Nearly every dermatologist we interviewed said the most important thing is to increase your sunscreen usage in the springtime. Jennifer Lee, M.D., of REN Dermatology, explains, "In the winter, we tend not to use sunscreen as often, since we're indoors more. However, now that it's spring and we're spending more time outside and the days are longer and sunnier, it's important to be consistent about using sunscreen by swapping out your regular moisturizer for a tinted one with SPF 30 or higher." She also recommends reapplying it often, as sunscreen wears off after two hours.
Jeannette Graf, M.D., F.A.A.D., says, "Incorporate antioxidants into your skin care. Antioxidants work synergistically with sunscreen to further protect your skin from UV damage."
Dr. Janet Prystowsky, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, reminds us to protect our skin beyond using sunblock. "Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from developing cataracts, but protect your eyelid skin from harmful ultraviolet rays that cause wrinkles and skin cancer," she says. "Large-lens fashionable eyewear is your best choice. Hats can be very funky and cute. They are great for protecting not only your central face, as with a baseball cap, but full-brimmed hats offer fabulous protection to the ears, sides of the face and neck."
In the springtime, it's best to change from a mild cleanser to an exfoliating cleanser. "Choose one that contains salicylic acid or glycolic acid. You can also change from a heavy moisturizer to light lotion or a serum," says Debra Jaliman, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules.
Dr. Lee notes, however, that if your skin is sensitive, it's best to stick with a simple, gentle face wash such as Cetaphil instead of an exfoliating wash, and to avoid scrubs, masks and toners, as they can irritate sensitive skin. She suggests exfoliating once a week unless your skin is oily or you wear a lot of makeup, in which case she recommends using a Clarisonic scrubbing device.
Dr. James Marotta, dual board-certified facial plastic surgeon and skin care expert, says, "Warm weather makes our skin more prone to breakouts, which means we need to take extra care in ensuring our faces are squeaky clean. Adding a step into our routine that removes all makeup before we cleanse (instead of just the makeup on our eyes) will give us a truly clean experience. Bonus if the makeup remover also removes dirt and impurities."
Dr. Marotta also suggests switching to a gel cleanser in the springtime. He says, "The addition of sun and sweat on your face requires a cleanser that's able to cut through such warm weather delights without drying out your skin."
Dr. Lee suggests using retinol as part of your nighttime skin care routine. But Dr. Marie Hardy of Dermatology Associates reminds us that using topical retinoids like retinol or tretinoin (Retin-A) can increase skin's sensitivity, so she advises us to "be extra careful about the sun, and you may need to decrease use during summertime months." She adds, "Try to schedule any rejuvenating procedures you might be considering, such as chemical peels, laser (resurfacing) or microdermabrasion, before the onset of really hot, sunny weather."
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