The Best Hydrating Serum for Fall, According to a Derm


The transition from summer into fall is a subtle one; you may not even realize it’s happening until you’re bundled up in a turtleneck and lighting your first pumpkin spice candle of the season. But though you might not be aware that the seasons are changing, your skin most certainly is, which means it’s time to start shifting your routine accordingly by doubling down on hydration.

“As colder seasons approach and the temperature begins to drop, the amount of moisture, or humidity, in the air also begins to decrease. This causes our skin to dry out faster and compromises the skin barrier, making skin more susceptible to cracking and flaking,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at New York City’s Shafer Clinic, adding that this has the tendency to make your skin appear dull and tired. “Supplementing skin’s hydration with moisturizing products is an important step in protecting the skin barrier, keeping skin healthy, and maintaining a hydrated glow, no matter how cold it gets outside.”

Because of this, she name checks Ambari Beauty’s new Complex4 Hydrator Cream ($96) as one of the best of the best serums for keeping skin hydrated throughout the colder months of the year. It’s made with a blend of peptides, mushrooms, antioxidants, and broad-spectrum CBD, the combination of which offers a whole host of benefits to a parched complexion.

“This formula is highly effective at soothing dry skin, supporting healthy collagen, giving skin a boost of radiance, and calming skin after active ingredients have been applied while locking in their age-defying benefits,” says Dr. Engleman. “It works to minimize signs of aging, restore radiance, and strengthen the skin barrier to defend against cold-weather elements.”

The cream is non-occlusive, which means that your skin can still “breathe” while you wear it, but still effectively seals in moisture and active ingredients all day and night—it’s just as much a moisturizer as it is a serum. In fact, in clinical trials conducted by the brand, participants noticed softer, smoother, brighter, and more hydrated skin over the course of only 24 hours.

I’ve been wearing the serum on my own dry skin every night since Labor Day, and I can honestly say that it lives up to the hype. Generally, I tend to wake up in the morning with an oily T-zone and dryness everywhere else (a sign that my skin gets extra dehydrated overnight), but using this product has allowed me to start my days with skin that feels soft and moisturized all over. Dr. Engleman also uses the product herself, and swears by it for this weird, transitional time of year. ” When I wear Complex4 Hydrator to bed, I can feel a light layer of cream when I wake up the next morning,” she says. “This is a good sign that the moisturizer is long-lasting and able to successfully protect and strengthen the skin barrier, combat transepidermal water loss during the night, and help you get the most out of your active ingredients.”

At $96, it’s an investment, but this single serum is all you need to keep your skin hydrated from now ’til spring.

For more hydrating ingredients worth adding to your routine, check out the video below:

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