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Spring Cleaning For Your Medicine Cabinet: Skincare and Sunscreen


Spring is a great time for ‘cleaning house’, literally and figuratively, and as a dermatologist, I like to recommend that patients use this opportunity to freshen up their medicine cabinet. Not only is the transitional season the perfect time to swap out skincare so that you are ready for warmer weather, but it’s also a good time to make sure you have fresh product, and plenty of sunscreen to last throughout the summer. Here are three things we recommend you tackle this season*:

1. Dispose Of Expired Products

It’s an easy thing to forget, but it’s important that you scrutinize all of your products’ expiration dates, especially if they have been lingering from past seasons. Not only does expired product tend to be less effective but it could also cause irritation or a bacterial infection. Pay special attention to anything with sensitive, active ingredients (vitamin C, retinol, acne products), eye products (which tend to have the shortest shelf life) and anything that comes in a jar (which should probably be deposed of every 6-9months, as they are more prone to bacteria). Sunscreens tend to last longer (in some cases up to three years) while maintaining their efficacy, but we recommend that you be vigilant about not using sunscreens that are past their expiration date.

2. Swap Out Your Winter Skincare

Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere, the weather is getting warmer and more humid. While everything is dependent on your environment, your age and skin type, there are some basic principals you can follow. Summertime tends to be an opportunity to replace heavier, moisture-rich products with lighter hydrating serums and cleansing creams with foaming formulas (as you are more prone to blemishes and breakouts). What’s the one consistent skincare recommendation? Always wear sunscreen.

3. Speaking Of Sunscreen…

While you’ve already been wearing sunscreen all winter (you have, right?), the summer is the critical time for making sure that sunscreen is readily available (and not expired) as sun intensity increases, and you are likely to be spending more time outdoors. In order to never be caught out without sunscreen, I often recommend that patients keep a broad-spectrum sunscreen everywhere they might need it on the go: the office, the car, in their travel carry-on, purse or beach bag. Always remember to follow the directions for use, reapply frequently and if you’re having trouble choosing the level of SPF, I tend to recommend that higher is better (and don’t use anything below SPF 30!).

*Be reminded that this advice should never replace a medical consultation with your physician.

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