How Skin-Care Experts Are Using This Time to Declutter Their Beauty Routines

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Whether you’re looking for projects to help pass the time or the whisper of “it’s spring-cleaning season” keeps calling, consider this: “Our skin is dynamic and changes with time, age and damage—and we all know that our skin-care regimen modifies with time,” says Richland, WA dermatologist Sidney B. Smith, MD. “Spring cleaning of your skin-care products is a must!”

The Reflection Connection
Perhaps the number-one reason to do a clean sweep right now in the current climate crosses over into the “happy mindset” territory: “Decluttering our closets and our skin care gives us a personal power—a healthy headset for feeling clean, organized and a new beginning,” says celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy. “A time of reflection to acknowledge our physical bodies may be fragile, but our core is whole and strong; a time to see what truth and simplicity matters most to us. It’s through feeding our bodies good thoughts, good food and good skin care that enriches our lives most of all.”

Do Away With “The Drawer”
Dr. Smith points out that many of us have that drawer, box, cupboard, etc., for all our ‘savable’ products. “Often, we hang on to these old, mostly used, expired products just in case. But we need to ask ourselves, ‘Will we really use that essentially empty product—or one of our new favorites?’ We all know that we will go for our new one.”

…But Consider “The Shelf”
Celebrity aesthetician Vicki Morav loves having individual shelves for all her products—i.e., one for face serums, one for body products, one for masks and exfoliants, one for gadgets—then she organizes her day regimen on the right and her night regimen on the left. “Cleansers and toners go in the middle, as they are used a.m. and p.m.,” she says. “Once it all is organized, you can see what you have, what you are missing and what you need. Having products organized visually—not hiding them somewhere below the sink so that we forget about them—is key.”

Toss Anything That’s Expired
This one may sound like a no-brainer but, while it’s one thing that a product won’t be as an effective past its prime, it’s a whole other ballgame when it can actually irritate or harm your skin when it’s been sitting around too long. Joy stresses that the most important expiration date is the one stamped on sunscreens, particularly in a lotion of cream form, as the SPF will lose its potency, but she also recommends keeping an eye on anything ‘active,’ such as retinols and AHAs. “Because AHAs can be found in cleansers, exfoliants, serums and creams, it is important to note that an expired expiration could increase or decrease potency. Products that are vitamin-derived—particularly vitamin C—should also be watched. Expired products can become unstable, resulting in skin irritation and/or sensitivity.”

Likewise, Dr. Smith says, it’s especially important to watch the expiration date on any topical prescription. “Unfortunately, I have had patients bring in old products past their expiration date, where the ingredients have separated and smell. A new, fresh prescription will work much, much better than an expired one.”

Keep Evolving
While Morav recognizes it is human nature to accumulate stuff, it also just makes smart skin-care sense to tune in, acquire new information and get educated on what’s right and wrong along the way. “Once you open a jar of anything and use it, don’t just keep it sitting there—create space for something that will work, instead of keeping products that you have tried and have not been impressed with! Let go of old and get as educated as possible to buy and use what really works for your skin.”

And, Above All, Keep It Simple
Regardless of the time of year, Dr. Smith is a big believer in the KISS theory: Keep It Simple, Silly! “I have all my clients and patients follow our signature four-step regimen: Cleanse, Repair, Moisturize and Protect.” Joy agrees. “I think your skin-care routine should be soothing and purposeful for YOUR skin at this time. Don’t get adventurous—keep it simple and clean.”

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