5 not-so-obvious fall skincare swaps you need to know

September 15, 2023

When summer turns into fall, it’s a period of many transitions. Kids go back to school. Swimsuits are stored away and cozy cardigans are pulled from the back of the closet. Another very important summer-to-fall transition: your skincare routine. As the weather changes, so do your skin’s needs, which is why experts recommend switching up your routine. Ahead, Vicki Rapaport, M.D., a dermatologist and co-host of the Facially Conscious podcast, shares five unexpected ways to transform your skincare routine for fall.

Get a mole exam

First, once you’ve wrapped up your summer fun in the sun, book an appointment with your dermatologist to assess any new or existing moles. Here’s why: “When you’ve been in the sun for long periods of time, your moles can change, and you can develop new skin lesions,” Dr. Rapaport says, which is why getting a mole exam is essential during this time. And, most importantly, continue wearing sunscreen year-round.

Re-introduce exfoliating ingredients

Exfoliation is an essential skincare step for removing the outer layer of dead skin cells. However, Dr. Rapaport says exfoliating ingredients can increase skin sensitivity to the sun. So now that the sun is less intense and you won’t be spending as much time outside, she recommends re-introducing exfoliating ingredients such as AHAs into your skincare routine to help with cell turnover and brightening.

Add oil to your favorite moisturizer

Fall means cooler weather which means drier skin. The good news? You don’t need to switch to a thicker, heavier cream if that’s not your thing. Instead, Dr. Rapaport suggests adding a few drops of oil, such as squalane, jojoba, laminaria, argan or rosehip seed, into your hand and mixing it with your favorite lightweight moisturizer. This way, you get the added moisture and hydration your skin needs during the colder months without the greasiness of thick cream.

Practice slugging

Humidity decreases during the fall, making “slugging” a helpful skincare technique to add to your routine for post-sun soothing and maintaining hydration. “Slugging creates a physical barrier on the skin, helping to lock in moisture and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL),” Dr. Rapaport explains. To do so, she recommends doing this ritual once a week. Start by cleansing your skin and pat drying. Add a thin layer of an occlusive (like petroleum jelly) while your skin is still damp. Sleep with it overnight and look forward to baby-soft skin in the morning. Another tip: Dr. Rapaport advises using a humidifier during the cooler months to help get water into the skin.

Treat yourself to a laser treatment or peel

Skincare treatments such as resurfacing lasers or chemical peels require limited sun exposure post-treatment for best healing results. So, thanks to reduced sun exposure, it’s easier to manage post-treatment care during the fall. “Resurfacing lasers remove outer layers of damaged skin by using targeted beams of light,” Dr. Rapaport explains. “This helps produce collagen. Like lasers, chemical peels can improve skin texture, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduce acne scars and hyperpigmentation and enhance overall skin radiance.”

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be considered specific medical advice.  

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Jessica Estrada is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and editor covering a wide range of lifestyle topics including beauty, skincare, wellness and mental health. Her work has been featured in Well + Good, Refinery29, Bustle, Elite Daily, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, Cosmopolitan, The Cut and more.