The 5 Skin-Care Products You Need To Be Using Now

Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
It’s the time of year to tackle spring-cleaning — and not just your house or apartment, but also your cosmetics and skin-care products. The change of seasons is actually an ideal time to reevaluate the skin-care products you're using and incorporate new ones that will give skin the boost it needs as the weather changes. Here, I’ll break down the top items you should invest in this spring to ensure your skin looks its best.

A Lightweight Moisturizer
The heavy creams required during the winter aren’t necessary as the weather warms up. In the spring, the air is less dry so the skin doesn’t need rich emollients as much. Those who still produce a decent amount of oil, in particular, may want to switch to a more lightweight moisturizer.

To figure out if your cream is too heavy for the change of seasons, take this test: Apply your moisturizer and wait five minutes. If after five minutes, you touch the skin and you can still feel the moisturizer, it may mean that it’s too rich for you. Your skin acts like a sponge. It takes in what it needs, and the rest sits on top. Moisturizers that are too heavy can potentially clog pores.
Moisturizer With SPF
While this should be a staple ALL year long, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin. Sun exposure can cause skin cancer and contributes to premature skin aging, so using a moisturizer with sunscreen on your face and neck during the day is imperative to keep skin protected. Now is also a good time to look at the formula you're using. If you have sensitive, easily irritated skin, choose chemical-free formulas containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as they tend to be less reactive. Also, be sure the daily SPF you're wearing protects against UVA and UVB rays. Which SPF number is best? I recommend a minimum of 30, but the real key to successful sun protection is to apply it generously, so be sure to put on a good coat and reapply throughout the day when you're outdoors.

Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Antioxidant Serum
In the spring, you may be spending additional time outdoors, which means exposure to more environmental elements like sun and pollution. Using a serum that contains antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, will help protect the skin while brightening and providing powerful anti-aging results, as well as fading and evening out discoloration. Keep in mind that not all types of vitamin C are compatible with all skin types. If your skin gets easily irritated, look for a serum containing ingredients like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate. Additionally, researchers at Duke University Medical Center determined that using a lotion or serum with vitamins C and E under sunscreen actually provides four times the protection of sunscreen alone.
Chemical Exfoliant
After several months of cold, dry winter air, a buildup of dead cells might have caused your skin to look dull, tired, and sluggish. Spring is about revealing fresher, brighter, and light-reflective skin, and a chemical exfoliant will help get it smooth and soft. Look for products that contain glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids, or enzymes like papaya, pineapple, or pumpkin. By removing dry skin cells, you make way for new, healthy plump skin cells while also lessening clogged pores and ridding skin of dryness and hyperpigmentation. After all, spring is the time to embrace the saying, “Out with the old, and in with the new.”

To give the skin extra, much-needed attention, apply a mask to freshly exfoliated skin. Choose a clay mask if you have clogged pores, a gel mask if you need hydration, and a cream mask for nourishing dry, parched skin. I recommend masks before bedtime. Since they work best when left on for 15 to 20 minutes, consider running a bath and soaking in the tub to calm your mind and prepare for a good night’s rest.

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