps up on you and before you know it, you're wearing beanie hats daily and your skin is seriously drying out. Instead of waiting for dry skin to attack, why not build a barrier against it before it reaches its worst stage? After all, if your skin gets super dry, it eventually cracks and may even bleed a little if it's particularly bad.
As someone who usually suffers with dry hands in autumn and winter, I can tell you it's no walk in the park. The dryness usually starts out as barely noticeable, but once it's leveled up — leaving your hands feeling as dry as the Sahara — it can feel really uncomfortable. It often looks worse than it is too, which is no good for meeting new people, shaking hands, or trying to come across looking polished. Hands are a little easier to hide than your face though, so if you've got some sore, dry skin on your face, it might leave you feeling a little less confident than usual.
I spoke to some experts about how to deal with dry skin in the fall, so you can help keep your skin feeling moisturized and looking great.
1. Wash With Lukewarm Water
Dr. Debbie Palmer, board certified dermatologist, Medical Director of Dermatology Associates of New York, and founder of Replere skincare, tells me how to avoid dry skin as your skin transitions through fall into the cold dry winter. Dr. Palmer instructs to, “Wash with lukewarm water, not hot. Washing with hot water removes natural oils from the skin and can cause skin to become drier."
2. Moisturize Shortly After Washing
Dr. Palmer recommends to, "Apply your moisturizer within a few minutes of washing," she explains, "this helps to trap water in the skin."
3. Use Moisturizers Containing Ceramides
Dr. Palmer informs me to, "Look for moisturizers containing ceramides.” So make sure to check out the product ingredients before buying your next moisturizer.
4. Use A Non-Drying Cleanser That Contains Glycerin
“Use a gentle non-drying cleanser that contains glycerin," Dr. Palmer advises me.
5. Steer Clear Of Drugstore Makeup Remover Wipes
However, there is one thing Dr. Palmer urges that we avoid: Drugstore makeup remover wipes. Dr. Palmer says, “Skip the drugstore makeup remover wipes that contain alcohol and sulphates – they can irritate and dry the skin.”
6. Keep Hand Cream In Convenient Locations
When it comes to keeping hands hydrated, Dr. Palmer says, “Keep your hand cream on your desk, in your purse, or near the sink that you wash your hands in.” She explains, “Convenience can lead to increased use.”
7. Use A Humidifier
Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist at SKINNEY Medspa, tells me, “Fall and winter weather with their cold temperatures, low humidity and brisk winds, along with dry heat from heaters, can really dry out our skin.” She explains, “To combat this it is important to add as much moisture to our skin as possible. Use a humidifier in your bedroom at night, as well as in other rooms where you are spending a lot of time.”
Dr. Palmer also recommends using a humidifier saying, “Think about using a humidifier in your home to hydrate your skin.”
8. Don’t Spend Too Much Time In Hot Baths Or Showers
Dr. King says, “Don’t spend too much time in hot baths or showers because, counterintuitively, this will also dry out your skin.” Instead she recommends that people, “Take brief lukewarm showers no more than once per day and use gentle soap substitutes such as Dove or Cetaphil cleanser. And immediately afterwards, even before your skin is dry, apply emollients to lock in the moisture. For the body I recommend Eucerin Professional Repair Extremely Dry Skin Lotion. This contains a mild acid so it gently exfoliates while it moisturizes, which allows the moisture to penetrate better.”
Dr. King tells me about her favourite face products, “I like Cetaphil cream and right now, I am also really liking two new products: Revision Hydrating Serum followed by Epionce Renewal Face Cream.”
9. Exfoliate Twice A Week
Jorinda Nardone, Spa Director at Lake Austin Spa Resort explains, “In fall, outside cools down but the air dries out and heaters turn on, so dry skin requires a different approach for the season.” Nardone recommends that folks, “Start off with bi-weekly gentle exfoliation during your shower (exfoliating too often will dry out skin even further). Then, turn up the hydration factor applying richer face and body creams daily. Apply these right after towelling off to really lock in the moisture.”
10. Get A Microdermabrasion & HydraFacial During Fall
Mariola Barczewska Esthetician at Haven Spa tells me, “Fall is the time for invasive treatments after the hot, unforgiving summer. I recommend trying microdermabrasion and a HydraFacial in the fall – after summer, people have a lot of dead skin, damage to the surface of the skin, and discoloration. The HydraFacial and microdemabrasion are the strongest mechanical extractions and on top of that we use acid to penetrate deeper in the skin to take care of discoloration and hydration.”
11. Use Hydrating Masks In The Fall
As for home remedies, Barczewska explains, “…hydrating masks are great for the fall," so if you're going to go down the DIY route, ensure the mask you create has hydrating properties.
12. Schedule A Consultation
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Barczewska tells me, "...as for other products its best to schedule a consultation or a basic facial, so an esthetician can recommend products based on the skin type and it's condition. A lot of people are using the wrong products, which can actually harm the skin.” So make sure to run your products by an esthetician first, so you know they'll suit your skin.
13. Decrease Your Use Of Drying Or Irritating Products
Dr. King has an important message for ladies using acne-combatting or anti-aging products, “During the dry, cold months you may also need to decrease your use of any drying or potentially irritating products for acne or anti-aging. This may include retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. You may need gentler products during these months, such as Aczone 7.5% gel, a good alternative for treating acne that is less irritating than a lot of other acne options.”
14. Keep Hydrated
Nardone touches on the importance of drinking enough water, “Keep up on your water intake as well because even though the temperatures cool down and you don't feel as thirsty, our bodies still require water for hydration.”
So there you have it, expert advice on how to keep your skin healthy and hydrated as we segue into fall – your skin will thank you later!