With fall in full swing (we see you, PSL), it’s time to talk skin. Autumn brings cooler weather (sweater weather!) and a drop in humidity, which makes for dry, stale air and even drier skin. “Mix this with dry heat from radiators, and it’s a setup for skin disasters like eczema and dry, itchy skin,” says Shari Marchbein, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. To avoid the itch fest, here are the five top tips from dermatologists to thwart autumnal skin-related freak-outs.
Try a thicker moisturizer
Say goodbye to the lightweight, oil-free moisturizer you’ve been slathering on all summer. It’s time to bulk up with a heftier hydrator, says Marchbein. She recommends a heavy cream made with ceramides, which are the “essential and healthy fatty acids that occur naturally in the skin but need to be replenished during the colder months.” Her top pick? CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream, which is also packed with moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid.
Add a body lotion to the mix
When summer humidity ends, the skin may start to feel dry and itchy, as there is much less moisture in the air to help hydrate, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The easiest way to stop the itch? By loading up on hydration — from head to toe. “Moisturizers both provide a protective barrier over the skin, allowing it to retain hydration and draw in hydration to the outer skin layer,” he says. We like the Best of Beauty–winning H2O+ Beauty Milk Body Butter.
Cut back on exfoliating
As the weather gets colder, it’s best to cut back on robust ingredients, like retinoids and glycolics, says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She recommends using glycolic treatment pads (like the AHA-packed Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel) or a mask once a week to help remove discoloration brought on by the summer sun.
Take a pill
“The start of fall should coincide with skin renewal and repair from the ravages of summer sun and heat,” says Ava Shamban, M.D., a Beverly Hills–based dermatologist and founder of Skin Five. “The skin antioxidants can literally be depleted by all of the summer environmental exposure.” Her top tip for restoring hydration? Start from the inside out. “Take an internal liquid supplement, as it can help restore every inch of skin on your body,” she says. She recommends Aethern, which “has been shown to increase skin hydration and radiance on both the face and hands.”
Invest in a humidifier
Boost the hydration in your home by adding your own moisturizer to the mix with the help of a humidifier, says Tanzi. Turn it on as soon as you put the heat on for best results.