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The inevitable happens each year: the days get shorter, the mornings get crisper and the cool weather slowly makes its way in. Skin, being the largest organ of the body, also senses this change and summertime has no doubt left some impressions on your skin. The unavoidable sun rays, increased humidity or the sunscreens and oils used in summertime products will leave blemishes and dull skin tones once your tan fades. Here are some fall tips you can use to not only restore your skin but help reverse many of the signs of aging.

Remove your outer layer of dead skin cells and unclog pores

Summer spent in the sun can make your skin appear dull. As your suntan fades pigment will appear that is new to your complexion. Exfoliation can remove the dull outer layer of skin, restore healthy blood flow and unclog pores.  Exfoliate twice each week with an exfoliating cleanser or add a teaspoon of raw sugar in the palm of your hand along with your existing cleanser for a 5 minute scrub. Use a prescription grade retinol or retinoic acid night cream before bedtime. Microdermabrasion or chemical peels performed by your skin care specialist are a great addition. These procedures are more effective and quicker at removing the superficial dead layer of the skin.

Prepare for dry Skin

Your skin was probably oilier than usual in the summer due to heat,  humidity, and sunscreen usage so a deeper-cleansing face wash was appropriate. In fall however, when the heat begins to disappear, you need a gentler cleanser. As heaters are turned on, skin dries out. Consider a non-soap cream cleanser product which removes dirt and impurities but doesn’t strip your skin’s natural oils. Remember your cleanser does NOT have to foam to cleanse skin. Finally, drink plenty of water.

Repair with Antioxidants

Whether you used only your moisturizing sunscreen or skipped moisturizing altogether in the summer, you’ll need to add this product back into your regimen in the fall. Choose a moisturizer which contains potent active anti oxidants and rich emollients to protect, nourish and soothe dry, tender skin.  These ingredients neutralize the damaging toxins from the sun, and can help prevent further damage. They should NOT contain SPF. Keep in mind we want your anti oxidants to reach the deepest layers of skin. SPF incorporated into anti oxidant creams prevents this absorption. Millions of dollars are being spent on research for delivery mechanisms to provide deeper penetration of active products into the skin layers. Facilitate maximal absorption for your skin by applying active creams to freshly cleansed skin and keep your SPF as a separate final step. Even during the fall and winter days, continue to apply sunscreen as harmful UV rays are abundant and can penetrate glass.

Try  an eye cream

The skin around the eye is the most delicate in the facial region and almost no oils are produced to protect this age revealing area. Older skin is prone to showing fine lines and a crepey texture around the eyes. Sun exposure exacerbates these problems. An eye treatment can help smooth the eye area again. Look for a product containing hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that effectively holds moisture onto the skin.

Schedule sun sensitive procedures

It is best to schedule most cosmetic procedures in the winter so the skin can heal away from the sun. Despite following a vigilant prescription grade topical regimen you will find, from time to time, you may need a little more help. Now is the time to zap those red facial blood vessels and brown age spots with a laser or to treat those bothersome leg veins.

So as hard as it can be to pack away the summer toys, fall also brings in a new sense of energy and change. Treat your skin to the pampering and regeneration it deserves for a long-lasting healthy appearance. Enhance your natural beauty.

Anil Rajani MD