You probably make some adjustments to your skin care routine as winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer. Likewise, you may need to tweak your skin care lineup as the dog days of summer come to a close and shift gears to fall. Cooler fall weather means more than pulling out those cozy layers from the back of your closet—but where should you start? Read on to learn all about fall skin care, including simple tips to help your skin thrive from Halloween to Thanksgiving.

Understanding the Summer-to-Fall Skin Care Transition

Seasonal changes affect your skin in many ways—especially the transitional seasons between summer and winter. As temperatures drop, the moisture in the air does, too, depleting your skin of the moisture it needs to stay healthy and supple. Plus, your skin might need some TLC after those summer adventures in the sun, from days spent by the pool to sweating a little extra during bike rides.

Skin Care Tips for Fall

Start with these simple skin care tips to welcome fall with open arms.

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Choose a Thicker Moisturizer

While you likely used a lightweight moisturizer in the summer, fall's cooler, drier weather demands a little extra oomph. Look for heavier creams with nourishing, moisturizing ingredients like ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid to help strengthen your skin barrier and lock in moisture.

Turn to Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of the proteins in your skin. They play a vital role in your skin health, repairing damage and stimulating collagen production. They also help hydrate and soothe the skin, which can help prevent the irritation that sometimes comes with cooler weather. Look for products like EltaMD Skin Recovery Night Mask, which includes a blend of three amino acids to increase hydration and visibly reduce redness.

Limit Products That Can Lead to Dryness

Locking in moisture is key during fall, so rethink how often you exfoliate and use Retinol and other ingredients that can exacerbate dry or sensitive skin. That said, Retinol can increase sun sensitivity—and since fall's ultraviolet (UV) index is lower than summer's, it can be a good time to slowly incorporate Retinol into your routine if you have hydrated, tolerant skin.

For the best fall skin care game plan, check with a board-certified Dermatologist to determine what will work best for your skin.

Keep Up with Daily Sunscreen

Just because the sun's harmful UV rays aren't as strong in fall as in summer doesn't mean you should skip daily sunscreen. UVB rays can still burn your skin even if it's not visibly sunny out. So, practice the same sunscreen rules you follow during the summer months. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside, and reapply every two hours to any exposed skin.

The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests using one ounce of sunscreen for your entire body, including areas like your nose and eyelids. Try a formula like EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40, which protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays while locking in moisture and reducing dryness and flaking with Hyaluronic Acid.

Daily Habits for Your Best Skin

Support the transition from summer to fall by using a humidifier to beat dry indoor air and help restore your skin's outer layer. And remember to moisturize your body and hands often, too! Transitioning into a fall skin care routine doesn't have to be hard. Think of it as an opportunity to restore any damage from summer fun and bolster your skin's protective barrier to prep for the colder days ahead. Apple picking and hayrides are that much better with radiant, healthy skin!


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

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