Most people I know tend to fall into one of two camps when it comes to their skincare regime. Either, they have to try the latest and greatest, constantly switching to new products and never staying consistent, or they’ve used the same few products forever and they aren’t about to switch. And while both can, and often do, work, the truth is, being a little bit more in touch with what your skin needs from day to day and season-to-season is always going to be a better bet.
What do I mean? Checking in with your visage seasonally, is a great way to evaluate what your skin currently needs—what your current concerns are or what you’ve been noticing in your complexion lately. And living in Canada, a lot of what our skin needs is dependent on the weather and the changing seasons.
As we (officially) move into spring, we spoke to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll and Neostrata national training manager Patricia Clare to walk us through some ways you can spruce up your spring skin-care routine.
Keep reading for how to spring-clean your skincare regime according to a dermatologist:
Why should you switch it up?
First and foremost, living in Canada means that depending on the season, your skin is experiencing different aggressors. The winter tends to be extremely dry which is often the first thing we notice when the temperature dips, whereas in the summer increased oiliness and sun exposure make for a very different response in our skin. Switching up your skin care ensures that you’re meeting your skin’s current needs.
A general rule? “As you step into spring, not only will you want to go lighter in clothing and layers,” says Clare, “you’ll want to lighten the load in your skin care as well.” This means opting for lighter products and ingredients.
How to know when to switch it up
Since weather transitions are hard to predict in Canada (anyone who has trudged through a snowstorm in mid-April knows what I’m talking about), your skin will likely let you know when it’s time to switch up your skin care. When your moisture levels seem to even out, or if you’re noticing more acne flare-ups—these are good indicators that it’s time to reevaluate your skin-care routine.
Three spring skin-care musts:
“When people emerge from winter, they usually have been covered up and haven’t been paying that much attention to the skin on their bodies,” says Dr. Carroll. “Spring is a time when most will notice that their skin hasn’t been exfoliated enough.” Opting for a product that allows you to buff away dead skin cells is the antidote to the nasty dryness that winter brings—and it’s perfect timing for spring when you begin to shed your layers in favour of bare arms and glimpses of ankle.
The same can be true of the skin on your face as well. While sensitivities in the winter—like dry or cracked skin, redness and itchiness—can make you loathe to reach for your alpha hydroxy acids, spring is the time to reincorporate these types of products back into your routine, especially as your skin calms down from any weather-induced sensitivities.
For Dr. Carroll, the two things that will fluctuate the most during Canadian seasonal shifts are hydration levels and sun protection levels. More on the latter in a bit, but the former is easily addressed with a few switches. “Some people find that their skin is a bit more oily in the spring, so they may look for something lighter in texture,” says Dr. Carroll. While hydration year-round is important (hydration helps with plumpness and texture), opting for the right moisturizer is key. “Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance that can hold one thousand times its weight in water,” says Clare. Which means a little goes a long way. It’s a buzzy ingredient that can be found in lightweight essences and serums and so there’s no need to load on the heavy cream in the summer while still getting a necessary dose of water. “It’s extremely moisturizing but its texture is very light,” says Dr. Carroll. “It’s an ingredient that’s very versatile.”
3. Sun Protection
There’s no doubt that you should be wearing sunscreen year-round—yes, even in the winter. But making sure to be consistent about your SPF in the spring is super important if you’re into preventing lines, wrinkles and pigmentation and preserving skin health. Not to mention preventing skin cancer. Dr. Carroll recommends upping your SPF in the spring to 50 (from the recommended 30 in the winter), and paying more attention to how often you reapply. She also recommends adding an anti-oxidant to your morning skin-care routine (think vitamin C), as “it can help to mitigate the damage of sun exposure.”
(Story by Contributing Editor, Alexandra Donaldson)