Fall is synonymous with transitional dressing. As temperatures cool, the idea of swapping out sandals and sunglasses for lug-sole boots and cozy hats seems perfectly natural. But should our seasonal skin-care routines follow the same logic?
To find out, I turned to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Orit Markowitz to learn if it’s really necessary to apply the “out with the old and in with the new” approach to our body-care routines.
Spoiler alert: It depends.
Keep reading to learn more about how to best care for your bod as the seasons shift — and the products that are worth a purchase.
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Do You Need A New Body-Care Routine?
If you’ve ever found yourself thinking your skin is changing as the leaves begin to fall, Dr. Markowitz has a correction to make: It’s not your skin that’s changing — the conditions affecting the skin barrier are.
“While our skin doesn’t actually change, the seasons [do] and that impacts our skin and our skin-care routine,” Dr. Markowitz tells TZR. “This is a really important distinction to make.”
This specific distinction is why not everyone needs a new skin-care routine. According to Dr. Markowitz, whether you need to adjust how you care for your skin comes down to two major factors:
Consider Your Location
If you live in a location that stays about the same temperature year-round, you’re less likely to need to make any adjustments. “If you live in a climate that doesn’t change dramatically throughout the year, then [the change of seasons does] not impact your skin,” explains Dr. Markowitz.
However, if you live in an area where the climate does change, then your body-care routine should, as well.
“If you live in the Northeast for example, then yes, your skin is dramatically impacted by the season and your skin-care routine should be different in the winter,” says Dr. Markowitz.
…And The Humidity
It’s not just the cooler temps that affect your dermis, but the amount of moisture in the air, as well.
“Humidity is a huge factor for our skin,” says Dr. Markowitz. “If you live somewhere where it’s cold in the winter and the air in your home is dry, your skin will be much more impacted than someone who lives in the tropics where it’s very humid.”
In these cases, Dr. Markowitz believes it best to adjust the types of body products you use as the weather cools.
How To Care For Your Skin In The Winter & Fall
Keeping your skin healthy during the winter months will require a couple of things: humectants and ceramides.
Humectants are a type of hydrating agent that transport moisture into the skin. The most common humectants in body care — glycerin, honey, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid — are often included on the ingredients list of a variety of moisturizers.
Meanwhile, ceramides are naturally occurring lipids — a component of the skin barrier — that help the skin retain moisture. So if your skin is dry or irritated, odds are that your ceramides could use some replenishing. Look for creams and moisturizers that include ceramides in their formula to help quench your dry skin.
For oily skin, Dr. Markowitz recommends treading lightly with heavy, moisture-building ingredients. “You might do better with a serum, even in the winter,” she suggests.
Alternatively, for anyone with exceptionally dry skin, Dr. Markowitz encourages using a method known as “slugging.”
The nighttime ritual seals in moisture overnight with the application of a serum or moisturizer, followed by an “occlusive” — another type of hydrating agent that forms a waterproof protective layer to keep moisture from escaping the skin. (Think petrolatum or shea butter.)
The Best Body Products For Winter & Fall
The bottom line? Changing your body-care routine can be beneficial, but be sure to tailor your recipe based on your skin type and environmental factors.
Below, shop five body products that’ll help keep your skin thriving this fall and winter.
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