Blink and you may have missed summer. As always, the sunniest time of year has come and gone in a flash, and now we’ve got to prepare for fall. That means trading in our shorts for pants, crop tops for sweaters, and flip-flops for boots and kicks. And while we typically associate seasonal layering with fashion, the same philosophy can definitely be applied to our skin-care routine.
Although it may seem cliche, the truth is we should be adding moisture and plenty of SPF this time of year. “As the weather starts to cool down, you may notice that your skin produces less oil. Depending on your skin type, this may be a good or bad thing,” says NYC cosmetic dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology.
So in case you needed a reminder, here are four quick tips you need to ensure your skin doesn’t freak out in the coming months.
Continue Wearing SPF
For starters, wearing sunscreen isn’t just a summer must. It’s a year-round necessity.
“UV radiation reaches the earth’s surface daily year round, regardless of season and even when it’s cloudy, raining or
snowing,” says Shah. Remember to apply an SPF between your moisturizer and makeup. There are plenty of environmentally safe options approved by the EWG. and on days that you forget, an SPF-infused setting spray or powder provides extra security.
Check Expiration Dates
Making sure your go-to products aren’t old is probably one of the most overlooked, but important parts of refreshing a beauty routine. According to Shah, “Expired products can compromise the skin making your current condition much worse. While product types vary in their toss dates, so do the conditions that they are stored in.”
As a rule of thumb, if something smells off, looks gunky, or the texture has changed significantly, definitely toss it. Skin cleansers and moisturizers (gels and creams) typically have a shelf life of 12 to 24 months.
Limit Your Bathroom Routine
Nothing is more relaxing than a long, hot shower on a cold winter’s day, but that prolonged heat can actually dry out the skin. Instead, Shah recommends limiting your showers and baths to five to 10 minutes with lukewarm water.
Additionally, use gentle fragrance-free cleansers and avoid soaps and cleansers that lather a lot. “After bathing, blot, don’t rub, your skin dry and immediately apply a thick cream or ointment while your skin is still slightly damp,” says Shah. Look for ingredients like urea, lactic acid, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and mineral oil, as they are the most hydrating.
And if home care isn’t working, the skin is very irritated, or you are experiencing symptoms, such as painful itching, see a board-certified dermatologist for further evaluation and care.
Swap in Your Rich Formulas
Whether you need to use heavier skin care products is very dependent on skin type. Some people don’t have to make any changes. In general, as the weather cools, your skin may need richer more moisturizing products, so you may want to set aside the lightweight moisturizers, lotions and less hydrating cleansers, such as gel-type cleansers.