Fall is definitely here, and it is here to stay for a few months. Even in my generally hot California, we’ve had much cooler temps and even some rainy days! What does it mean for our beauty regimen? The seasonal change to colder and windier days outside and more time spent inside with indoor heating call for an adjustment to the fall skincare routine. But, do not stress about it. It is easily done in 7 steps. Keep reading for these crucial fall skin care tips that you can start implementing today.
Why Do We Need to Adjust Our Skincare Routine?
Our skin changes from season to season. Summer is probably the easiest on the skin, as there is generally much more humidity – moisture – in the air, and this means that our skin can remain nicely hydrated as well. Additionally, we tend to drink more and eat lots of fruits and veggies with a high water content which also contributes to moisturization of the skin from within.
However, even the summer comes with certain disadvantages to the condition of the skin. Since we tend to sweat more, the pores on the skin tend to become larger. Sweat can also lead to rashes and – our more recent reality – conditions such as maskne. Summer also comes with the increased danger of excessive sun exposure, so it is crucial to stay on top of things by daily use of a good mineral SPF all over the face and body.
With the autumn’s arrival, our skin is exposed to less moisture in the air (unless it rains of course), and even less when we stay inside with the heaters cranked up. All that dryness can do a real number on the skin’s condition unless we ward it off by extra moisturizing. For those of us with sensitive skins, the windy days can be particularly trying on the skin, be it on the face or on the lips (chapstick to the rescue!)
It is not so much that one season is so much better for the skin than the other. Rather, it is about the changing condition to which the skin must adapt. If we want to avoid a shock to the skin, certain steps should be taken.
7 Skin Care Tips for Fall
Naturally, everyone’s skin is different so please listen to your skin. Observe it and ask, is it getting drier or oilier as the days get colder and drier? Is it getting dull, as it’s losing the golden glow of the summer? Is it in need of exfoliation so that the effects of the sun can be taken care of? Are the pores looking larger and congested? Depending on what your skin tells you, you might want to adopt some or all of these fall skin care tips.
1. Update your cleanser
During the summer, I tend to cleanse only with a toner or essence in the morning and use cleansing oil to take off makeup and/or sunscreen in the evening. Sometimes I would use cleansing grains if I felt that a super gentle scrub was in order.
With the drier temps and less air moisture arriving in the fall, it makes sense to switch to a cleanser that will also moisturize. For me, the answer is clear – cleansing oil in the a.m. and cleansing balm in the p.m. Here is why.
In the morning, the cleansing oil method – massaging oil into the face and then taking it off with a very warm washcloth – is perfect as it won’t strip the face of the moisture like a soap-based cleanser would.
In the evening, it’s important to repair the skin barrier and this can be done by adding beeswax or – for a vegan option – candelilla or carnauba wax to the oil cleansing routine. The solid oil cleanser leaves the skin clean, plump, happy, and ready for other nighttime routine steps.
Depending on the skin’s needs you can look for specific ingredients in your solid oil cleansing balm. For anti-aging effect, I added mango butter, turmeric, and frankincense essential oils to my balm for drier and mature skin types. For normal or blemish-prone skin, adding some bentonite clay and/or activated charcoal will double up as both cleansing and pore-shrinking agent.
Check out my cleansing balms in the store. See below for a 15% discount.
2. Exfoliate but be gentle
While summer might not be the best time to exfoliate because of the increased sun exposure, the fall is the time to get back to gentle – this is a very crucial keyword – gentle exfoliation. I am still staying away from chemical exfoliation – acids – during the seasonal transition. There is time for those during winter and early spring.
Dermatologists warn against harsh exfoliation.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. While some people believe that this improves the appearance of their skin, it’s not for everyone. If not done properly, it could do more harm than good.American Academy of Dermatology Association
At the beginning of autumn, the best exfoliation might be gentle mechanical exfoliation. Either with simple cleansing grains or with single ingredient scrubs like powdered oats, brown rice flour, almond meal, powdered olive leaf, etc. Simply massage the powder scrub onto the face in circular motions for a few minutes, rinse with lukewarm water, and then rinse again with a toner or facial essence. Follow with a moisturizer.
3. Embrace facial oils
When I was younger, I suffered from acne from age of 10 pretty much into my late 30s. The acne changed from teenage acne to hormonal acne but it remained a steady companion for as long as I can remember. Another thing I remember vividly is the constant admonitions from doctors and aestheticians alike to use only oil-free products on my face. Anything with oil in it was suspect and went straight into the trash.
I listened to this advice for way too long, even though I did not see much in terms of results. Only when I embarked on my skin detox journey and drastically reduced my regimen to only a few steps did I start seeing positive changes to my skin. The main part of my new routine? Face oils!
It turns out, it is not the oil that causes acne. Face oils – when chosen properly with attention to the comedogenic rating – are actually an ally when it comes to clarifying the skin. Lack of lipids on the skin surface sends a signal to the skin to produce more sebum, this can lead to enlarged pores, congested pores, and eventually blemishes. I wish I had known that earlier. I could have spared myself lots of grief and money trying to battle the acne the very wrong way.
Face oil is an ally for any skin type. Only recently did face oils become part of the mainstream beauty industry in the West but oiling has been used for millennia by the ancients starting in Egypt, China, and in Ayurvedic practices in India. When using fresh, organic oils on the face, you are nourishing your skin with plant goodness. Add therapeutic, skin-loving essential oils t the mix and you’ve got the best, even if simple and minimalist, skin nourishment that can be.
4. Change your moisturizer
Face oil is a great basis for hydrating and nourishment, but it might not be enough when the colder climes arrive. Adding a more powerful moisturizer is key to the changing fall skincare routine. Whereas in the summer, the lightest serum or face lotion might have been enough to keep the skin happy and hydrated, it might not cut it when it gets chillier outside.
At the beginning of the fall, our skin starts producing less sebum and oil and so it is important to replenish them in order to banish parched skin and combat the increased propensity for lines and wrinkles.
A slightly heavier serum is called for, and a good face oil can serve this purpose best. This time of the year, opt for one with a mix of different oils that can balance the skin and tend to its increased need for lipids and moisture. Check out my 14 Oils Serum which features a variety of organic plant oils designed to synergistically nourish your face during this time of transition.
When the heater starts blasting, it is important to seal the skin barrier with an ingredient that will not penetrate the skin but rather stay on top of it to protect and pamper. Something like a face balm that mixes oils, butters, and waxes (emollients and occlusives) is perfect to use at nighttime. It functions almost like a sleeping mask for the face. By the morning, you’ll wake up refreshed to a happy skin.
Check out this Organic Rose Firming Balm for a nourishing face balm for your nighttime routine.
5. Hydrate from within
All that increased moisturizing on the skin surface might not be sufficient if we won’t keep up with hydrating from within. In our home, summer is the time for fruit baskets, berry picking, watermelon parties, and pounds over pounds of grapes. As we try to eat locally and seasonally, with the fall arriving, my garden produces less and less, and even the farmer’s market tends to offer mostly fall fruit and veggies which are denser and with less water content such as apples, pears, winter squashes, root veggies).
Given that we are likely getting less water content from food sources, it is crucial to keep hydrating either by consciously upping the intake of water-rich foods or by increased drinking. Filtered water, fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas, and soups are all a good starting point to increase your water intake.
Dehydrated skin is different than dry skin. Dry skin might be caused by skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema or the lack of lipids in the skin. Dehydrated skin is caused by insufficient water intake.
One of the symptoms of dehydration is dry skin patches. The patches might be rough, scaly, or itchy. People may also have more noticeable fine lines in the skin or a dull complexion. They may also find that their skin is less elastic, or stretchy, than usual.Medical News Today
6. Treat with clay masks to shrink pores and hydrate
I love the fall specifically for its cooler temps and more cozy vibes that come with it. The shorter days, the crackling fireplace, fall and winter holiday decorations all bring the wonderful feel of hygge into our home. When I hygge, I spend a good bit of time on self-care routines such as mini-spa nights with a warm bath or just simple face masks to pamper myself.
Clay masks are perfect this time of the year for several reasons. First of all, they can help cleanse the congested pores and thus aid in shrinking them. As mentioned above, over the summer, our pores tend to enlarge a bit and early autumn is a good time to take some measure against it. All types of clay can do it but bentonite clay is probably the most powerful and will bring the fastest results.
Secondly, a clay mask with added moisturizing agents such as aloe vera, rose petal powder, spirulina, or matcha will help the skin retain its moisture and reach the much-needed equilibrium at this time of seasonal transition.
7. Seal the Deal with the SPF
Last but not least, do not think that it’s ok to ditch that SPF now that the sun is lower on the horizon. This might be the case but the sun damage is cumulative and if you want to avoid wrinkles, sun spots, and other signs of premature aging, keeping that sunscreen on your skin is your best weapon.
For me, the change is in the formula. Whereas in the summer, I would use a mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF all over my face and body, now I usually go for a clean foundation or face tint with SPF like the great formulas from Illia, Kosas, or Milk.
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There you have it. These are my 7 adjustments to the fall skincare routine. I hope you’ll find them helpful and might incorporate one or all into your transition to autumn. Enjoy this time of harvest, slowing down, rest, and preparation for winter celebrations.