DermWife’s Tips for Transitioning Your Skincare for Cold Weather

Woman washing up her face with foam cleanser in the morning
Image: iStock

Just as we transition our wardrobe, we also need to change our skincare routine as we head to the cooler months. My dermatologist husband Dr. Z. helps me prepare my face every fall, so I’m sharing my skincare “musts” to keep your faces in tip-top shape, too.

1. Topical antioxidants should be your new best friend
We can’t undo the hours of sun exposure from our days at the beach, but we can minimize their effects with antioxidant serums. Ingredients such as Vitamins C can help lighten dark spots from the summer and even out skin tone. At the same time, they protect the skin from harmful inflammation and even encourage new collagen production. So if there’s one ingredient that can save your skin from the summer, I say Vitamin C is it.

2. Swap out your cleanser
The heat and humidity of the summer leave many of us feeling greasy. Foaming cleansers were a great option to remove oil from the skin in the summer but may end up being too harsh as you move into fall. If your skin is like mine, you may notice your skin starts to get dry as the temperature and humidity drop. The solution is to swap out your summer cleanser for one that hydrates and preserve your skin’s natural oils. Think cleansing milks, lotions or creams.

3. Thicken up your moisturizer
While summer is all about lightweight lotions and gels, fall means rich creams. In hot weather, you want hydration without weighing your skin down. However, as the temperature drops, your skin barrier needs to adjust to the new weather. So it will be time say hello to heavier creams and lotions to keep in moisture and keep out the drying effects of cold weather.

4. Renew with Retinol
I include Retinol in my post-summer skincare arsenal because of its collagen-stimulating benefits. As the summer sun damages collagen, Retinol can help renew it. Many people pull Retinol from their summer regimen because it can make your skin sensitive to sunburns. Once the summer is over and the sun’s rays are not as strong, you can add it back into your routine. Be patient with this one, because results take weeks to kick in. Also, you should start using it every other night, because it can be irritating as your skin adjusts to it over the first few weeks.

5. When all else fails, look to a laser
Dark spots and uneven skin tone may continue to remind of us of summer for months after the season has ended. Despite following the right skincare routine, some spots just need more help than what creams can provide. So if you’re not getting the improvement you want from your topicals, it’s time to think about what your dermatologist can do for you. Dr Z. explains that there are different lasers for different skin issues, whether to treat an individual spot, a full face of blotches, or even lines, wrinkles or prominent pores. Your dermatologist can evaluate your skin and go over specific options that he or she thinks is best.

6. Sunscreen 365
Summer may be over, but sunscreen season is not. Whether you are out in the peak August sun or getting everyday exposure in the fall, sunscreen is always a must. Protecting your skin against harmful UV rays is the easiest and most effective way to prevent early skin aging and skin cancers. The only change I make for the fall is choosing a moisturizer with sunscreen for added skin barrier protection along with UV protection.

None of us wants summer to end, but there’s no stopping the changing seasons. You can transition your skincare routine smoothly from summer to fall with a few, simple skincare swaps, dermatologist recommended and DermWife® approved.

Follow Cori Zeichner on Instagram at @thedermwife or on her blog at

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