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How to Transition Your Skin-Care Routine for Fall Like a Pro

Believe it or not, fall is right around the corner. Once again that tricky time between seasons will arise—you know, when it’s not quite warm enough to sport that crisp new peacoat yet somehow last month’s newly purchased, open-toed wedges just don’t fit the bill. Gone are the high-humidity, sun-drenched afternoons and in their place, dry wispy winds, causing the onslaught of cracked cuticles, parched lips and, unfortunately, transitional skin.

“One of the biggest concerns is blotchy skin,” says Manhattan-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D., who blames fading tans for skin’s unevenness. “Exfoliation is key,” either at home with an acid peel or in a dermatologist’s office with the use of fractioned lasers, like Fraxel 1550, which targets pigment to even out color and help with the reduction of fine lines. Some may also suffer from clogged pores—the work of months of slathering on thick sunscreens and bronzers—for which Fusco recommends a session of Isolaz, an in-office laser treatment that helps clear imperfections and banish blackheads.

The changing of seasons requires a shift in products, too, even for the most paired-down of routines. “Switch to a creamy cleanser that doesn’t foam up,” she explains, “so skin doesn’t get stripped of its natural oils.” Fusco also recommends skipping daily toner (“It can be harsh”) and incorporating a hardworking and hydrating serum, like Alastin’s Regenerating Skin Nectar, which fights sun damage, stimulates collagen, and infuses a hefty amount of antioxidants into the skin. “Now is the time to reintroduce retinols back into your routine,” she says, and soften newly acquired brown spots with botanical lighteners, like Lytera.

Perhaps most importantly? Pile on the moisture. “As the weather gets cooler, take your moisture levels up and swap to a thicker cream.” Eyes too need some attention: “Look for something in a jar or a pot as opposed to a lotion,” she says, like Kiehl’s creamy avocado treatment. Fusco advises patients to start stashing hardening masks made with clay or kaolin in favor of moisturizing ones, formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides. “You won’t need the extra dryness,” she explains.

And don’t forget the SPF. Fusco urges patients to continue to wear sunscreenevery day—even on cloudy days. “Just one application of SPF 30 in the morning will do.”

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