Neutrogena To Cetaphil To Olay: Dermatologist-Approved Fall Skin Care

Today is the first official day of fall, and this season the trend is all about gorgeous skin with minimal makeup. So, we spoke with Dr. Helen Fincher, a dermatologist with a private practice in Beverly Hills (she’s also a clinical faculty member at UCLA) for her advice on how to put your best face forward. Dr. Fincher doesn’t think you should spend a ton of money buying a thousand different products. “I am very simplistic about skin care,” she says. Instead, you need just one appropriate item in each big category (face washes, moisturizers, and body scrubs).

Here’s how to know if your skin products measure up, and what to look for in your fall facial lineup:

1. Facial Wash

To keep skin blemish-free, Dr. Fincher recommends products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they don't cause acne) and tells her clients to avoid mineral oil as an ingredient, since it can clog pores. If you tend toward breakouts, she suggests over-the-counter acne washes or topical gels. Don’t use a facial scrub more than about twice per week during the colder months—if you have normal, combination, or oily skin without acne—since it has the potential to irritate and stir up redness. If you have problem skin, hold off on exfoliating until you talk to your derm.

2. Facial Moisturizers

We need sunscreen year-round, insists Dr. Fincher. Don’t be taken in by the advertising: Combo makeup/sunscreen products are not enough, so wear a moisturizer with SPF under your makeup. Even if it’s cold or cloudy, use a true sunscreen with 30+ SPF if you’re doing outdoor activities.


3. Night Cream

“As the weather gets colder, it is often necessary to moisturize more often and to change to a heavier product without ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acids,” says the derm. Moisturizing can be tricky: The goal is to avoid chapped lips and dry, irritated skin, but using an oily moisturizer that’s too heavy can cause acne. Same rules apply here as with any other facial products: Go non-comedogenic and skip the mineral oil. Dr. Fincher told us not to waste money on eye cream if you’re in your 20s and 30s and don’t have overly dry skin. Just make sure to moisturize in this area at night.

4. Body Wash

“Unscented is always less irritating.” No need to splurge in this area, either, as a basic body bar is just fine. If you can’t part with your fancy French vanilla body wash, don’t let us stop you. But, if you find your skin getting dry or irritated, give the scented stuff a rest.


5. Body Moisturizer

There are plenty of drugstore brands (including Curel, Cetaphil, CeraVe and Neutrogena) that make great body lotions, our expert advises. Go simple, unscented, and hypoallergenic. For best results, apply immediately after bathing to lock in moisture instead of sealing it out.

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  • Savvy

    This is great but what about vaseline? that’s my go-to

    • Carriebradshaw

      Seriously, LV!

      • Andrea

        Vaseline lotion or you mean the old-school petroleum jelly?

        • Savvy

          Old school!

  • Monktastic

  • Judith Limaye

    This is all well and good but waht about the 401(K) and IRAs, LV.

  • BrynMawr 1980

    All women should use eye cream, regardless of age. I very much disagree with Dr. Fincher here.

    • Andrea

      That’s interesting — she does believe in moisturizing the eye area but felt a night cream was enough for women in their 20s and 30s — you think night cream + eye cream, or just eye cream, hold the facial lotion at night?

  • DavidGest

    “Facial Wipes: Yes To Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes, $5.99nnThese biodegradable wipes with cucumber, green tea, and aloe vera are perfect to stash in your purse or gym bag for cleaning off makeup and grime on the go. No rinsing needed. “nnI can absolutely use these, especially on the nights I come home late and am too tired to do my usual routine. Thanks!

  • Shannon

    I also use Vaseline around the eyes before bed. And what about Dr. Bronner’s? A big bottle lasts forever because you need to dilute it and you can use it for face and body and even for cleaning the apt!

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