Spring has nearly sprung, and with it come longer days with more sun exposure. But as we scramble to load up on vitamin D, our skin requires a new set of protocols to deal with the warmer and more humid days.
Just as many of us switch out our cashmere sweaters for crochet cover-ups, the same transition needs to be done with skincare. Global News spoke to the experts to get top tips on getting (and staying) spring-ready.
#1 Slough off your winter skin
Regular exfoliation is recommended to rid skin of dead cells and uncover its natural radiance — and it’s never more necessary than at the end of the winter months.
“We’re usually wrapped in layers of clothing in the winter and our skin doesn’t shed as much — as such, exfoliation is really important as we go into spring,” says dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll, co-owner of Compass Dermatology.
Normal skin types should look for an exfoliant with an enzyme base or jojoba beads, which will be gentle on skin. Oily skin types will benefit from a charcoal exfoliant because it will naturally soak up excess oil, and dry types should opt for something with a moisturizing base, like honey, and a creamy formulation.
Also, since skin cell turnover takes place at night, exfoliating as part of your pre-bedtime routine will make your skin more receptive to topica l treatments like retinol or vitamin C.
#2 Switch up your moisturizer
Winter and its dry winds call for a thick moisturizer to coat and infuse the skin with hydration. But the heat and humidity that spring and summer bring call for a lighter formulation.
Carroll says to use a moisturizer that has the same ingredients as your winter cream — because you know these ingredients work for you and they’re like a base for your skin — but look for a fluid formula that’s lighter. Also, products with chemical properties built in, like alpha or beta hydroxy (which are hydrating, and help with causal effects of the sun like pigmentation and fine lines), will keep skin moisturized without overloading it.
Look for a moisturizer with built-in SPF for sun protection.
“The minimum SPF in a day cream ranges from 15 to 20, but if you’re going to be exposed to the sun for longer periods of time, like at the beach, opt for 30 or 40,” says Alex Weisseneder, senior aesthetician at Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris at Shangri-la Hotel Toronto. “If you find SPF is too oily for your skin and you’re not planning on being in direct sunlight all day, look for a moisturizer with polyphenols in it because they provide a natural SPF.”
Weisseneder also cautions against interchanging facial SPF with one designed for the body.
“You can use a body sunscreen on your face if you’re on the beach since you’ll be applying it more often anyway, but products that are formulated specifically for your face tend to have a higher SPF,” she says. “This not only prevents sunburn, but also wards against future skin and sun damage.”
#3 Speaking of SPF…
Before going into spring and summer, check the expiration dates on your sunscreen, Carroll says.
“Women tend to keep lots of product for an extended period of time,” and since we don’t typically use a separate sunscreen during the winter, it’s easy to hang on to one for far too long without realizing it.
In fact, she says, a spring-cleaning of all your beauty products at the beginning of the season would be a good idea. Look at the bottom of jars, which will usually have a small icon of an open container with a number next to it. That number — typically 6, 12 or 24 — indicates the product’s best before date in months from the time of opening it.
“If something’s been open for three months and you haven’t used it, it’s time to throw it out,” Carroll says.
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#4 Give your body some love
“Knees, elbows and feet take a real beating in the winter and need a little extra TLC,” Carroll says.
She advises applying petroleum jelly to those areas nightly to restore moisture and soften skin. Feet in particular will benefit from a thick layer of product, then wrapped in plastic wrap and topped off with a pair of socks.
“Do that for a week, and it’ll be like you’ve given yourself a mega-pedicure,” she says.
#5 Plan ahead
Carroll always advises patients to look at the change of season as an opportunity to reassess their skin goals. Whether it’s pigmentation, wrinkles or pores, she says to stick to one goal — evening out pigmentation or refining pores — and talk to your skincare professional about setting a plan in motion. It’ll help you remain diligent and prevent you from getting overwhelmed.