We finally crossed into Astronomical spring on the 20th of March. Astronomy is one of those interests that surprises people when I say I find it very fascinating. “You Cheryl?” Well, I drowned myself in some research on that day because I needed to understand what was going on. Vernal equinox, meaning equal night – signified by the moment in the year when the sun is exactly above the Equator and day and night are of equal length. The equinox happens two times in the year. But it was interesting to know that the vernal equinox is just a specific moment. For me that was at 17:15 on that day; which by the way I was too busy to focus on. And of course the earth went on rotating.

With more articles came posts about skincare changes in spring. A lot of them insidiously advertising products. So I decided to continue on that path; finding skin care habits that will improve the health of our skin.  I will  also include some tips that have worked for me and I have stuck with through the years.

Spring skincare habits for glowing, rejuvenated skin

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin. During the winter, our skin is exposed to harsh conditions such as strong wind and subzero temperatures. These harsh weather conditions can lead to skin conditions such as dry skin, frostbite, irritation and inflammation. Exfoliating allows us to absorb moisturizers and any topical treatments better.

However it is important to know the best method that is suitable for your skin type – Mechanical or chemical exfoliation.  According to American Academy of Dermatology, those with dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer just a washcloth and a mild chemical exfoliant, as mechanical exfoliation may be too irritating for this skin type. Those with oily, thicker skin may want to use stronger chemical treatments or mechanical exfoliation. However, avoid strong chemical or mechanical exfoliation. It is important to see how your skin reacts to exfoliation and listen to your body. When using a brush, remember to be gentle on your skin.

Stay ahead of your allergies

With the beautiful spring days comes allergies. This may cause a lot of inflammation to our skin and a decline in our general health. Seasonal allergies are so annoying and can get pretty expensive so it is way better to prevent them this spring.

  • Spritzing saline rinses into your nostril are a nice way to rinse out pollen from your nose and prevent your body from reacting to this allergen. Also wash your clothing on a weekly basis.
  • We need to remember that these allergens also attach to our clothing while we are out.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, which throws less dirt and fewer dust mites back into the room as you vacuum.
  • Invest in sunglasses and a hat. This will help stop pollen from blowing into your eyes and causing itchiness and redness. If you take part in outdoor sports, you may want to save that for the evenings.  Many trees release their pollen at first light, and ragweed pollen tends to fly most thickly at midday—so stick to evening strolls and runs.
  • Hay fever symptoms, such as runny nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing typically, are at their worst in the morning. What helps for most people is taking medication at bedtime to relief symptoms in the morning.

Protection against Ultraviolet rays

  • Use sunscreen. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF)  number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which are the main cause of sunburn. The higher the SPF, the more protection you get against UVB rays. SPF 30 means for every 30 mins of exposure to the sun, you get only 1 minute of UVB exposure. So for every 1 hour, you are exposed for only 2 minutes. It is also important to apply these creams properly to get actual protection. This shields your skin from these harsh rays not just now, but long term against cancers. Sunscreens with SPF less than 15 protect only against sunburn but not cancer.
  • Wear clothing to prevent your exposure to the sun. Dark clothing generally protects more than light colored clothing.
  • Finally, avoid using tanning beds and sun lamps. If you want a tan, a good option is to use a sunless tanning lotion. These give a darker look without the risk of skin cancers such as melanoma.

Dealing with Dry Skin – Hydrate

  • One major reason for dry skin is dehydration. Make it a habit to have a bottle of water with you around the house and even when you are out. This leaves you feeling refreshed and revitalizes your skin.
  • Avoid cleansing products with alcohol because they also dry out your skin.
  • Avoid prolonged contact with hot water or chlorinated water. With the weather being a little warmer, consider taking warm/cold baths or showers. Also remember to moisturize immediately after a bath or shower.
  • If you are one who suffers from very dry or cracked skin under your feet, consider applying a petroleum jelly and/or wear a pair of socks to sleep. This keeps your skin moist and allows the damaged skin to heal effectively. Petroleum Jelly is one of the best moisturizers you can use; particularly on the very roughest, toughest areas of skin, such as heels, elbows, and knees.

Important Nutrition

You should be mindful of your food choices; after all beauty comes from within. Foods rich in Vitamin A, C and E are known to have a positive effect on our skin.

  • Vitamin C is used in many cosmetic products, for example in lightening of skin depigmentation, anti-aging and sun protection formulations. The idea of sun protecting products is to have a combination product between a “passive” protection with a UV filter and an “active” protection with the antioxidant. Vitamin C is found in red bell peppers, citrus fruits, papayas, kiwis, broccoli, greens.
  • Vitamin E is described to reduce skin redness, sunburned cells, chronic UVB-induced skin damage and cancerous activity caused by exposure to sunlight. Almonds, sweet potato, avocado are rich in Vitamin E.
  • Vitamin A is a retinoid, which is common in over the counters treatments for acne and other skin conditions. It can help reduce wrinkles and dark spots. Vitamin A is found in foods such as beef liver, carrots, kale.

Clean off Make-up at night

Many ladies will understand the struggle of taking off their makeup at night. We sometimes leave it all through the night and wash it off in the morning. It is often said it allows your skin to “breathe”. But our skin does not breathe; our lungs do that. Sleeping in your makeup is one of the worst decisions with regards to the health of your skin. This is because Foundations and thick, oil-based primers clog your pores and causes it to get inflamed (swollen) thereby attracting bacteria; this may lead to acne formation. Also, our skin regenerates the most at night. Having makeup all through the night prevents this process from happening and will lead to premature aging. A shocking experiment showed the effect of leaving makeup through the night for one month.

  • If you struggle with taking off your makeup at night, face wipes may be an easy option. It may not get all the make-up off but it is way better than doing nothing at all.

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