We all know to take extra care of our skin during the summer months when we’re outside and the sun is shining, but did you know that your skin needs just as much protection in fall and year-round? When we transition from summer to fall here in northcentral Pa., it is normal to have hot and humid and cold and dry weather, sometimes even in the same day. The effects of these unruly temperatures and conditions can wreak havoc on your skin, causing it to dry out and be irritable. As you get ready for fall and say goodbye to summer, don’t put away your skincare products. In fact, you might need additional products or a new skincare routine to keep your skin protected.
Choosing the Right Products
While it is obvious that sunburn is a risk when it’s a bright sunny day, don’t forget that the sun’s rays can be just as strong on cloudy and overcast days. No matter what time of year it is, you should use a high-SPF (Sun Protection Factor) sunscreen every single day. The level of SPF that is suggested to use is no lower than 30. SPF is a measure of time before skin will burn when exposed to the sun. It’s important to remember that the sun can burn and damage your skin whatever the temperature may be.
In addition to daily sunscreen, applying moisturizer is a strong recommendation. The humidity of summer keeps the natural layer of moisture in your skin. Fall is less humid and can strip some of that moisture away. When choosing a moisturizer, go for oil-based lotions rather than water-based; they help your skin retain moisture better. Also, when moisturizing your hands, choose a thicker cream to a build a tougher barrier to prevent calluses.
It might be fun to get pumpkin spice or apple cider scented lotions or soaps during this time of year, but it is best to pick a milder option. Extra fragrances and oils can clog your pores and cause acne or other blemishes. Mild soaps will cleanse your pores without causing a buildup.
Tips for Healthy Skin
To stay comfortable in colder temperatures it is normal to add more layers of clothing. Long sleeves, gloves, and scarves will help your skin retain moisture by blocking out the drying coldness of fall. An added benefit to layers is that they cover your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays as well. The darker colors that are worn during fall aren’t just a fashion statement either as they can absorb more UV rays than the lighter colors worn during the summer.
After a long day of apple picking, you might think that a hot shower or a long soak in the tub sounds like a good idea. Be careful because hot water can dry out your skin and cause irritation and cracking. Warm water is a better option and don’t forget — use lotion when you’re done as it helps lock moisture into your skin.
As our heaters kick on and we’re indoors around more conditioned and circulating warm air, the moisture level of our skin can also change due to the new conditions. To combat dry air indoors, consider using a humidifier to help balance the conditions of your indoor environment, especially while transitioning from air-conditioning to forced heat.
Our diets tend to change a little this time of year as well as we head into the holidays. The season brings holidays that offer candy and other processed food to celebrate, and we may be snacking on all the fall apple and pumpkin favorites. Be mindful that these treats can be loaded with sugar and carbohydrates and eating them in excess can cause your hormones to fluctuate and make your skin breakout. Drinking water and eating healthy can help keep your skin clear.
Take some extra time to embrace your skin care this fall and keep your summer glow throughout the seasonal transition.
Sabrina Mikita, MD
Sabrina Mikita, MD, is a physician with UPMC Dermatology and sees patients at 1205 Grampian Blvd., Williamsport. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mikita, call 570-326-8060. For more information, visit UPMC.com.