A woman with healthy skin smelling a springtime flower

Transitioning Your Skincare from Winter to Spring

Spring has sprung: time to swap out winter’s ultra-rich, soothing skincare. To smooth the way, we’ve formulated a plan based on the skincare philosophy of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper). Here are her top recommendations for transitioning your skincare from winter to spring.


3 minute read

With signs of springtime all around, it’s time to start swapping winter’s ultra-rich creams and dry-skin soothers for warmer-weather products. To help make the move easier, we’ve formulated a plan based on the cleanse, treat, moisturize philosophy of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper). Here are her top recommendations for transitioning your skincare from winter to spring.


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What happens to our skin in springtime?

Our skin is incredibly adaptable: as the seasons transition, our skin changes as well, allocating resources and shifting priorities to maintain optimal function. Warmer temperatures and increased sun exposure mean your skin needs to increase its ability to keep you cool and protect itself from environmental damage.

It’s worth noting that weather can change much more rapidly than our skin can adapt — which explains why your skin can seem a bit finicky as seasons shift. These functional changes can include:

  • Releasing water
  • Boosting sebum production
  • Using more antioxidants
  • Increasing melanin production

Dr. Sandra Lee’s tips for spring skincare

Here, we break down by skin type and concern Dr. Lee’s SLMD Skincare suggestions for rebooting your routine when the weather warms.

Cleanse + Tone

If you’ve been using a moisturizing cream cleanser to protect your skin from winter dryness, now’s the time to update to something more refreshing. Adding beta hydroxy acid will help prevent pores from clogging as sebum production amps back up.

If you’re looking to boost radiance, try adding a cleanser with brightening enzymes and antioxidants. Adding in a balancing toner will help restore skin’s pH and bolster the skin barrier.


Oily/Acne Prone



    Sticking with your acne routine year-round is important if you’re prone to breakouts — but you may need to step up your masking and spot treatment game come spring. Pay attention to your skin and go slow: over-treating can stress your skin and actually provoke acne flares.

    If you’re trying to ward off premature aging, now’s the time to add antioxidants and ingredients to help ward off damage from UV rays.


    Oily/Acne Prone



    When you start noticing that your skin is producing more natural oils, it can be tempting to eliminate the moisturizing step altogether. But according to Dr. Lee, that’s a common mistake: rather than not using moisturizer at all, it’s best to make sure yours is formulated to work with all skin types, including oily/acne prone. This is because moisture loss (including a process known as transepidermal water loss, or TEWL) happens to all skin types.

    Skin that’s properly moisturized is better balanced, which helps keep your skin barrier functioning optimally. Make sure you’re also using a sunscreen that’s non comedogenic (read: it won’t clog pores) every day, even if spring showers are in the forecast.


    Oily/Acne Prone


    Dr Sandra Lee

    Dr. Lee's Last Word

    I’m a big believer in keeping skincare as simple as possible: combining a few effective ingredients that I use in my dermatology practice, tailored to your skin type. As we move from winter to spring, you want to think about exchanging some of your intensive moisturizing products for more lightweight ones, and incorporating exfoliants and antioxidants into your daily routine. And don’t forget you need sunscreen that’s at least an SPF 15 every day!


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