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Autumn skincare

7 Skincare Changes You *Need* to Make for Autumn

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Main image – Annatabakova/Stocksy

Though we may not want to admit it, summer has officially come to an end. We’ve covered up the BBQ, put away the outdoor cushions and shelved our flip flops for another year. Cosy autumnal days – incoming!

But it might not just be a difference in the weather you’re noticing. A change in your skin’s behaviour might also be on your mind.

Don’t worry, this is totally normal. As the weather gets cooler and the air becomes drier, your skin starts to adapt too. This can lead to dryness, sensitivity and irritation, all the things you probably weren’t experiencing during the sunshine season.

We know, we know. Just as you got your summer skincare regime down to a tee, it’s time to rock the boat again. But don’t panic. It only takes a few tiny tweaks to help your skin settle into autumn seamlessly. 

We asked New York based dermatologist Dr. Dina Strachan and aesthetic doctor and founder of G&M Healthcare Dr. Grace Hula for their thoughts on why the change of seasons affect the skin and which skincare switch ups are perfect for the new season.


Girl with good skin

Image – Moravska/Adobe


How does a change in season affect the skin?

As we head into autumn, there are a few unavoidable culprits. “Changes in temperature, humidity levels, and exposure to environmental elements,” explain Dr. Hula. “The decrease in humidity can lead to a reduction in the skin’s natural moisture levels, causing it to become drier and potentially more sensitive.”

And according to Dr. Hula, there’s a common misconception that it only happens to those with sensitive skin; “in reality, most skin types can benefit from some adjustments to address the changing environmental conditions,” she says. 

“Dry skin types may experience increased dryness and flakiness while oily skin types might find that their skin becomes less oily but still needs proper hydration.” 

Cleveland Clinic backs this up, saying “Dry air also means dry skin and hair. Before truly frigid temps set it, follow advice from dermatologist Alejandra Estemalik, MD and start showing your skin some extra love by choosing a good moisturiser (and using it regularly!).”

And the change in seasons extends to the skin on your scalp too! “People who are prone to dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis may need to shampoo more frequently or use a dandruff shampoo,” says Dr. Strachan.


Autumn skincare

Image – Shironagasukujira/Adobe


7 ways to keep hold of your glow 

Ok, so we know what the change of seasons does to skin, but how do we hang on to our glowy, healthy summer skin?

We’ve asked the experts for their tips for the changes you can make using your existing skincare routine, and we’ve even added in some of our own (won’t break the bank) skin soothing Autumn favourites if you don’t know where to start.


1. Hydrate with a richer, thicker moisturiser

“These can help lock in moisture and combat the dryness that often accompanies the cooler autumn weather,” says Dr. Hula. “Look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or ceramides to provide long-lasting hydration.” Try Avene Hydrance Light Hydrating Emulsion Moisturiser for Dehydrated Skin (£19/$23.51).


2. Don’t skip sunscreen

Just because you’ve said ‘so long’ to summer, doesn’t mean your skin doesn’t need protecting. Dr. Hula says, “UV rays are still present even on cloudy days so opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from sun damage.” Try La Roche Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Hydrating Suncream SPF 50 (£20.90/$25.86).


3. Re-think your cleanser

If your skin is drier than usual, think about using a gentler, hydrating cleanser, “especially if your skin tends to become more sensitive in the fall,” Dr. Hula advises. “Harsh cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.” Try The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm (£11.99/$14.84), one of our absolute favourite cleansers, both for its price and its serious abilities to cleanse while moisturising skin.  Take a look at all our favourite oil cleansers here.


4. Exfoliate less

Exfoliation is the key to smoother skin and clearer pores but Dr. Hula recommends doing it less during the summer to autumn transition. “It remains essential but as your skin becomes drier, reduce the frequency to avoid over-exfoliation, which can lead to irritation,” she says. “Choose a milder exfoliant if needed.” Try Balance Me Oat Exfoliating Booster (£11/$13.61).


5. Add a serum or oil

If you’re not already using a one, adding one to your routine will give your skin that little extra dose of hydration. “These products can provide an extra layer of nourishment, helping to combat the effects of dry air,” Dr. Hula explains. Try CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£21/$25.99) or The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Argan Oil (£6.70/$8.29).


6. Don’t neglect your lips

Cold winds mixed with dry, chapped lips –  ouch! After all those balmy summer evenings with not a chapped lip in sight, it’s a shock to the system. “Use a lip balm with emollients like shea butter or beeswax to keep them soft and moisturised,” says Dr. Hula. Try Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm Tube (£4.49/$5.56).


7. Purify your air

“Consider using a humidifier in your home, especially in bedrooms,” adds Dr. Hula. “This can help maintain optimal indoor humidity levels, preventing excessive drying of your skin.”


The takeaway

As if it isn’t hard enough saying goodbye to summer, experiencing a change in skin behaviour we could do without! But you can make it easier on yourself. 

First of all, introduce thicker or gentler formulas to your skincare routine. Also, dial down the exfoliation and add hydrating extras like a decent lip balm and a pampering facial oil. Shell shocked skin? It’ll be like it never happened.


Meet the experts

Dr Dina Strachan is a native New Yorker and internationally-recognised, Harvard and Yale educated board certified dermatologist at the NYC-based Aglow Dermatology. Dr. Dina educates patients and audiences on skincare as a clinician, media-personality, speaker, author and consultant. 


Dr Grace Hula is a Director & Lead General Practitioner at G & M Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest cosmetic clinic chains.  Dr Hula started practising aesthetics medicine in 2011 and has attended numerous cosmetic training courses, allowing her to perform a large number of non-surgical cosmetic procedures.


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Beauty Editor

The former Beauty Editor of Glamour UK, Philippa has been a beauty and lifestyle journalist for over 16 years, picking up countless tips and tricks from makeup artists, hair stylists, dermatologists and celebrities. In that time she’s written for names like Cosmopolitan, The Sunday Times Style, The Telegraph, Grazia, Refinery 29 and Byrdie. Philippa lives in the UK with her husband, two children and their hyperactive cockapoo, Paddy.

Expertise: Makeup, hair care
Education: Oxford Brookes University

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