It’s never too late (or too early) for a little spring cleaning. If you’re already pulling a Marie Kondo and cleansing your life of items that don’t bring you joy, why not do the same for your skincare routine?
The temperature change on its own is a good excuse to declutter - something you should consider doing since most skincare products have expiration dates. Exposure to light, air, and bacteria break the ingredients down. Not even sealed packages last forever, since they can still be affected by heat and humidity.
So how long do most skincare products last? Moisturizers, sunscreens, eye creams, and anti-aging creams last up to a year. If you have old products, ditch those first to make room for the ones you’ll need during warm weather months.
If you’re over the age of 50, here’s your definitive list of what to toss and what to keep as you declutter your skincare routine.
3 Skincare Products to Ditch
1. Anything with a long list of synthetic ingredients
Synthetic ingredients aren’t just hard to pronounce, they can be genuinely harmful to your health. Check out the ingredients of your existing moisturizers and lotions. If they have any of these ingredients, it’s time to toss ‘em. (And read this comprehensive list of synthetic skincare ingredients here.) Below three ingredients are a definite throw away:
- Polyethylene. These are the tiny beads you’ll find in exfoliating face washes and body scrubs. Not only is it terrible for the environment (our water filtration systems can’t remove these, and they get eaten by fish and marine animals), polyethylene is considered a human carcinogen and is a known skin irritant.
- Fragrance. Synthetic fragrances seem to be in just about everything. Since they’re hormone disruptors and one of the top allergens, it’s best to ditch any products you have that contain fragrances.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate. You’ll find this common ingredient in a number of skincare products, from face washes to foundation. It can easily irritate sensitive skin and is widely believed to contribute to cystic acne.
2. Heavy moisturizers
If you’re prone to dry skin, you may want to keep a heavier cream-based moisturizer on hand just in case. But for many people, a light, water-based moisturizer will do the trick during the warmer months, when heavier creams are more likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. If you’re on the hunt for a lighter moisturizer for your face, be sure to choose one with SPF for those longer, sun-filled days. A BB cream can do double-duty for those who want the coverage of a foundation and the benefits of a moisturizer. And yes, you do still need a moisturizer in the spring and summer. Pick one with hyaluronic acid, which has the added benefits of keeping your skin looking young and maintaining moisture throughout the day.
3. Moisturizers with fragrances or dyes
We mentioned this above, but it bears repeating: moisturizers containing artificial fragrances or dyes can be incredibly irritating, and even potentially trigger an allergy you didn’t know you had. One example of this is vulva irritation that can be caused by moisturizers with long lists of ingredients, including fragrances and dyes. What many women don’t know is that skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can also occur… down there. Some women don’t even realize they have these conditions until they’re triggered by a newly purchased lotion or body wash. That’s why it’s so important to check the ingredients on any skincare products that you buy.
3 Skincare Products to Add
1. Lighter, water-based moisturizers
Why water-based? Aside from simply feeling great by letting your skin breath a bit after the harsh winter months, water-based moisturizers have a knack for gently locking in moisture by creating a protective barrier for your skin. As a bonus, they won’t clog pores and cause breakouts as some oil-based moisturizers can. Think about it: when you’re thirsty, your best bet is to reach for water, right? That’s how it works for your skin, too.
Look for water-based moisturizers with hyaluronic acid for extra skin-plumping goodness. Vitamin C is another key ingredient in moisturizers, especially for your face. It’s a powerful antioxidant that can help fade age spots and plays a role in your skin’s regeneration process.
You’ve heard this before, but we’ll say it again: You need to wear sunscreen. Every. Single. Day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to prevent early skin aging and skin cancer. Look for face and body moisturizers that contain SPF - these can do double duty, as they help lock in moisture and provide serious skin protection.
3. Vaginal moisturizer
It’s no secret that menopause can wreak havoc on your skin. The decrease in estrogen can leave your entire body feeling dry since estrogen typically stimulates the collagen and oils you need to maintain moisture. And yes, this includes the skin on your vulva or all of the skin on the outer part of your vagina. So what can you do about it?
Look for a water-based, vaginal moisturizer with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. (Noticing a pattern here?) You should note that a vaginal moisturizer is not the same thing as a lubricant - those are intended for sexual activity only. A vaginal moisturizer, on the other hand, should be used as often as necessary to relieve vulva irritation. If you’re new to vaginal moisturizers, spring is the perfect time to invest in a great one.
Find the right skincare for you, no matter the season
Your skincare needs evolve not only with the seasons, but as you age as well. It’s important to check in with yourself and note any changes in dryness or irritations you experience over the years. To learn more about how menopause affects your skin, read our post: 7 Myths About Menopause and Skincare.