As the seasons change, so should our skincare routines.
But while we're anxiously awaiting the sun-soaked days of spring, our parched, dull skin is still singing the winter blues.
READ: Winter Skin Secrets
“The winter months are notorious for drying out one’s skin as the outside air is often dry with little moisture,” says Dr. Susan Stuart, a fellow certified by the American Academy of Dermatology. “Even when we escape inside during those cold months, the heated air is also quite dry as well, adding to the problem."
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Fortunately, you don’t need to empty out your wallet for a professional facial to achieve a gorgeous glow in time for the warmer days ahead. Simply toss aside those heavy moisturizers that once combated brisk winds and get ready for a skincare makeover.
It may seem like a no-brainer to rinse your cleanse your face daily, but you’d be surprised how many people either skip this step altogether or inadvertently select the wrong products skin irritated by the winter cold.
“It is important to wash your face in the morning because while you are sleeping, the skin is in repair mode and will secrete toxins and sebum, which can prevent your daytime products from working effectively,” says Dr. Stuart.
Remember, not all cleansers are created equal. Products with alcohol can strip your face of its natural oils, resulting in redness for already parched, winburned skin. Opt for a gentle cleanser, instead.
Unveiling brighter skin from underneath layers of dead cells and oil helps achieve a softer, more youthful complexion. Shizuka Bernstein, a New York City-based aesthetician offers the following guide to eliminating dry, dead skin from the harsh winter:
- Cleanse your skin twice with your cleanser and lukewarm water.
- Apply a hot towel on your face and leave it on for a while to open the pores and soften the skin. Repeat the same action with another hot towel.
- If you have a good enzyme based exfoliator at home, use that. If not, mix lemon juice, honey and rosehip seed powder. Apply the mix to your face and massage gently for three to five minutes.
- Rinse off it lukewarm water.
- Moisturize your skin with your own moisturizer and eye cream.
As a general rule, it is advised that exfoliation be done no more than one to two times a week as over-scrubbing can scratch and irritate delicate features. Terese Linke, Amala Beauty's global education and spa training director, also recommends focusing on the areas of our bodies that can covered up by scarves and sweaters during the winter months.
“Spring is the time for gentle exfoliation to the neck as well, to sloth away dullness and reveal a fresher, more youthful neck and décolletage," she says.
Just because the temperature is warmer and the air’s crisper, it doesn’t mean you should toss aside the moisturizer. You don’t need the heavy creams of winter’s past to keep your skin silky smooth, but to prevent dryness and stay baby soft, moisturizing is essential. But for spring, the key is lightening up. “As the weather warms up we need to lighten up our moisturizers,” says Linke. “When you switch to a lighter, all natural moisturizer without the pore clogging synthetic oils, your skin will feel lighter, yet still hydrated and protected." Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Gross also recommends applying a lighter moisturizer after washing your face to adequately hydrate it. “Your basic routine should still remain the same, but a lot of my patients use a heavy duty moisturizer in the winter, and then switch over to an oil-free or lightweight lotion in the summer,” he explains. "It is hotter and there is more of a tendency to perspire.”
It might be tempting to bask in the glow of the sun come springtime, but it's crucial to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays.
“For spring protection from the intensifying sun, patients will need to up their antioxidants and sun protection,” says Monica Scheel,M.D., a faculty member for the University of Minnesota Medical School who assists in teaching integrative medicine.
“The top products I advise are Vitamin C serum and SPF 30+ sunscreen every morning and Vitamin A followed by a moisturizer every night. I also recommend not only using an SPF 30 sunblock, but one with greater than 10 percent zinc oxide.”
When taking warm showers in moderation, the released steam could actually be useful in creating an at-home spa experience, all while eliminating a tired, haggard look for a more naturally glowy complextion. New York City facialist Elena Rubin also recommends taking advantage of the steamer or sauna at your gym. “The steam will open up your pores, pushing out that stagnant oil that’s been building up during the winter months,” says Rubin. “This will also encourage new skin growth because it will make it easier to exfoliate all the flakiness from colder temperatures.” For those who experience too much shine during the summer and peeling from drying in the winter could, according to Rubin, benefit from occasional steam. “That’s why it’s so important to clear the pores out to make way for the increased oil production of spring.” However, Rubin advises to avoid-oversteaming to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oil. Also, never put your face near steaming water or any hot object to prevent burns and bruising.