Fall Skin Care Guide
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Fall Skin Care Guide

6 smart changes to make as the seasons change.

New Routines for Fall

That's because your skin's needs differ based on temperature and seasons. To keep your skin looking its best, update your routine with these smart moves:

Smart Skin Move #1: Exfoliate

"Your skin can appear dull and dry after a summer spent in the sun," says dermatologist Dr. Michele Grodberg. Exfoliation can remove the dull outer layer of skin, and unclog pores plugged by regular sunscreen use. But be gentle with exfoliation: A mild scrub, baby washcloth, or exfoliating cleansing towelette will do a fine job. "Exfoliate only once or twice a week, and don't get over-aggressive," says Dr. Grodberg. Too-vigorous scrubbing can scratch, tear, and damage skin, compromising the glow that gentle exfoliation gives.

Another exfoliation option: Microdermabrasion or glycolic acid peels, done at your dermatologist's office. These procedures are more effective and quicker at removing the superficial dead layer of skin.

Smart Skin Move #2: Switch cleansers

Your skin was probably oilier than usual in the summer, due to heat and humidity, so a deeper-cleansing face wash was in order. But come fall, when the heat begins to disappear, you need a gentler cleanser. Look for a non-soap product, such as Cetaphil, which removes dirt and impurities but doesn't strip your skin's natural oils. "If you tend to be oily in the T-zone, apply an oil-free toner to that area after you cleanse," recommends Dr. Grodberg.

Smart Skin Move #3: Add moisturizer

Whether you used only your sunscreen or skipped moisturizer altogether in the summer, you'll need to add this product back into your routine in the fall. "Choose a basic moisturizer that contains vitamins A, C, and E, plus anti-oxidants, such as green tea," says Dr. Grodberg. These ingredients neutralize the damaging toxins from the sun, and can help prevent further damage when summer is over. If your skin is dry, use your moisturizer all over your face at night. If you're oily, apply only to dry areas like cheeks at night. During the day, apply a light sunscreen.

A word of caution: Many moisturizers today contain rejuvenating ingredients such as glycolic acid and retinol. These ingredients can be helpful in giving skin luminosity, "but they can be drying to older skin," says Dr. Grodberg. If you choose to use these products, apply them every other night, alternating with your moisturizer, to help keep the drying effects at bay.

More Smart Moves

Smart Skin Move #4: Try eye cream

Older skin is prone to showing fine lines and a crepey texture around the eyes. And sun exposure exacerbates these problems. An eye treatment can help smooth the eye area again. Look for a product containing hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that effectively holds moisture onto the skin. "Apply it only along the bone underneath your eye. Putting it too close to the lower lid margin can lead to puffiness," says Dr. Grodberg.

Smart Skin Move #5: Combat brown spots

Post-summer, you may notice more dark spots on your face. These spots are signs of sun damage-plus, they make you look older. To help remove them, try a bleaching cream containing the ingredient hydroquinone. Bleaching creams work by slowing the production of pigment deep in the skin; they usually take a minimum of six weeks to work. While there are several bleaching creams available over the counter, you'll have better effects with a prescription cream. That's because OTC bleaching products contain very small (read: generally ineffective) percentages of their active ingredients.

Smart Skin Move #6: Get a skin check-up

With over 50,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, diagnosed each year, fall is the perfect time to schedule a skin check with a dermatologist. This is especially crucial if you spent your summer in the sun, as moles can change and become abnormal quickly. A dermatologist can thoroughly examine your skin, looking for abnormalities and suspicious moles, so you can clear up any possible problems before they become serious.

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