Pretty young redhead woman laughing in the park during fall

Increased dryness, more breakouts, and a lackluster appearance – these are all tell-tale signs that your skin needs a different kind of TLC from your summer routine.

As the weather becomes cooler, your skin’s needs change as well. Just as you would change your outfits for the colder weather, it’s also best to update your skincare routine.

But don’t worry:

You don’t need an arsenal of expensive products to make a difference

So how can you achieve glowing skin in this unforgiving cold weather?

You need to pile on the moisture.

And here are a few ways you can do that.

Switch to a Thicker Cleanser

No matter the season, cleansing your skin at the end of the day is non-negotiable. Getting all the gunk out helps your skin breathe and soak up the products you’re going to put later on. 

It may not seem like a game-changer, but the way you cleanse prepares your skin for the rest of your skincare regimen. 

If you’re still using gel and foaming cleansers, now’s the time to put them at the back of your cabinet. 

You’re going to need them later on when the weather is hot, but for now, it’s time to bring out creamier cleansers to prevent skin dryness. Even if you have oily skin, you may experience some dryness this autumn. 

Think about it:

If your skin feels tight and itchy after each wash, then your cleanser may not be the best match for your skin this season.

Consider using a milky or creamy cleanser. This type of cleanser helps remove dirt and makeup from the face without stripping off moisture. And why you’re at it, make sure to use a pH-balanced facial wash to prevent moisture loss.

Gently Remove Dry, Flaky Skin

The cool weather can make the skin prone to dryness and flakiness. While thick moisturizers can relieve the dryness, your skin may still look dull as the dead skin cells pile up.

The solution? Exfoliation. 

Exfoliating the skin minimizes the appearance of flakiness. It also removes dull skin to reveal healthier and brighter skin underneath. 

Because there’s less barrier for serums and moisturizers to enter the skin, you’re getting all the benefits of your skincare products. That’s more value for your hard-earned money because let’s face it, skincare can be expensive.

Now, the question is: How often should you exfoliate?

Ideally, you should exfoliate two to three times a week during autumn and winter. But if you have sensitive skin, try to do it at least once a week and increase the frequency if your skin can tolerate it. 

And you don’t have to limit yourself to mechanical or physical exfoliants (think: scrubs that slough off dead skin cells). You can also use chemical exfoliants, which do the same thing but in a different way.

Don’t the word “chemical” intimidate you. Chemical exfoliants are much gentler on the skin because you don’t have to use pressure on the skin to make it effective.

And they’re not exactly made of chemicals, so you can rest assured that you’re not doing more harm to your skin. Most chemical exfoliants are fruit-derived—papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapples. These enzymes work by sloughing off the outermost layer of the skin.

Acids are also great chemical exfoliants because they target different layers of the skin. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) even the skin tone and reduce fine lines. AHAs are great when you want to get a healthy glow. 

If you have acne-prone skin, try BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), which can penetrate more deeply into the pores. BHAs have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that work great against acne. 

But if you’d rather stick to physical exfoliants, choose a product that has micro beads or scrubs to avoid tearing the skin. 

Try Hydrating Toners

When you’re busy and pressed for time, the last thing you want is to do a 10-step skincare routine.

But don’t skimp on the basic stuff.

Toning may seem like an extra step, but it gives your skin extra hydration.

But don’t use just any kind of toner. Some contain alcohols that could aggravate skin problems.

Instead, look for hydrating toners that contain beneficial ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera or glycerin. These ingredients add moisture to the skin, so it doesn’t feel tight when the weather gets unforgivingly cold.

Hydrating toners also help restore the pH level of the skin after cleansing. Harsh cleansers weaken the acid mantle or protective barrier of the skin. When that happens, the skin is more vulnerable to bacteria and pollution, which could lead to breakouts.

Go Heavy with the Moisturizer

Light moisturizers are best for summer when you tend to get oily and sweaty. But for cold, windy days, you’ll need something with a thicker consistency to make up for lost moisture.

Skin tends to produce less oil during the cold season (great news for those with oily skin), so a creamy moisturizer will offer you better hydration. This will help prevent flakiness, which can emphasize fine lines and wrinkles.

Feeling drier than usual?

Upgrade your skincare routine by adding facial oils to your moisturizer. This will give you a healthy glow and give your skin extra nourishment.

If you’re going to wear foundation, using a facial oil will help seal in the moisture to your skin and help make foundation glide smoothly.

Pick the right oil according to your skin type:

  • Dry skin – Marula Oil: Marula oil contains oleic and linoleic, which help the skin retain moisture. It is also rich in antioxidants that help prevent premature aging.
  • Oily skin – Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil is similar to the oil (sebum) that our skin produces. It mixes well with the skin’s natural oil and penetrates deeply into the skin to provide moisture without the greasiness.
  • Acne-prone skin – Rosehip oil: Rich in linoleic acid, rosehip oil helps to increase and retain moisture in the skin. It also boosts collagen to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Normal or combination skin – Squalane oil: Squalane oil works great for all skin types because it absorbs quickly without the greasy after-feel. This non-comedogenic oil balances oil production in the skin.

Don’t Skip the SPF

The sun may not always be out during fall, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. And it’s just as harmful as it was during summertime.

Although you may not get a deeper tan since UVB rays are not as strong, it doesn’t mean that your skin won’t get damaged. 

UVA rays are strong all year round, and you need to protect yourself from premature aging and skin cancer by slathering on some SPF.

According to a study, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen helps prevent wrinkles AND reverse the signs of aging. Sunscreen does not only offer protection, but they also help the skin go into repair mode.

OK, great. But what’s the difference between a sunscreen and a sunblock?

Both offer protection against the harmful rays of the sun, but a sunblock has a thicker consistency because it lists titanium oxide or zinc oxide as its main ingredient. If you want something that doesn’t leave a white cast, go for a sunscreen.

Not sure which sunscreen to buy? Think of how much sun exposure you’re going to have.

If you’re going to be out in the sun for only a couple of minutes, a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 should be enough.

But if you’re going to be out for a few hours or are going to spend a lot of time under the sun, reach for a sunscreen with a higher SPF.

Hate sunscreens because they’re greasy and tough to apply? The good news is that the latest sunscreens are formulated to blend well into the skin.

But you need to get the one that’s a perfect match for your skin:

  • Dry skin – Cream-based sunscreen offer extra moisture to the skin, so you don’t have to worry about the dry patches that may appear. 
  • Oily skin – Lightweight and oil-free sunscreens are best. Look for gel or dry-touch formulas, so you don’t have to deal with extra grease all day long.
  • Acne-prone – Non-comedogenic sunscreens are best because they don’t block pores, which could lead to breakouts. 

What about sunscreen in makeup?

They do not offer enough protection to prevent aging and keep you safe from cancer. Even if they are labeled with high SPF, you need to apply a generous amount. A thick layer of foundation is never a good look on anyone, so opt for regular sunscreen instead.

Moisturize All Over

Your face is not the only thing that’s exposed to the harsh elements. The rest of your body also needs hydration and a lot of TLC. 

Your lips, hands, feet, and the rest of your body – they all need proper moisturization so they don’t get dry in the cold weather.

After stepping out of the shower, apply a non-greasy lotion all over your body, focusing on areas that get extra dry in the cold (elbows, hands, knees, etc.)

Need extra hydration in certain areas? Carry a hand cream with you all the time, so you can moisturize in an instant.

For your lips, lip balms that contain shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil work great in keeping the lips from drying out in the cold.

Moisturization Starts from Within

Hydrating products create a barrier between your skin and the elements, so your skin won’t be as dry as the Sahara once the colder days hit.

But here’s the thing:

You can buy all the moisturizing products that you can afford, but the only way to prevent dehydrated skin is keeping yourself hydrated on the inside.

Even if you don’t feel thirsty because it’s cold, it’s important to keep up on your water intake. Drinking water is not only good for your skin but for the rest of your body too—so drink up.

Your daily habits matter too.

How you do your routine and how you look after your skin beyond your regimen are just as important as slathering moisturizer.

  • Long baths can dry your skin: When showering, try to limit your bath time between five and 10 minutes. While it’s tempting to linger in the hot shower, the warm water can dry out your skin even more.
  • Don’t wait too long to hydrate: The best time to apply a moisturizer or lotion is while your skin is still damp. This allows the product to seal in moisture from the water, keeping your skin plump and well-hydrated.
  • Sleeping with the enemy (a cotton pillowcase, that is)?: Try a silk pillowcase. It may sound like an indulgence, but it makes a difference in how your skin looks. With silk pillowcases, there’s less friction against your skin, so there’s also less irritation and redness. Plus, they don’t absorb products as much as cotton pillowcases do.

Skin dryness is inevitable during the cold season, but that doesn’t mean you have to let dry skin ruin your autumn. Before painful dry skin even becomes a problem, switch out your regular skincare routine to something that’s tailored for the cold months ahead.