Spring Clean Your Skin

#NoFilter face on lock.

It’s RIP to snow days, sweater weather, and full-coverage makeup looks. With spring in full effect, so too, are warmer days, flowy tops, and tinted moisturizers. Spring clean your skin with these tips, and you’ll be flexin’ your complexion all season long.

By Princess Gabbara

Lay Your Foundation

And we don’t mean the cosmetics kind. The foundation for healthy, beautiful skin (especially during your teen years when it seems to react to any and every little thing you slather on your face) is as simple as keeping it clean. “Cleansing removes dirt, oil, pollutants, bacteria, and dead skin cells,” says Dr. DiAnne S. Davis, a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Houston, Texas. “Without a proper cleansing regimen, your skin would never get the benefits of any other products that you apply [to it] because they wouldn’t be able to penetrate the skin properly.” Washing twice per day also helps keep your skin’s pH in check, but make sure you choose a product that caters to your unique needs. If your face is on the oilier side, opt for a foaming cleanser; on the dryer or more sensitive side, cream-based washes work best.

Shed Those Layers

If your shine-factor stays doing the absolute most, work an exfoliant into your skin-care routine to slough off dead skin cells and speed up cell turnover. The results? A smooth, radiant complexion with just the right amount of glow. This step should only be used about once per week (do it too often and you’ll risk over-drying your skin and have a whole other problem), notes Dr. Davis. What exactly can be considered an exfoliant? Think masks, scrubs, and gel peels — some cleansers even have exfoliators built in.

Prime Your Pores

In the past, facial toner was deemed an unnecessary step, but now it’s enjoying a major comeback. “Toners soften, smooth, and help to calm the skin, while removing any debris that a cleanser may leave behind,” Dr. Davis says. And if you’re worried about those old-school, alcohol-based toners that trigger a stinging sensation, know these products have come a long way since then. “Many toners contain skin-repairing ingredients that help to replenish and rehydrate the skin after cleansing.” Apply toner right after washing your face, since damp skin absorbs products faster, and peep those formulated with rose water, chamomile, aloe vera, and vitamin E; they’re generally good places to start.

Reach Zero-Thirst Status

“Every skin-care regimen needs a moisturizer,” says Dr. Davis. Yes, even if your face tends to resemble an oil slick all on its own by third block. We know, it sounds counterintuitive, but depriving your skin of this step can actually cause it to over-produce oil because its thirst is real. “Most moisturizing creams form a protective layer over the skin to lock in moisture and prevent further water loss from the skin to the atmosphere. Without moisturizers, our skin would appear dry and dehydrated, which could lead to itchy symptoms; increased sensitivity; and dull, lifeless-appearing skin.” Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of acne-prone, skin-friendly facial lotions you can rock with. Dr. Davis recommends ones with dimethicone or cyclomethicone (silicone-based ingredients) due to their nongreasy texture; a few examples include Proactiv’s Repairing Treatment, Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF, and Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel.

Block the Sun

Darker skin has a natural SPF of around 15, but you still need a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to #block the sun’s harmful UV rays from wreaking havoc on your melanated magic. It’s especially important if you spend lots of time outside during these warmer months because sunscreen can also prevent and fade hyperpigmentation. On 100, skin cancer doesn’t discriminate, either. In fact, African Americans are less likely to get diagnosed with melanoma, but we face higher death rates due to late detection, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The 411 On Double Cleansing

What’s All the Hype About? “Double cleansing is based on the theory that if you wear makeup and wash your skin, there may be residual makeup on your skin that comes off when you use a toner,” explains Dr. Davis. “So instead of using toner to remove residual makeup, you double cleanse by washing your face twice.” Pre-cleansing with micellar water is also a fave.

Who’s It For? While there are pros to double cleansing, this method might be too harsh and irritating for dry skin, but Dr. Davis recommends it for acne-prone skin, especially if you wear makeup. “The first wash is usually just removing the makeup, oil, dirt, and debris, while the second wash is truly cleansing the skin and helping to reduce blackheads and pimples from forming.”

Main Image: Ivan Gener/Stocksy


Quarterly print teen magazine for Black girls ages 13 to 19. Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream™