Skincare Tips for Fall: How to Update Your Summer Routine

With changing of the seasons, the needs of our skin change too. Learn how to prepare your skin for colder weather with our essential skincare tips for fall.

September 2, 2021 7 minutes read
Woman lying in fall color leaves

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Each season comes with different weather conditions that affect how our skin feels and looks. Entering fall, our skin probably still feels parched and tired from the hot summer months. In addition, with cooler weather, wind, and rain, it will start feeling dry and irritated. Therefore, we need to adjust our skincare routine to recover the skin from summer damage and prepare it for the upcoming winter.

So, to help your skin make this transition as easy as possible, take a look at our 16 essential tips on updating your summer skincare routine and getting ready for colder months.

How Fall Affects Your Skin

With fall comes more turbulent and erratic weather – one day can be warm with high humidity, the other cold and accompanied by winds and rain. The shift in weather is especially prominent now when we're experiencing extreme climate change – sky-high temperatures and humidity during summer.

The transition from summer to fall doesn't happen gradually anymore. Come mid-September, it's already time for cozy nits and jackets. Our skin is especially vulnerable to these changes, and besides switching to warmer clothes, we need to boost our skincare with more nourishing and hydrating ingredients.

woman holding an autumnal leaf

So, what exactly happens to our skin during fall?

Well, cooler temperatures and lower humidity usually make our skin more prone to dryness. In addition, as we already mentioned, the weather is still unstable, so one sunny and warm day can be followed by a day with extreme winds and storms. These sudden variations can be especially challenging for those with sensitive skin.

Likewise, you may notice seasonal breakouts and worsening of various skin conditions, such as eczema. Again, this is because our skin is trying to adjust to lower humidity and drier weather by producing more sebum, leading to more acne and blemishes.

However, there's no reason to let our skin suffer. With just a few tweaks here and there, you can adjust your skincare for fall and make your skin happy and healthy year-round.

16 Skincare Tips for Fall

While summer was all about sun protection and unburdening your skin with lightweight skincare, fall should be about boosting your skincare arsenal with richer creams and moisturizers.

So, here are some handy tips on updating your skincare from summer to fall:

#1: Use Gentler Cleansers

woman using a face cleanser

During summer, we sweat more, which leads to quicker dirt and sebum build-up on the skin and clogging of the pores. This may urge you to use foaming cleansers with salicylic acid and other pore-cleansing ingredients. In the fall, you might notice that your skin becomes a bit drier and tighter after using your summer cleanser. This is usually a sign that you should probably change it and use a gentler face wash with hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and glycerin.

#2: Choose Hydrating Toners, Serums, and Essences

woman holding a bottle with hydrating facial serum

Summer skincare mainly focuses on lighter ingredients that allow your skin to breathe. However, during windy and cold fall, your skin will need any help it can get, in the form of hydrating toners, serums, boosters, and essences with highly concentrated active ingredients. Go for products containing vitamins C and E, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides.

#3: Go for Richer Moisturizers and Creams

woman holding a face moisturizer

In summer, lighter and water-based moisturizers with fluid texture are usually enough. In fall, however, when the weather is drier, we need more intense skincare with rich and oil-based creams that will hydrate and nourish the skin. If you have oily skin, you can use your summer moisturizer during the day, but apply a richer and thicker cream in the evening.

#4: Exfoliate, But Don't Overdo It

woman touching her soft facial skin after exfoliation

AHAs and BHAs can be a bit drying, so limit your exfoliation routine to once a week (or twice if you have oily skin that needs a more thorough exfoliation). However, when transitioning into fall, exfoliation should be your go-to skincare step.

Since you probably still have that summer tan, come fall, it'll start to shed slowly. So to avoid uneven complexion and dark spots, you should help your skin get rid of those dead skin cells faster with exfoliating acids and body scrubs. Then, once your skin is back to normal, you can ease up on exfoliation and just do it every so often.

#5: Avoid Steaming Hot Showers and Baths

woman with wet hair after a shower

Admittedly, there's nothing more soothing than treating yourself to a warm bath after a cold and windy day. While pretty relaxing, hot water isn't the best option for your skin as it can dry it out even more. So limit your time under hot showers, and apply your moisturizer and body lotion right after to prevent transepidermal water loss and maintain healthy hydration levels in your skin.

#6: Try Facial Oils

different facial oils

Facial oils might be exactly what your skin needs during the fall and winter months. They will moisturize your skin and protect its natural barrier. You can add a few drops of your favorite facial oil into your moisturizer or apply it directly to your skin. In any case, use it as the last step in your skincare routine, as other water-based skincare products can't penetrate oils. Applying a facial oil or oil-infused moisturizer last will lock all the ingredients in and prevent water loss.

If you have dry skin, go for coconut oil or almond oil. On the other hand, oily and combination skin may benefit from Argan oil (also known as Moroccan oil), rosehip oil, avocado oil, and grape seed oil. You can also use these oils to remove your makeup.

#7: Steer Clear of Irritating Ingredients

cosmetic bottles

Ingredients like alcohol, soap, sulfates, and fragrance will strip your skin of its natural oils, making it dry and irritated – the last thing your skin needs during fall. So, avoid cleansers, toners, and moisturizers containing these harsh ingredients (not just during colder seasons, but generally). Instead, your best bet would be to start reading labels and make sure your skin care products are fragrance- and alcohol-free. You could also choose products designed for sensitive skin, as these usually don't have any of these ingredients.

#8: Give Your Skin Some Extra TLC

woman applying a face mask

Use every opportunity to pamper your skin and treat yourself with a face massage and a relaxing day in a spa from time to time. Likewise, whenever you have some time on your hands, whip up a DIY face mask with avocado, shea butter, and aloe vera gel. These will nourish your skin, give it that much-needed hydration boost, and heal any irritation, dry patches, and redness.

#9: Use Body Lotion Every Day

woman applying a body lotion

During colder seasons, it's not only your face that needs extra love but your whole body. So make a hydrating and moisturizing body lotion a part of your daily routine. For best results, apply it right after you get out of a shower, without drying your skin with a towel first. That way, you'll lock all that water in and soften even the driest parts, like your elbows and heels.

#10: Don't Forget About Your Lips and Hands

woman showing her lips and hands

Just like your face, your lips and hands are also exposed to dry and cold winds during fall. So, if lip balms and hand creams aren't already a part of your skincare routine, now would be the time to start using them. You can go with heavy-duty lip balms containing hydrating oils and Vaseline. Also, apply hand cream regularly after each hand wash. In the evenings, before going to bed, you can put on a greasier hand cream so that your skin recovers overnight.

#11: Don't Ditch Your SPF

woman holding sun cream

Getting rid of your sunscreen after summer is over is a big no-no. You won't be doing your skin any favors with this. UV radiation (especially UVA – A for Aging) is present all year round, which means that every time you step out of your house without UV protection, you leave your skin vulnerable and unprotected. So, keep applying sunscreen and make it a daily routine, even on cloudy days.

#12: Stay Hydrated

woman drinking water

So far, we can see that skincare during fall (and generally colder seasons) revolves around hydration. So besides your hydrating creams, DIY face masks, boosters, and essences, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day and hydrate from the inside and out. That way, you're helping your skin maintain its moisture, making it more resilient to harsh weather.

#13: Choose Your Makeup Wisely

table full of makeup

All your summer goodies, like tinted moisturizers, BB, and CC creams, can be replaced with a full-on liquid foundation during fall. But, avoid powder foundations as these can be drying and make your skin look cakey. With the right liquid foundation mixed with nourishing ingredients, you're adding an extra layer to your skin – an additional shield from external factors.

#14: Say Yes to a Humidifier


During the heating season, the rooms where you spend most of your time should have adequate humidity. Heating can quickly dry out the skin, so you can use a humidifier to add some moisture to the air, helping your skin stay hydrated and supple.

#15: Use an Eye Cream

woman showing her eye

The skin around the eyes is the most delicate and the most sensitive to the skin-harming UV rays. So make sure to regularly apply your eye cream during the day with an SPF of at least 30. In the evenings, you can use heavier and thicker creams and even some hydrating oils, like Argan oil or rosehip oil. These will intensely hydrate the area around the eyes and increase its elasticity, postponing wrinkles and fine lines.

#16: Add Vitamin C Into the Mix

woman using skincare with vitamin c

Vitamin C facial serums, as well as supplements, make for a great addition to your skincare routine during fall. This powerful antioxidant will help your skin combat all the UV rays that aren't blocked by your SPF. In addition, it will strengthen your immune system and stimulate collagen production in your skin, leading to a brighter, smoother, and healthier complexion.

Some Parting Words of Advice

The pumpkin spice season is beautiful, and surely, you'll want to spend some time outside – but not at the cost of your skin. However, you don't need to change your entire skincare routine from one season to another. A few tweaks here and there are enough to help your skin look and feel amazing regardless of weather changes.

Hopefully, you've found our tips helpful and you can use them as a guideline for designing your own skincare routine for fall that works best for you.


How do I change my skin care in fall?

During colder months, the air is dry both inside and outside. As a result, our skin is drier too and easily irritated. Therefore, you should use hydrating and moisturizing creams during fall, with ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides, panthenol, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and the like.

How do I transition my skincare routine from summer to fall?

Use richer creams, gentle cleansers, avoid irritating ingredients (like alcohol and fragrance), continue using your SPF, and avoid hot baths and showers. Remember to stay hydrated, so don't forget to drink plenty of water as well.

What happens to your skin in the fall?

Low humidity, winds, and cold weather cause our skin to be drier than usual. Plus, the temperatures change day in day out, which can be especially challenging for sensitive skin types. You may also experience seasonal breakouts.

Can change in weather cause breakouts?

Yes, you may experience seasonal breakouts come fall and cooler weather. This is because our skin is trying to compensate for the lack of humidity in the air by producing more oil, which often leads to clogged pores and more blemishes and acne.

Does drinking water help dry skin?

Drinking enough water throughout the day is essential for keeping your skin well-moisturized and healthy. Hydrated skin is more resilient to harsh weather and will be less prone to flakiness and cracking.

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