Updating Your Skincare Routine for Fall

As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine. Shifts in the weather and the atmosphere change the way your skin reacts to the world around it. It’s critical to take this into account as you continue to care for your skin into the fall and winter. Start your fall with your best face forward by renewing your skincare routine to keep your skin healthy all year round.


The new season is an ideal time to start fresh with your skincare routine. What better way to do that than with a clean slate? Exfoliation — whether with a regular at-home exfoliator or a more in-depth procedure — can get rid of the dull top layer of skin cells that have been sitting on your face for the last few months and let you start the fall with clear, glowing skin. There are many ways to exfoliate successfully. The two broad categories of exfoliation for your face are physical and chemical; physical exfoliation uses gentle abrasive techniques to slough away dead skin cells, while chemical exfoliators use mild acidic ingredients to dissolve them.

If you’re interested in adding an exfoliator to your daily skincare routine, we recommend looking for a chemical exfoliant. Over-the-counter physical exfoliants can be harsh on aging or sun-damaged skin, especially face scrubs and exfoliating brushes. You can have more control over the level of exfoliation with a chemical exfoliant like glycolic, lactic or salicylic acid. These are widely available as creams or facial wipes, allowing you to use them sparingly if you find they are drying out your skin. Chemical peels are also excellent options, especially when administered by a physician — medical-grade peels are specially created with the highest quality ingredients to be gentle yet effective, and can often be customized to hydrate or brighten at the same time.

If you’re looking for a one-time procedure to refresh your face before starting your new skincare routine, a physical exfoliation procedure like microdermabrasion might be best for you. These procedures use special tools to scrape away only the uppermost, dead layer of skin cells, revealing the healthy new cells beneath and leaving your skin with a youthful glow.


For aging skin, summer sun often makes dark spots significantly more noticeable, especially if you weren’t religious about your sunscreen application. If the last few months spent outside by the pool or lake have left you with hyperpigmentation, a brightening cream is a great new addition to your fall skincare regimen. Vitamin C is the hot-ticket ingredient for brightening on the market this season. It comes with a host of benefits: it’s a powerful antioxidant and hydrator, it stimulates collagen production and it decreases the production of dark spot-causing skin pigments. Look for a formula that also contains Vitamin E and ferulic acid — studies show that the combination of these three ingredients increases the benefits of Vitamin C up to eight times.


Dry fall air, especially here in Iowa where temperatures start to drop drastically in the fall, can cause all sorts of skin problems. As humidity levels decrease, the water molecules in your skin that keep you hydrated are drawn out and evaporate more quickly. Keeping your skin hydrated is a necessary anti-aging technique; dehydrated skin loses volume more quickly, which makes wrinkles and fine lines worse. And, it might sound counter-intuitive, but using a good moisturizer can combat acne and breakouts as well. Oily skin is sometimes a product of dry skin overproducing oil in an attempt to keep itself hydrated.

It’s important to use a moisturizer in the fall that can not only replenish the moisture in your skin, but can also keep it locked in and prevent it from evaporating. Occlusive moisturizers are great for this. They contain ingredients that form a barrier over your skin that traps water molecules inside. Some common occlusive ingredients include silicones, jojoba oil and petrolatum.


Skin, especially aging skin, absolutely needs protection from UV rays every day. Even when it’s cloudy or you think you’ll be indoors most of the day, it’s important to have a sunscreen that’s part of your daily skincare routine. It’s especially important to wear sunscreen if you’ve recently had facial cosmetic surgery. Protection from UV rays can minimize scarring and help your results last longer.

Even if you haven’t had cosmetic surgery, UV rays wreak havoc on the skin. They cause oxygen molecules to split apart, forming free radicals — single atoms that float around looking for other substances to attach themselves to. When they attach to important structures like DNA, proteins and cell membranes, they cause the skin damage that results in signs of aging like deep wrinkles, dark spots and sagging. A good antioxidant can combat this, but it’s most important to protect your skin from UV rays to begin with. Look for a daily sunscreen that’s full spectrum — this means it blocks UVA1, UVA2 and UVB rays.


Unlike all those sweaters that you’ve been storing since the spring, you might not want to dig out your old skincare products from last year. Most creams, serums and lotions have an expiration date, they contain ingredients that can change quickly, and are prone to growing bacteria if they aren’t stored properly. In fact, many skincare experts recommend storing skincare products in the refrigerator unless the packaging includes specific directions otherwise.

Using expired products or products that were stored in a dark cabinet all summer can be harmful to your skin. At best, they won’t be fully effective, and at worst, you could develop a serious infection. If you’re not sure if a product is still safe to use, it’s best to toss it and replace it.

If you have recently had facial cosmetic surgery performed here at Dr. Andrews Plastic Surgery, we encourage you to reach out to us directly so Dr. Andrews or his PA, Courtney Albritton, can help you find specific products to keep your skin stay healthy while you heal. You can also reach out to us if you have questions about medical-grade skin treatments like chemical peels or laser resurfacing, which we offer. Call us today at 319-800-6877.

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