Sun-kissed cheeks and dewy skin are all part of the beauty perks of summer. As long as you sported that SPF as much as you rocked your bikini and exfoliated as often as you shaved your legs, that skin of yours probably looks healthy and glowing from all of the time spent in the sunshine. But as the days start to shorten and the heat gives way to the crisp air of the fall, you might notice some differences in your body.
“The skin’s hydration level varies with the change of seasons and many skin conditions are linked with temperature and humidity,” says R. Sonia Batra, medical director at Batra Dermatology and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the USC Keck School of Medicine. “In summer, humidity often increases the skin’s moisture level. Increased oil and sweat in the summer require lighter products as well as increased exfoliation to prevent clogged pores. As the seasons change, cold air and wind cause drier skin,” she notes.
As you update your fall wardrobe, consider giving your skin a crash course in detoxing and damage repair before the leaves change. Here, dermatologists explain why and how your skin changes from summer to fall.
The Damages of Summer
Aside from sun damage that’s almost always unavoidable in some respect during summer and dehydration that comes with hot temperatures, Batra explains that increased sweat and oil production triggers clogged pores and acne breakouts. Moreover, increased sun exposure and ultraviolet damage can contribute to skin discoloration, wrinkle formation and ultimately skin cancer. “Long times spent in swimming pools actually dehydrate the skin, as immersion in chlorine and water for hours can break down the skin’s barrier. Heat and humidity are also very conducive to fungal and bacterial infections of the skin,” she adds. And because you’ve also spent more time makeup-free, you’ve also possibly exposed your skin to more pollutants.
How to Repair Summer-Ravaged Skin and Prep for Fall
Before you start applying deeper-color eyeshadows and changing your hair to a shade darker, give your skin some love. Here are a few ways to do it:
Up Your Antioxidant Intake
Repairing the ailments from summer will help prevent breakouts and dry skin spells as the weather gets cooler. Batra suggests starting with adding an antioxidant to your skin care regimen that will help to neutralize the sun exposure you experienced from May to September.
Switch to Gentler, More Hydrating Skin Care Products
According to Batra, it’s even more important to moisturize your skin as the seasons change since it will not only look and feel better, but it will function better as a barrier against infection. “Increasing the hydration of the skin for colder months makes it less likely to itch, look blotchy or red or develop rashes,” she says. “Using more gentle products that don’t strip the skin during colder months also decreases the risk of cracks or tears that can serve as doorways for bacterial, fungal or viral infections.” She also suggests to swap out those oil-free skin care products for more gentle, emolliating products that’ll combat the conditions of fall and winter more effectively.
Consider a Peel
If you’ve been thinking of finally trying a chemical peel, Batra says that this is the best time to go for it. “Peels help exfoliate the dry, dull outer layer of skin and decrease some of the discoloration that has been accumulated over the summer,” she explains. If you’re feeling really inspired, you can even take the peel idea a bit further for even better results. New York City dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Mark says a laser peel will have a big impact on changing your skin as fall approaches: “A laser peel with the Mixto Fractional CO2 Laser will produce immediate peeling of brown spots and contraction of the skin along with stimulation of collagen for up to two years to decrease wrinkles and eliminate fine lines,” he explains. “Fillers such as Voluma and Juvederm not only bind water for plumping but have also been shown to stimulate one’s own collagen production. The key is to reverse the superficial damage from the summer sun on the surface and to transform the collagen-breakdown process into one of stimulation,” he adds.