The dry, freezing days of winter are almost over. But that doesn’t mean you can put your skin care routine to bed. Milder temperatures may be more enjoyable, but your skin still needs protection and moisture to keep it looking and feeling its best. A portion of skin aging is due to external factors, so it’s up to you to maintain a decent skin care routine all year round to protect your face from the sun, wind and other environmental factors.
You might think that using a facial scrub or exfoliating cleanser is the best way to remove dry, dead skin after the long winter. However, most scrubs are way too harsh for the delicate skin on your face. Avoid scrubs that contain rough apricot pits or any other mechanical exfoliant, as these can actually damage your facial skin by tearing it.
Instead, it’s a good idea to look for a creamy cleanser that contains a hydroxy acid. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin by gently, removing dead skin cells and encouraging turnover. The hydroxy acids also help reduce the look of fine wrinkles, improve acne and ease discoloration. Plus, they are gentle enough for people with sensitive skin to use safely. If you are unsure of the best cleanser to use or how your skin will react, Dr. Kulak at The Naderi Center in Virginia can answer your questions.
The way you wash your face makes a difference, too. Simply patting the cleanser on the skin then rinsing away isn’t sufficient. Instead, apply the cleanser using a circular motion, gently working it into the skin. You can also use a sponge or cleansing cloth to help exfoliate the skin.
While spring means the end of central heating and dry air, that doesn’t mean you can skimp on the moisturizer, especially on your face. As your skin gets older, it produces less and less hyaluronic acid, a substance partly responsible for keeping skin soft and moist and for reducing the look of wrinkles.
The key to moisturizing the skin is to think light. You don’t want a heavy cream moisturizer. Something lotiony and light that contains hyaluronic acid or a hydroxy acid should be sufficient.
Be careful if you use a product that contains retinol, whether it is prescription-strength or over-the-counter. Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to the effects of the sun, which is out more and more in the spring. If you continue to use a retinol-based lotion in the spring, apply it at night.
Consider a Peel
One way to freshen up your skin for spring it to undergo a chemical peel. A chemical peel helps remove the top layer of skin and encourages cell turnover so that you have a brighter and fresher complexion for the new season. The type of peel you receive depends on the condition of your skin and how much time you can spend off of your feet.
A light or mild peel might be sufficient if you just want to ease areas of dryness on your face or reduce the look of pores. A deep chemical peel may be needed if you’ve neglected your skin and have considerable lines and wrinkles or scarring from acne. While you can get back to your daily life almost right away after a light peel, a deep peel requires some recovery time.
Ideally, you wore sunscreen throughout the winter, even on days when it was snowing or cloudy. Sunscreen is a must as spring gets underway. The sun’s UVA rays are the environmental factor that causes the most damage to your skin. As the temperature warms up and you start to spend more and more time outdoors, pick a waterproof sunscreen that’s lightweight, so that doesn’t feel heavy on your skin. Always go for a sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF.
Dr.Jessica Kulak is an aging face specialist at the Naderi Center located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and Reston, Virginia. If you want to minimize the signs of aging on your face, she can discuss your options with you, from minimally invasive procedures such as a chemical peel, to surgical treatments such as a facelift. To schedule a consultation and help get your skin ready for spring, call her office at (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland.