Transitioning Skincare for Fall

When the weather starts to turn colder, many of us start to look at our skin in the mirror again. Months of sun exposure leave us with sunspots, rough skin, uneven skin tone, and even additional breakouts. Most of us think we should focus in on those concerns, but the change to cold weather brings dryness, artificial heat, and stronger winds. Here’s how to combat summer sun damage and the dryness the fall can bring:

1.) Use a retinoid

I am often asked “What is the best night cream to help improve signs of aging?” In my opinion, the family of vitamin A creams known as retinoids are the best night creams and I believe that everyone over the age of 20 should be using a retinoid at night. This may help prevent aging and will smooth wrinkles and other signs of summer sun damage you already have, along with preventing acne and exfoliating the skin.

2.) Find products that treat hydration and protection

Don’t forget to continue to use sunscreen everyday — even after the summer months are over. It’s important to shield your skin from the elements year-round. Oily skins that can get away with just a daily sunscreen during the summer months may find they need a sunscreen plus something a little heavier for the fall and winter. On the other hand, dry types usually need a more intense hydrator and a separate sunscreen year-round.

And don’t neglect your lips either. Lip balm with SPF is essential year-round as well.

3.) Upgrade your moisturizer

Any type of skin can get dehydrated come fall.  One cause of dry skin is natural moisturizing factor (NMF), a blend of amino acids found naturally inside our skin cells that works to hold in moisture. Dry skin has less NMF and environmental factors such as sun exposure and low-humidity air decrease levels of NMF in our skin. (If you’ve ever wondered why skin gets dry and peels after a sunburn, it’s because UV exposure lowers NMF levels.)

When the weather transitions to the cooler fall months, our skin compensates for arid air by producing more NMF, but it can take time (at least 3 days) for cells to ramp up and produce more. This is why skin often flakes and cracks. Be sure that you use moisturizers with NMF, which can help your skin adjust to the transition.

The best way to reinforce your skin is with ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids such as stearic acid. These work by filling the gaps, and keeping much-needed moisture where you need it. While you’re at it, look for moisturizers that contain the NMF glycerin as well. This helps bind moisture into your skin and prevent water from evaporating. Glycerin also has the unique ability to move from one skin cell to another, spreading the love so to speak. Safflower oil is another great option for dry skin, because it’s rich in linoleic acid that actually helps the skin produce its own ceramides.

A few products that fit the bill include Aveeno Positively Nourishing 24-hour Hydrating Whipped Souffle, Ponds Cold Cream and MD Formulations Moisture Defense Treatment Masque. These are packed with moisture and the ingredients mentioned above.

4.) Rethink your bedding

Even the highest thread count cotton sheets can cause friction on dry skin—especially when it becomes chapped or even raw as the air becomes cooler. Consider switching to silk pillowcases. They not only add a little luxury, they’ll help keep your skin comfy as you catch up on your beauty sleep.

5.) Dry skin types should avoid these ingredients

While you’re adding ingredients to your dry skin regimen, there are also a few you should take away. Anyone with dry skin should avoid surfactants (look for sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and sodium sulfosuccinate on your product labels). These ingredients strip your skin of any oils it does have and residual surfactant (detergent) on the skin can make it feel tight.

6.) Know when to visit a dermatologist

If extra protection and hydration don’t improve your dry skin, see your dermatologist pronto. When dryness progresses to cracked or raw skin, your doctor can recommend over-the-counter or prescription products that can soothe, heal and help your skin look beautiful until warmer weather rolls around again.

In Summary

Fall brings its own set of skin concerns after the harsh summer sun beats down on your skin. By helping your skin hold on to essential moisture, you can keep it feeling great and looking healthy. But before we get started, it’s important to know your true skin type, so take our free questionnaire at!


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

August 30, 2016 Skincare