Thick moisturizers and hydrating cream cleansers will get you through the cold months, but what should your spring skin care routine look like? It's true—your skin care regimen should change with the seasons. After months of cold or freezing temperatures and dry air, your skin is ready for a change of pace.

You may look forward to the warmer temperatures and longer days that come with the spring season, and it's also a time of renewal. So when you're getting ready for some spring cleaning and tucking away your winter wardrobe, take a moment to update your spring skin care routine.

How Do Seasonal Shifts Affect Your Skin?

Spring isn't always a breeze for your skin. Increased humidity, temperatures, and sunshine can all benefit you in some ways, but the weather can be unpredictable. One day, you're outside in a T-shirt; the next day, it snows. How can you best support your skin during this shift? When creating your spring skin care routine, consider these seasonal skin challenges.

The spring months mark an important time for sun protection.

Skin Barrier Damage

Dry environments, pollution, and sun exposure are some of the factors that contribute to skin barrier damage—and the winter exposes your skin to all of them. When the skin barrier can't do its job properly (that is, maintain hydrated skin and keep external invaders out), your skin is more prone to dryness, irritation, and redness. When spring rolls around, it's time to address any post-winter skin damage.

Clogged Pores and Acne

Your skin may experience some relief from dryness and sensitivity as humidity and temperatures rise, but you might begin to sweat more. This can lead to concerns like clogged pores, oily skin, and breakouts. If you've only been washing your face once a day during winter, you might need to ramp up to twice a day or more, especially after working out or sweating excessively. Use a gentle cleanser to avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils, which can leave your skin feeling dry and tight.

Sun Damage

After a long, cold winter, nothing feels better than soaking up some sun. But sudden increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays comes with risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, polymorphous light eruption is a rash that occurs when you abruptly increase your sun exposure—and it usually happens in the spring and early summer. Stay protected from the sun's UV rays by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, especially during peak hours.

Tips to Transition from Winter to Spring Skin Care

Your skin care routine likely follows the same steps through every season: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen. And while you don't need to reinvent the wheel, you may want to adjust the products you use. These four tips will make your transition from winter to spring skin care a breeze.

1. Cleanse Away Excess Oils

People tend to sweat more in warmer weather. And with excessive sweating, your skin produces more sebum, leading to greasy-looking skin and breakouts. Freshen up with an oil cleanser like EltaMD Oil-In-Gel Cleanser. This double-cleansing formula uses Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Vitamin E to preserve the skin barrier while eliminating impurities and melting away sweat, long-wear makeup, and water-resistant sunscreen. Follow up with EltaMD Skin Recovery Essence Toner, which digs deep to detox, smooth fine lines, and boost luminosity.

2. Introduce an Exfoliator

Frosty weather can leave your skin feeling dry and flaky, but exfoliating can help restore your skin's radiance just in time for spring. Opt for a gentle exfoliator one to two times a week to buff away dead skin cells and smooth out your complexion. Physical exfoliators are satisfying and yield instant results, but chemical exfoliants like Lactic Acid tend to be gentler on the skin and offer anti-aging benefits.

3. Use a Water-Based Serum

"Moisturized skin" and "hydrated skin" are often used interchangeably, but they're not the same. Moisture refers to oils, whereas hydration refers to water. Because skin tends to naturally produce more oils in warmer spring weather, this is a great time to shift your focus to hydration with a water-based serum containing Hyaluronic Acid. This will help keep your skin supple and restore and protect your skin barrier.

4. Switch to a Lightweight Moisturizer

Your skin naturally retains more moisture in the spring—thanks, humidity! Still, this doesn't mean you should skip the moisturizer entirely. Try a lighter formula like EltaMD Skin Recovery Light Moisturizer. This product feels weightless on your skin, but with ingredients like Squalane, it's hydrating enough to nurture dehydrated skin. It also protects against future moisture loss, which accelerates signs of aging.

5. Commit to Sun Protection

While UV rays are a threat year-round, the UV index is highest in the spring and summer. Therefore, this is the time to get serious about your daily sunscreen ritual if you haven't already. EltaMD UV Sheer Broad-Spectrum SPF 50+ is perfect for everyday wear in the spring. It's lightweight and airy, offers up to 80 minutes of sweat and water resistance, and helps even out skin tone and protect from free radical damage.

Spring into Your Spring Skin Care Routine

With a spring shift, your skin care routine will be fresh and fun again—a reflection of your mood as you wave goodbye to winter and say hello to warmer days ahead. Remember: If you have any questions or concerns about your skin health, make an appointment with a board-certified Dermatologist. These professionals are here to help keep you and your skin healthy and glowing all year long.


  • Lacey Muinos

    Lacey is a Southern California-based freelance writer who combines her passions—fitness, health, and a vegan lifestyle—with her work to help readers feel and be their best. Her work has been featured in Healthline, Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Eat This Not That, KinderBeauty, and more.