Dr. Lista answers your FAQs on “Transitioning Your Skin from Winter to Spring”.
1. How does winter cold affect the skin on our face and body?
Winter’s cold, dry air strips the skin of much needed moisture, causing dehydration that can result in flaking, cracking and redness. As the skin becomes chapped and cracked, water is allowed to escape from underlying layers, and any remaining moisture in the environment or applied topically has difficulty penetrating the skin. What’s more is that irritating substances and germs can penetrate through the cracks in the skin’s surface, aggravating the healthy cells below. Without proper care in skin health and lifestyle, the winter weather can lead to a vicious cycle of progressively dryer, chapped, aggravated skin.
2. How should we switch up our facial skincare regimen as we head into spring?
As the days get longer and warmer and humidity levels rise, you’ll want to switch to a lighter moisturizer and a stronger exfoliator. If you haven’t been exfoliating regularly during the winter months (I recommend an at home exfoliation treatment at least once or twice a week during the winter), now is definitely the time to do so. Exfoliation will slough off the flaky, dull top layer of the skin and reveal the healthy, living cells underneath. Make sure that you are wearing an SPF or at least 30, which I recommend all year round, but which is particularly important, come the Spring.
3. Any specific ingredients to look for, or to avoid, when switching up our skincare routines?
Look for products containing skin renewing and repairing ingredients like Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Green Tea Extract. AHAs exfoliate the skin and help to increase cell turnover, diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Using an exfoliating scrub containing fruit enzymes alongside your AHA based gel or cream works particularly well in renewing the skin’s surface. Following your exfoliation treatment with a serum or light moisturizer containing non-pore clogging oil and botanical extracts such as Lavender and Green Tea will provide the nourishment and assistance it needs to adjust to the change in seasons.
4. What causes facial skin to look dull after winter, and how can we combat post-winter dullness?
Low humidity levels and electric heating cause the skin to dry, and in drying, the skin’s outer layer begins to shrink, causing cracking and flaking. The “dullness” we perceive is actually a combination of 1) dead skin cells accumulating on the surface, 2) a lack of healthy oil levels and moisture in the skin and 3) a slow rate of cell turnover. We can combat this dullness by exfoliating the skin, encouraging cell turnover, and by nourishing it through moisturization. Exfoliate daily using a toner or solution, followed by an Alpha Hydroxy Acid based gel or cream, and a serum or moisturizer that contains vitamins, botanicals and essential oil extracts. Conduct an at-home exfoliation treatment using a fruit enzyme based scrub, followed by a soothing clay based mask. Finally, schedule regular in-clinic glycolic or lactic acid peel treatments. In following these steps, you will slough off dead skin cells, promote cell turnover and allow your moisturizer to penetrate the skin – achieving that sought after glowing, radiant, healthy look.