Local dermatologists weigh in on the best ways to transition your skincare routine from summer to fall
By Lauren Williamson
Our commitment to skincare during the pandemic went one of two ways: glass-skin level perfectionism or … straight to hell. We finally started fumbling our way back to normal this summer, and now it’s already time to start thinking about fall, which presents a whole new set of indignities for our weary cheeks, noses, and hands, from dryer air to cancer-causing UV rays that persist even when temps drop. To navigate the transition, here are six tips from local dermatologists.
SPF IS STILL YOUR BFF
Don’t be fooled: Even when the weather is cool, cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays are as powerful as ever. Plus, more than 50 percent of UVA rays (the ones that give you wrinkles) pass through windows, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Dr. Leonard Y. Kerwin, a dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in Novi, suggests seeking out a sunscreen concocted Down Under, such as Blue Lizard. Because Australians live on the equator, “they know melanoma,” he says. His trick for making sure you cover delicate eye skin without irritating your peepers: Apply SPF to the bone around your eye, and enough will migrate to the lid and under eye area to protect it
GO HEAVIER ON THE MOISTURIZER
Autumn hits us with a double-whammy of dryness: Cold outdoor air is less humid — but so is heated indoor air. Protect your complexion by switching from a lotion to a cream, says Dr. Mariana Atanasovski, a dermatologist in Rochester. She suggests La Roche Posay’s Toleriane line, which dries quickly and leaves a matte finish. Pamper your hands, too — we’re still washing and Purelling them much more than before the pandemic. Kerwin recommends slathering on Aquaphor or Vaseline and sleeping in cotton gloves.
BUFF IT UP
Exfoliants revive skin that’s been beat up by sun and wind. Start once a week with a gentle physical scrub such as Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish, says Dr. Charles Boyd, a cosmetic surgeon in Birmingham, Ann Arbor and Detroit. If skincare Insta has scared you away from physical sloughers, try a chemical one: “Glycolic acid is a really gentle exfoliant,” Atanasovski says. “It’s like doing a baby step into a nightly routine.” Fair warning it can make you more susceptible to sunburn — but that’s another reason fall is a good time to introduce it since you’ll be spending more time inside.
NIP NEW SUN DAMAGE IN THE BUD
Avoid developing brown spots, Boyd says, by adding an antioxidant, which counteracts all the bad things you knew you shouldn’t have done to your skin over the summer but did anyway. (Looking at you, serial tanners.) He likes cult-favorite SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Acid. Since there’s less additional harm happening during the fall, it’s also a good time to rebuild skin by adding a collagen-boosting product like a growth factor. Slide it onto your face and neck — an oft-neglected area that ages faster than your mug because the blood supply is less robust.
MAKE IT AN ENDLESS SUMMER IF YOU HAVE PSORIASIS
If you’re one of the approximately 125 million people worldwide who suffer from this autoimmune condition, which causes new skin cells to grow too rapidly, you may find that summer brings relief: UVB light slows skin cell turnover, often resulting in fewer itchy, scaly patches on your skin. Fall is a different story — but don’t despair. Kerwin says your dermatologist can recreate the effect in-office with light therapy — a controlled use of UVB rays to ease flare-ups.
PLOT OUT A GAME PLAN WITH YOUR DERM
First things first: Get your annual skin check already. (You know you put it off during Covid.) With that behind you, you can start thinking about the cosmetic stuff. Fall is a great time for professional treatments that either require a little downtime or make you temporarily more sensitive to the sun. Dermabrasion treatments and chemical peels both whisk away the top layers of skin, smoothing out fine lines and giving you a more glowy complexion — but you’ll be more prone to sunburn until you’re fully healed, which could take at least a couple of weeks. Some procedures even work better in the fall and beyond: “Lasers require contrast so they’re tough to do with a back-ground tan,” Kerwin says.