Did you remember when we asked for your skincare routine to be changed to adapt to the colder weather? It’s that time again. Winter has finally ended after months of freezing temperatures and snow, leaving behind a trail of itchy, dry skin. Our skin takes a bit longer to adjust to the new season, even though we are ready to jump into sunshine. Ted Lain MD, chief medical officer at Sanova Dermatology, says that changes in humidity, sun exposure and outdoor activities often lead to the need for a change in your skincare regimen. Spring brings higher temperatures and more humidity, so it is important to adjust your sun protection as well as your anti aging routine.
How can we prepare our skin for warmer weather? Three dermatologists shared their tips for waking up dull winter skin and creating a healthy spring glow.
Start exfoliating (if you weren’t already)
Dry skin is often hesitant to use an exfoliator during winter, despite the flaking caused by cold weather. “Exfoliation is often avoided during winter because it can dry the skin,” states Hadley King MD, a New York City dermatologist. Spring is the best time to exfoliate and brighten dull skin from winter. Physical exfoliation is not limited to removing dead skin cells with abrasive particles. Dr. Lain says that both chemical and physical exfoliation are possible to incorporate into your spring skincare routine. To kick-start your spring skincare routine, I highly recommend chemical peels. These are great for a quick exfoliation and stimulating collagen production.
Exfoliating too often can quickly lead to a brighter complexion becoming irritated. Joshua Zeichner MD, a New York City dermatologist, recommends that you exfoliate on a weekly basis, at maximum two times per week.
Switch to a lighter moisturizer
Heavy creams can be a blessing for dry winter skin but not when applied to a sweaty, sticky face. Dr. King explains that when the weather is dry and cold, it is important to use good emollients to prevent transepidermal water losses. Dr. King explains that as the temperature and humidity rise, we may not require heavy occlusives to moisturize our skin. Heavy products can feel sticky or greasy. It will feel more comfortable to use lighter moisturizers that contain humectants or emollients. Dr. Zeichner and Dr. King recommend that you switch to a gel-based moisturizer. This absorbs quickly and protects the skin barrier.
Upgrade your SPF
Although we wouldn’t recommend skipping sunscreen, we do know that not everyone uses sunscreen in winter. You’ll want to get more sunscreen now that the weather is getting warmer. You’re already a good sunscreen-abiding citizen, which is an added bonus! You’ll need to increase your sunscreen dosage. Dr. Lain says that UV rays are stronger because the earth is closer to the sun in warmer months. To ensure adequate sun protection in spring and summer, it is important to increase the SPF to at minimum 50+ while ensuring that the products offer broad-spectrum coverage.
Antioxidants should be incorporated
People don’t like pigmentation. This is especially true if it’s caused by the sun. Sunspots can be difficult to remove. Dr. King says antioxidants can and should be used all year, but are most effective during spring and summer to prevent sun damage. It’s like having an insurance policy for your sunscreen. “When skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sun, free radicals are created that can damage DNA and accelerate collagen and elastin breakdown. Vitamin C, a topical antioxidant, can give electrons to stabilize free radicals and reduce sun damage.
Makeover your beauty routine for spring
You should do a skin-care cleanout if you haven’t done one in the past few months. Swap out or clean out any makeup brushes, sponges, or washcloths. Dr. King says that these are great breeding areas for bacteria, yeast and mold, irritating our skin, and contributing to breakouts or infections. You should throw away anything past the expiration date. This can be found on the bottom of your packaging. To indicate the shelf life of your product, look out for symbols with an open container and a letter m. For example, 12m indicates that your product will be good for 12 months from the time you opened it. Remember that active ingredients can become less potent and more effective over time, even if the product has not been opened.
Are you unable to find any markings? Dr. Zeichner suggests using the smell test. He says, “If it doesn’t look, feel, or smell the same as it did when it was purchased, it is best to throw it out.”