Preparing Your Skin for Spring

The story goes that if world-famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. At the beginning of the month, there was no shadow in sight, and Phil says we can look forward to an early spring. That means it’s almost time to store the sweaters, pull out the beach towels, and put the top down. But what are you doing to get your skin ready?

According to Dr. Zein Obagi, it takes hard work to get great skin, and preparing it for the changing seasons is no exception.

“Your skin doesn’t automatically adjust itself,” says the Dr. Obagi. “You need to do the initial work and it will respond.”

But you need to do the right work, which is why the first step to transitioning your skin from winter to spring is to amp up on SPF and cut back on moisturizer. The SPF will protect you from the harmful UVB rays your skin will be seeing more of in the months ahead, and less moisturizer will activate your skin cells, the key to Dr. Obagi’s healthy skin philosophy.

“Too much moisture trains the skin to rely on outside sources for hydration instead of producing it from within,” says Dr. Obagi. “In trying to counteract the dryness with a lot of moisturizer, you’re actually perpetuating it.”

Less moisturizer isn’t always received with open arms, but neither was Dr. Obagi’s healthy skin concept 30 years ago. Today, it’s mainstream.

The second step in preparing skin for spring is much easier to swallow. It comes in the form of berries—blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. They’re all in season during the spring months and great for your skin. Each is high in antioxidants, which protect skin cells from the damage that increased sun exposure can cause.

Next up is your cosmetic bag. If not cleaned out regularly, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs that will ultimately transfer to your face. Pay special attention to water-based products, which degrade and become useless after a year at the longest. Mascara has a 3-month life span. Anything without water—powder, eye shadow, etc.—can last up to two years.

Once you’re done trashing the expired products, thoroughly clean your brushes. Wash them with shampoo until the water in the sink drain runs clear. To make this process easier, keep a brush-cleaning spray like Brush Off handy and clean off your brushes after each use.

The final step for prepping your skin for spring is exfoliation. After months of exposing your skin to heated indoor air, the dead skin cells accumulate at the surface. According to Dr. Obagi, if your skin has seen signs of aging then your skin cells have already slowed down the natural sloughing off process, making your need for exfoliation even more urgent.

Your skin needs epidermal turnover, something ZO Skin Health’s Exfoliating Polish earns praise for. The round magnesium crystals and Vitamins A, C and E in the product put in overtime to banish dead skin cells.

“Collagen gets a boost and cells become active,” says Dr. Obagi of the exfoliation process. “When you put in the work it pays off. The reward is beautiful, healthy skin.”

Now you’re ready for spring!