How Seasonal Changes Affect Skin Hydration

How Seasonal Changes Affect Skin Hydration

Autumn has officially arrived. Whether you are firmly in the pumpkin spice camp or are team apple cider all the way, the transition from hot, humid summer weather to cooler fall temperatures can be a welcome relief on many levels. Not to mention that brisk autumn days and chilly evenings are perfect for snuggling by a campfire (or on the couch) with a fuzzy blanket and a warm beverage! 

But even the most welcome transitions can have their downsides. As we move into autumn, you may notice some unwelcome changes in your skin. The cold, dry air of fall, combined with the increased use of indoor heaters, can cause your skin to become dry and dehydrated which can, in turn, bring with it some unpleasant consequences. We all know that adequate hydration is key for maintaining the smooth texture and glowing appearance of our skin, but the importance of water for overall skin health and function is more than just skin deep. In fact, scientific studies have shown that water content affects the molecular structure of our skin at the deepest levels, so proper hydration is essential for maintaining our skin’s health, integrity, and protective function.

To appreciate why water is so critical for skin health, it’s important to understand its complex and unique structure. The outermost protective layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, is made up of an ordered array of cells that are embedded in a lipid matrix and tightly linked together by specialized protein complexes. Importantly, in order to make way for new cells that migrate to the surface, the cells within the stratum corneum are routinely detached and shed through a controlled process known as desquamation, and water is essential for this process. So when our skin becomes too dry, the natural desquamation process is disrupted, leading to a build-up of dry, flaky, scaly skin. 

What’s more, as our skin becomes drier, it loses flexibility and becomes brittle, disrupting its barrier function. The protective acid mantle on our skin is also lost, as our natural oils and lipids are depleted and skin pH increases, leaving us vulnerable to attack by harmful microbes. These changes can ultimately induce the production of inflammatory factors that cause redness and sensitivity and further weaken skin integrity, fueling the vicious cycle of moisture loss and irritation. 

There are four key ways that you can protect your skin from dehydration and damage during the fall and winter months: 

  1. Swap your clarifying, foaming cleanser for one that is more gentle and creamy to help preserve your skin’s acid mantle and protect from overdrying. And only use lukewarm water to wash your face. If your skin feels tight or itchy after washing, it’s a good sign that you are probably using a cleanser that is stripping your skin.
  2. Reduce the frequency with which you use clay-based masks and products containing drying ingredients, such as retinols, as these can worsen flaking and irritation. 
  3. Switch to a richer moisturizer and/or incorporating non-comedogenic oils, such as grapeseed, argan, rosehip, or sunflower seed oil, into your skincare routine, particularly on areas prone to drying, such as your cheeks. 
  4. Use a gentle enzyme-based product 1 to 3 times per week to help support your skin’s natural turnover process. Just make sure to go easy at first, especially if you are experiencing increased sensitivity. 

And, of course, always avoid harsh ingredients such as alcohol-based toners, artificial fragrances, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates (SLS/SLES), and benzoyl peroxide that can strip your skin and increase irritation.

Lastly, because so much of our skin’s natural repair and turnover processes ramp up while we sleep, increased water loss occurs during this time as well. Therefore, it’s essential to treat and moisturize our skin before bed, regardless of the season. Used nightly, Wild Resilience™ Active Phage Serum  will maintain skin hydration, while targeting and killing the Cutibacterium acnes bacteria that cause blemishes, breakouts, and inflammation. For added moisture, follow with a non-comedogenic night cream or night mask, such as Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Overnight Cream, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream, or Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask with Vitamin C.

If you have any specific questions about how the seasonal changes affect your skin and how Wild Resilience can help to promote skin health, please email us at We’re happy to help!



  1. Harding CR, Watkinson A, Rawlings AV, Scott IR. Dry skin, moisturization and corneodesmolysis. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2000 Feb;22(1):21-52. doi: 10.1046/j.1467-2494.2000.00001.x. PMID: 18503460.
  2. Mojumdar, E.H., Pham, Q.D., Topgaard, D. et al. Skin hydration: interplay between molecular dynamics, structure and water uptake in the stratum corneum. Sci Rep 7, 15712 (2017). 
  3. Osseiran S, Cruz JD, Jeong S, Wang H, Fthenakis C, Evans CL. Characterizing stratum corneum structure, barrier function, and chemical content of human skin with coherent Raman scattering imaging. Biomed Opt Express. 2018;9(12):6425-6443. 
  4. Prakash C, Bhargava P, Tiwari S, Majumdar B, Bhargava RK. Skin Surface pH in Acne Vulgaris: Insights from an Observational Study and Review of the Literature. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(7):33-39.
  5. Sakuma TH, Maibach HI. Oily skin: an overview. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;25(5):227-35. doi: 10.1159/000338978. Epub 2012 Jun 20. PMID: 22722766.
  6. Wan MJ, Su XY, Zheng Y, Gong ZJ, Yi JL, Zhao Y, Guan XM, Lai W. Seasonal variability in the biophysical properties of forehead skin in women in Guangzhou City, China. Int J Dermatol. 2015 Nov;54(11):1319-24.


About Ellis Day Skin Science

We believe that modern skincare must be grounded in true microbiome science. We believe the answers are in the wild, natural world, which includes the surface of your skin. 

At Ellis Day Skin Science, we pioneer natural phage-based products that target and kill bad bacteria associated with inflammation, damage, and aging, and enable good bacteria to flourish. By doing so, we aim to reset your microbiome for optimal skin health.

We use cutting-edge science to leverage nature, creating products that are just as kind and conscientious as they are effective, so that all can feel empowered with balanced, clear, radiant, and resilient skin.

Search our site

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.