A change in season may call for a change in your skin care routine.

After what seems like forever, spring is finally in the air. Not only does that mean flowers (if you’re lucky) and allergies (if you’re less lucky), but the new season can also affect your skin.

In the winter, your skin care routine may be all about moisturizing — and that’s it. With the onset of spring, it may be worth rethinking your routine to get brighter, healthier skin.

First, step up your exfoliation. In the winter, when your skin is dry and flaky, exfoliating can cause irritation. But in the spring, it’s fair game and can help your skin glow.

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“Spring is a time when you want to remove dead skin cells so you can have rejuvenated skin at the surface,” explained Binh T. Ngo, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Chemical peels can also combine different brightening agents that lighten brown spots and age spots.”

One approach is to try a formula that uses a chemical exfoliant, like glycolic acid. If you have sensitive skin, it might be best to start with lactic acid instead, which tends to be gentler.

Depending on your skin type, you may also want to lighten up your hydration from rich moisturizer or oil to an oil-free formula or gel. The heavy ingredients that reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier during the winter — when your skin tends to be driest — may be unnecessary during the other seasons. Unless you have chronically dry skin year-round, using heavy skin care products during spring could bring on breakouts and greasiness.

As you’re likely to spend more time outdoors during spring, it’s also vital to step up your sun protection with sunscreen. A tinted moisturizer or foundation formula that has a sun protection factor (SPF) rating doesn’t count. “A lot of makeup foundation has SPF 15 in it, which is not very efficient,” said Dr. Ngo, who recommends a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Even if your cosmetics collection includes SPF 30 products, you may want to consider the fact that you’re unlikely to apply the same amount of foundation as sunscreen (since it would become heavy and caked). This is one more reason that makeup is no substitute for sunscreen when it comes to skin protection.

Sunscreen is also essential no matter the weather report, so don’t forget to apply it during those April showers. Cloud coverage doesn’t only fail to prevent sunrays from reaching your skin, but it can actually multiply them. “UV rays can even reflect off clouds’ edges, intensifying the level of UV radiation reaching you,” explained Dr. Ngo, who is also a dermatologist at Keck Medicine of USC.

Because the air isn’t as dry or weather as harsh as during winter months, spring can be easier on your skin. And with these changes to your skin care routine, you can make the most of the season.

By Deanna Pai

If you’re in Southern California, make an appointment with one of our dermatologists. To schedule an appointment, call (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit dermatology.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment.