Skin is the body’s largest organ, and is exposed daily to external elements like humidity (or lack thereof), pollution, UV rays and dirt. Skin irritants change with the season, meaning that one’s plan-of-attack skincare routine for winter may not be appropriate for spring. As a plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive and cosmetic work, I speak with clients daily (both pre- and post-surgical procedure) about the importance of skin care. Proper upkeep of the dermis can reduce the likelihood of needing corrective procedures for disfiguring acne scarring, stubborn wrinkles and even skin cancer later in life. My team and I are sharing four basic preventative tips to combat irritants and keep skin healthy in spring:

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Spring Cleaning: Many of us undertake spring cleaning as weather warms, in which we prepare households for friendly gatherings, unpack season-appropriate apparel, and discard old, unwanted belongings. Just as one periodically purges the fridge of expired food, it’s also important to clean out your care products. We don’t put expired products into our bodies, and the same should go for external application. Sort through cabinets and check expiration dates on sunscreen, makeup, moisturizers and toners. Look out for separation, clumping, thickening, thinning, or change in odor and color if unable to find an expiration date. While some makeup products can last about two years if stored in a cool, dark area, creamier products like liquid foundation, toners and serums can go rancid and irritate skin. It is best to not take chances – if it’s old, throw it out!

(Gentle) Exfoliation: Arizona’s air is dry year-round, but the evaporation of skin’s moisture when exposed to warm temps after a winter of cold can expedite flaky, dry skin. Gentle chemical exfoliators like hyaluronic and glycolic acids dissolve dead skin with minimal irritation. Exfoliating products are best used up to twice per week as to not sap the skin barrier of its natural oils. Steer clear of physical exfoliants like walnut almond scrubs that contain large, chunky particles, as improper use (such as scrubbing too hard or frequently) can cause micro-tears in the skin. These micro-tears enlarge pores and rip the skin barrier open, leading to acne, advanced aging and even scarring.  

Up the SPF: Before wearing your favorite T-shirt out in warm spring weather, don’t neglect SPF! While you should wear sunscreen year-round as the sun’s UV concentration is consistent no matter the season, less clothing equates to a greater area of skin needing protection. Cloudy days are just as dangerous. Research by Cancer Research UK found that 90% of the sun’s rays can pass through cloud cover, putting skin at risk. Going out? Lather up!

Lightweight Hydration: Thick creams that maximize moisture are imperative in the cold winter months, especially while home heaters sap moisture from the air, but may not be suitable for your skin type year-round. Instead, search for a breathable, lightweight moisturizer that accounts for increased sweating and oil production in warmer spring temperatures. Heavy products should be reserved for nighttime when facial sweating is minimal. Moisturizers that contain ceramides, waxy lipids that lock hydration into skin, are a great soothing option for the season.  

For in-depth, personalized advice to keep one’s skin barrier healthy and supple in spring, visit for booking and a list of services.  

Author: Pablo Prichard, M.D., aka Dr. Scottsdale, has been the Chief of Plastic Surgery at Honor Health/ John C. Lincoln Hospital for 14 years, Medical Director for Plastic Surgery and is Senior Partner at Advanced Aesthetics Associates. Dr. Prichard has served more than 2,000 patients every year and has specialized in both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. For more information, visit and follow-on Instagram and TikTok @docscottdale.