As our body’s largest organ and primary protector from weather, pollution, and other damaging elements, our skin deserves a lot of respect. It also deserves a skincare routine that evolves with the changing seasons. Here's a look on how to help your skin stay healthy and beautiful during the crisp and cold days ahead.

Skin faces several challenges in autumn that can cause irritation and damage. It’s recovering from the effects of too much summer sun, adjusting to decreased humidity, and adapting to decreased temperatures. Joyce Davis, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in New York City says, “Skin receives a lot of hydration from the air during warm months, but when the humid days of summer disappear the weather cools and skin gets dry. This can cause itching, cracking and redness unless you compensate for the lack of hydration in the air with skincare products that add moisture back to our skin.”

It’s also important to avoid products that can dry out skin even further like astringents, harsh soaps, and other products that may leach natural oils from the skin. Davis says, “Soaps needs to be more moisturizing and lotion needs to be applied after each bath or shower to 'lock in' moisture before it evaporates.”

Luckily, plenty of new products on the market like cleansing oils and oil-based lotions can make your new skincare routine simple. Or, you can make your own natural products at home by combining olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil and rose water for a multi-tasking solution that works for cleansing, shaving and moisturizing.

What if you’re already using lotion and still feeling dry? “Switch to a heavier cream or oil and choose products that include ingredients like lactic acid, petrolatum, or ceramides.”

Davis also warns us not to forget about our feet and hands. She recommends wearing gloves outside and moisturizing frequently to avoid painful cracks and chapping. “If you do develop cracks of the fingers or toes, apply Vaseline or Aquaphor at night to saturate them with hydration and promote healing. Be sure and sleep with socks on though to avoid ruining your bedding.” If your skin’s already red, itchy, dry and flaky, Davis recommends using skincare products with colloidal oatmeal or an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Once you’ve tamed skin irritation, be vigilant about avoiding drying agents, boosting the hydrating factors in your products and protecting your skin from sun damage with daily sunscreen use. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to see your dermatologist.

Reviewed by Joyce Davis, MD. General and Cosmetic Dermatology.


Joyce Davis, MD. General and Cosmetic Dermatology (interviewed October 5, 2015).