8 Fall Skin Care Tips

As the leaves change, sunlight wanes, and temperatures drop, it’s time to update your wardrobe, get yourself something pumpkin-flavored, and adjust your skincare routine for the cold weather ahead! Winterizing your skin is important, as harsh outdoor conditions, low humidity, and indoor heating can all compound to take a toll on your skin. Winter tends to exacerbate dry skin issues, particularly irritation and flaking. And living in Minnesota, the shifts from hot-to-cold and humid-to-dry can happen pretty drastically, so it’s best to be prepared for change at any time! Here are some helpful summer-to-winter skin care tips to help you make the seasonal transition as smooth as possible.

1. Gently Cleanse

A gentle, hydrating cleanser will remove impurities while avoiding stripping skin of its natural oils and compromising its protective barrier. Cleanse your skin twice a day at most, especially if you deal with dry skin or sensitive skin that may be more prone to irritation. Try to avoid prolonged hot water exposure for both washing your face or showering/bathing, as this can worsen dryness and skin irritation.

2. Richly Moisturize

In the summer, you can often get by with a lightweight oil-free lotion. But as the weather cools, your skin will likely need a thicker moisturizer. A richer moisturizing cream or ointment will provide the extra hydration your skin needs to stay supple as well as fortify your natural barrier from water loss or injury. The prime time to apply moisturizer is right after cleansing or bathing on slightly damp skin. Fragrance free body oils can be a great option to use right after bathing. Moisturizer is ideally applied twice daily to prevent dry skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin in moisturization products to help lock in hydration and provide a protective barrier.

3. Sunscreen Still Matters

Turns out, just because we see less of the sun in the fall and winter does not mean we have a free pass to skip out on sunscreen! The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays year-round, regardless of temperature or cloud cover. UV rays easily travel through the clouds and reflect off surfaces like water, snow, and cement. Continue to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher, especially on sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, and hands. Applying sunscreen every day will protect you from photodamage that can lead to sunburn, visible signs of aging, and skin cancer.

4. Humidify Your Home

Indoor heating during the fall and winter can be very drying, leading to skin irritation. By using a cool mist humidifier, you can add a lot of moisture to the air to help hydrate the skin.

5. Protect Your Lips

Chapped lips are a pain! A thick ointment, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil can help keep the lips soft and hydrated while providing an adequate barrier against the harsh elements. If you suffer from cracked or dry lips, you can apply over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone ointment as needed (no more than 2 weeks per month to avoid overuse) to help promote healing and reduce inflammation. Lip balms with a zinc-based sunscreen in them, such as Elta MD Lip Balm, get bonus points!

6. Protect Your Hands and Feet

If your hands tend to get dry, cracked, or irritated in the winter, here are some helpful tips. When handwashing, use a mild fragrance free cleanser rather than a scented soap or alcohol based sanitizer. Thoroughly dry hands with a soft towel, especially between the web spaces, to prevent excess water collection, which can break down fragile skin. Apply a thick fragrance free moisturizing hand cream after drying the hands off completely. At nighttime, consider applying petroleum jelly to dry hands and feet and then throwing on a pair of white cotton gloves and socks to sleep in. This can do wonders in fortifying your skin barrier!

7. Stay Hydrated and Nutritious Food

This goes for any time of year, but caring for your skin includes taking care of your whole body. Keep your skin glowing and hydrated by drinking plenty of water and eating your fruits and veggies! Your skin will thank you!

8. Check in with Your Dermatology Provider

If you suffer from dry skin or have a chronic skin condition that worsens in the wintertime, we would love to help you personalize a skin care plan that addresses your specific needs. Schedule an appointment with one of our dermatology providers either online or by calling 651-789-9800.

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