It’s about that time of year again. The sun will be shining, bees humming, flowers blooming, pastels and whites resurfacing from the bottom of your drawer, and your skin…
dull, dry and flakey?
For your skin, the wintertime may not be it’s finest hour. Like most things that arise from the frigid temperatures, your skin may come out looking kind of lifeless. The cold sucks away any moisture in your skin and time spent indoors or under dark skies drains your glow. Rest assured, winter is about to leave the building, taking with it chapped skin and winter-time blues.
As the season transitions, your skin will too. Accordingly, you must alter your skincare routine to match the new climate. Try not to get too hung up in your current regimen because it may not achieve the same impeccable results in the Springtime.
Instead, we’re here to share some reliable advice on how to prep your face for the warmer days ahead. So, skip the expensive and potentially damaging trial and error process and keep reading. Soon enough, you’ll achieve the clear, fresh, and dewy skin of your Springtime fantasy.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but we’re going to emphasize it again because it’s just that important. SPF is your friend. In fact, it’s your best friend.
In spite of sounding like the sunscreen police or a nagging family member, you should be wearing sunscreen all year around. We’ve heard the argument about not needing sunscreen because of cloudy weather or skin tones that don’t burn easily, but this line of reasoning does not hold up in the world of medical professionals. Whether you burn or not, sun rays can still cause harm and roughly 80% of the sun's rays penetrate clouds, mist, and fog.
Another myth commonly used to justify not wearing sunscreen is that it won’t allow you to get a tan. First and foremost, tanning is not great for your skin. And, with so many formulations of fake tanning products on the market which will give you the tan you desire instantly, why would you sit in the sun for hours and risk skin-damage? Secondly, while some sunscreens may make it harder to tan, that is not to say that you won’t get a tan at all. Sunscreens are not 100% ray-proof shields, despite the protection they offer.
Lots of sun with little or no sunscreen is a recipe for disaster. The sun’s UV rays are damaging to the skin in more ways than one. When exposed to UV rays for an extended amount of time, skin cells deteriorate at a quicker rate. The rays generate free radicals which can damage DNA and promote the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Serums like vitamin C - which are loaded with antioxidants - can be an insurance policy for this harm but sunscreen is the best protective measure you can take. Not to mention, prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburn, sunspots, wrinkles, and discoloration.
Moral of the story: wear your sunscreen. With Spring on the horizon, now is the time to start layering it on, or amping up your usage. Side note - SPF in your makeup isn’t going to cut it. You need face sunscreen separate from your makeup.
Throw on a cute, sporty baseball cap, a chic wide-brimmed sun hat, or a patterned knit cap which is very “in” right now. Whatever you choose, protect yourself in style!
As winter comes to a close, you may find that your skin is chapped and flaky. Intuitively, your solution may be to generously apply your thickest moisturizer and steer clear of exfoliants. Most people think that if their skin is dry, then exfoliating will only make it dryer.
Contrary to popular belief, you should be exfoliating even if your skin is dry. In fact, Spring time is the prime time to exfoliate your face without the risk of drying out your skin. Skin scrubs scrape off flaky, dried out skin to reveal baby-soft skin underneath. They also work to brighten a face dulled down by winter and prep your skin for the maximum absorption of all your favorite treatments and serums.
Tread with caution when picking and using exfoliants. Be careful not to get a scrub that is too harsh for your skin type. You don’t want your skin to become irritated or inflamed. Remember, you aren’t just limited to physical scrubs. You can also opt for a chemical peel which goes beyond just exfoliating to boost collagen production. Just keep in mind that it’s easy to cross the line from a smooth, bright complexion to an irritated one so make sure to limit yourself to a physical exfoliation 1-2 times a week and chemical peels once every 2-5 weeks.
Chemical peels are great, but some store-bought exfoliants contain chemicals that are not so great. Are you on a budget? Do you not want to risk your chance with an affordable exfoliant that might not be the best for your skin? We’ve got you covered.
Try this dermatologist-approved DIY facial scrub:
- One part olive or coconut oil
- Two parts sugar (brown sugar for sensitive skin)
- Essential oil to preference
Mix that all together and voila! You have your own face scrub. For an added calming effect, mix in ground oats and honey! You can use this on your face and the rough parts of your body if you choose to.
3. Moisturize (The Right Way)
In the winter, keeping your skin hydrated is no easy job. In contrast, our skin holds more water in the Spring and Summer. Amid the humidity and increased temperature, you may find yourself more sweaty and shiny.
This doesn’t mean you should stop moisturizing altogether. But, those thick moisturizers you used in the winter may have to be benched for the season. Also, you may find that you only need to moisturize once a day instead of piling it on as needed.
During Spring and Summer, use a lightweight, thirst-quenching moisturizer in the form of a serum or a gel. Gel moisturizers are cooling, refreshing, hydrating, protecting, and absorb into the skin quickly. Serum moisturizers will adequately nourish your skin without being so thick that your makeup melts off or you appear oily. These are the perfect options for glowing, hydrated skin without feeling slimy.
4. (Switch Out Your) Cleanser
Spring, Summer, Winter, or Fall, face cleansing is a must. Throughout a long, busy day you can accrue bacteria, pollutants, viruses, dirt, and dead skin cells on your skin. These impurities will wreak havoc on your skin if you don’t give em’ the boot. Cleansing will wash away dirt, oil, and unwanted debris. However, the type of cleanser you use is going to depend on the season.
Just because you have to cleanse all year around doesn’t mean you need to stick to the same type of cleanser. Creamy cleansers are great for winter when your skin needs extra moisture wherever it can find it. But, during the Spring, these types of cleansers may leave a trail of fat residue that can clog your pores.
If your skin is acne prone, you especially want to avoid a cream cleanser during warmer months. Alternatively, use a foaming cleanser that lathers up and has extra cleansing power. These products don’t leave any dirt or oil in the pores.
For skin types not prone to blemishes, get yourself a normal cleanser that is pH balanced in preparation for Spring. It will remove sebum without stripping your skin of all hydration.
5. Face Mist
As you spend more and more of your time outdoors and return to doing more activities after winter hibernation, you may find yourself needing to refresh throughout the day. Try a facial mist to:
- Soothe your skin
- Refresh your makeup
- Cool down your skin
- Nourish the skin
- Give you a healthy glow
- Provide antioxidants (the skin equivalent of going on a juice cleanse)
Facial mist formulas have come leaps and bounds in recent years to meet our 21st century concerns. Newer face mists have been developed to protect from any irritation or inflammation caused by wearing a mask all day. Work from home? There are face mists for blue light environments. Live in a city where the air quality isn’t the greatest? There are even face mists that protect against pollution. Today's mists are more like on-the-go serums, meeting our needs and answering our prayers.
The alternative to using a facial mist during a scorching hot day is to wipe your face with your hands. You shouldn’t do this. Chances are, your hands haven’t just been cleaned and you don’t want to introduce oils, bacteria, and dirt onto your face.
6. BB Cream
Can’t skip your daily face makeup? Swap out your foundation for BB cream during the Spring! In the heat, foundation can become cakey, build up in the crevices of your face, melt off, or worse – lead to a breakout.
If you don’t have the time in the morning to apply serums, moisturizers, primers, and foundation, BB creams have you covered. BB creams - short for Beauty Balm - were specifically designed to serve as a foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen all in one. Between blurring, protecting, hydrating, and tinting the BB cream is truly a beauty secret weapon. With just one product, you can do it all.
Foundation will cover up and conceal, but it won’t improve your skin. BB creams are formulated to do both. Many BB creams are loaded with antioxidants to hydrate, polish, and strengthen your skin. Even though they’re lightweight, they’re buildable. So, if you aim to cover up a mark, blemish, or discoloration, you easily can. This all-in-one beauty product immediately gives the appearance of beautiful skin, but works long term to improve your skin. All the while, it feels like you’re wearing nothing.
7. Retinoids & Retinols
A large portion of skincare is focused on working against the clock and slowing down - or ideally, prohibiting - signs of aging. Who wouldn’t want to look young and glowing forever? Whether you’re trying to prevent premature aging or reverse the signs of aging, there are a plethora of options on the market.
A product that has gained traction in the anti-aging market over the years is retinoid, and it’s less powerful counterpart retinol. A retinoid is a product prescribed by your dermatologist, but as the weaker version of retinoid, retinol can be purchased over the counter. A retinoid is a vitamin A derivative that increases cellular turnover which gives rise to clearer pores, less acne, and smoothed out wrinkles. However, because your skin needs time to get used to the cellular turnover, an unwanted side effect of using retinoid can be severely dry skin.
This side effect may have kept you from using retinoid products in the winter when your skin is at its driest. With Spring coming, your skin will better be able to tolerate these products in a warmer climate. Now is the time to consider incorporating a retinoid or retinol into your skincare routine or boosting your application frequency. Retinoids and retinols can smooth out wrinkles and fine lines, soften rough patches of skin, improve the color of skin, and fade dark spots.
If you want to reap the benefits of a retinoid or retinol product, you will have to be a good sunscreen-abiding citizen. The alternative is that you only use this product at night because it will make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.
8. Spring Cleaning
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Using fresh products is important. As a matter of fact, it is arguably the most crucial part of a good Spring skincare routine. It doesn’t matter how well you adhere to the other tips in this article if you are using old, spoiled, expired products, your skin could deteriorate rather than improve. So, when you're cleaning your home for the springtime, don’t skip your beauty collection.
Check expiration dates and “Period After Opening” (POA) symbols. Look for the picture of an open jar with a number and the letter m inside. For example, if it said “12M” this would mean the product is good for 12 months after opening. However, keep in mind that if you let a product sit around for a while and never open it, it’s formula could become less potent.
At a bare minimum, you should clean out washcloths, sponges, and makeup brushes because these absorb water and dirt easier than other tools. Bacteria, yeast, and mold love to live in them!
Can’t find an expiration date or a POA symbol? Rely on your sensory abilities. Check to see:
- Has the color changed?
- Is the texture different?
- Does it smell bad?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it’s time to part ways. At the end of the day, use your best judgment so you don’t end up having a reaction or irritating your skin.
Come Spring, the weather is changing from cold and dry to hot and humid so prep yourself for the change in advance. Pull out the big guns - normal cleansers, gel moisturizers, your favorite exfoliant, SPF, etc. - and prepare to see big results! Stay committed to see results and achieve your goals. On the off chance that after exhausting all of our advice, you still find yourself struggling with breakouts or acne scarring, it may be time to consult a professional to address these concerns. But, here’s to hoping it doesn’t come to that! Good luck!