Fall Skin Tips

Get Your Skin Cold-Weather Ready

By Carlin Hollar, MD | Sep 22, 2016

The leaves are starting to fall, the air is getting crisp, and the kids are finally back to school.  That’s right, summer is coming to a close.

Autumn is fast approaching and as the seasons change, so should our skincare routines.

But first, we need to assess the damage from the summer.

If you didn’t properly protect your skin from the elements, you could be left with wrinkles, age spots, or moles. If you notice any new moles, or see a change in the color, shape, or size of existing ones, visit your doctor immediately, as these could be precursors to melanoma.

During the summer, our skin takes a beating. This is because UV rays are stronger, as the Earth is tilted closer to the sun. We also tend to spend more time outside, exposing our skin to these harmful rays.

But even if we’re careful -slathering on the sunscreen whenever we hit the beach- our skin could still be left feeling dry, dull, and damaged. Here are three steps you can take to get healthy skin for the fall.

First, EXFOLIATE. By getting rid of the layer of dead keratinocytes on the top of the epidermis, you’re left looking clear and refreshed.  Consider using products that contain alpha hydoxy acids (AHA). These are naturally occurring chemical exfoliants that can gently clear away dead cells, revealing younger, brighter skin underneath. I recommend choosing milder AHA products, as these can be used at home on a daily basis.

You need to repair your tired skin by using products rich in antioxidants.

Microdermabrasion –done by either an esthetician or at home– can provide beneficial physical exfoliation by scrubbing away those dead cells. In addition, the procedure helps stimulate collagen production. Mild, home use microdermabrasion massaged with fingertips can be done twice a week, leaving you with a youthful glow. 

Next, you need to REPAIR your tired skin by using products rich in antioxidants.  High potency vitamin C products are excellent choices because they too, help boost collagen production and repair cellular damage caused by the sun.

Finally, you need to make sure your skin stays HYDRATED. While the crisp autumn air might be a relief after a scorching summer, that change in humidity can wreak havoc on your skin.

Your moisturizer should be thicker and richer than the light products you may have used during the summer. This is because the harsh cold air can suck moisture from your skin, leaving it dry and flakey.

I recommend looking for products that contain a small amount of occlusive ingredients; these are great because they create a barrier around the skin to lock moisture in. Common occlusives are petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil and –my favorite- beeswax.

Now is also a great time to treat yourself to luxurious facials at the spa in order to really make your skin cold-weather ready. You can even periodically use a mask at home to give you skin some extra nourishment.

On a final note, I know we always stress the importance of sunscreen in the summer, but it’s just as important to shield your skin during the rest of the year.

I always recommend applying a generous amount of sunscreen on a daily basis to get full protection.


Carlin Hollar, MD

Board Certified Dermatologist

Read Carlin Hollar, MD's bio