Even though spring is almost here, the effects of this year’s winter–dry, indoor heat, harsh outdoor temperatures, extra blue light exposure from all the Zooming–may still be wreaking havoc on your skin. I recently appeared on Good Morning Washington and spoke to anchor, Stacey Rusch, about how I (along with many other skincare experts) am approaching this year’s transition to springtime skincare differently.
Watch my “Spruce Up Your Skincare Routine for Spring” segment on Good Morning Washington below:
With spring just around the corner, what should people be doing differently with their skincare routine?
Normally, spring is associated with shedding of the old layers and making room for rebirth and growth. With spring skincare, many people think that means that it’s time for exfoliation treatments, that slough off the layers of dry, dead skin cells accumulated from winter. While it can be tempting to give yourself a good scrub, or book an exfoliation treatment at the spa, I actually recommend using caution with exfoliation this time of year–either skipping it completely, or doing it without harsh abrasives or acids.
The main reason why is that springtime is still a transitional time, with sharp changes in temperature, humidity, and pressure. This makes people more susceptible to allergies and irritation in the spring. Plus this year, we have the added stresses of the pandemic with more exposure to blue light from screens, erratic work and sleep schedules, mask wearing, and challenges with staying physically active.
Those “dead” cells on the surface (called corneocytes) are there for a reason. The deeper layers of the epidermis contain a wide variety of cells and structures that play key roles in our immune and wound healing functions, and inflammatory process. Our delicate melanocytes (the cells that produce our melanin pigment) also live in the epidermis, in the deepest layer (called the stratum basale).
Corneocytes on the surface serve as protection for these cells underneath. Removing them too harshly or too soon can damage those precious cells underneath, leading to issues in barrier function, immune function, and hyperpigmentation. It can also make the skin more susceptible to irritation and inflammation, which can lead to more redness, flare-ups, and breakouts than normal.
What changes have I personally made to my spring skincare regimen?
I have found that nowadays my skin is really craving simplicity. I used to have quite a lot of steps in my morning and nighttime skincare routines. Now I find that my skin no longer feels good from too many layers of product on my skin–it started to feel like I was wearing a mask, even when I took my actual fabric mask off.
So now I only use two to three products in my morning and evening routines. In the morning I cleanse my face with a blend of herbal teas and hydrosols, which are distilled flower waters that carry many of the benefits of essential oils, but diluted. Then, I apply an all natural herbal cream that has both hydrating ingredients like rose hydrosol and aloe vera, and protective oils like sweet almond oil and lanolin. It doesn’t contain any extra extracts, because I found that those are irritating my skin this time of year too!
Some of my favorite DIY secrets to healthier skin during stressful times:
I highly recommend making your own tea and hydrosol blend using herbs that are naturally uplifting and calming such as rose, lavender, chamomile, and holy basil. You can steep the leaves and petals boiling water, covered for 20 minutes, and then let that cool and either spray it on or apply it with cotton pads. Or you can use the hydrosols, which are easily available online.
If you find that you DO want to exfoliate, I recommend using the honey tapping method. All you need is raw honey, warm water, and a soft cloth. Raw honey is packed with nutrients that benefit the skin, it’s extremely hydrating, and it also contains natural enzymes that gently exfoliate off only the dead cells that are about to fall off anyway, and there’s no friction.
Wash your face first (you can use the tea blend or water), pat it dry, and apply a thick layer of raw honey to the face and neck. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes, and then gently use your fingertips to tap all over your face and neck.
The honey will be tacky, and that will help with deeper cleansing and light exfoliation, but without the irritation. After tapping, gently remove the honey with warm water and a soft towel. Tone with the tea blend, and then moisturize. This can be done one to two times a week.
Do you need help putting together your own spring skincare routine?
Or would you like advice for your spring skincare product line, or topics for your spring content marketing calendar? Come to my next complimentary Herbal Skincare Tea Time Q&A call, Friday at 2pm ET, and I’ll answer your questions personally!