Spring Stress? Nah, what could possibly be stressful about spring?!?!
Spring is AWESOME, right? Days are less gray. Snowfall lessens (unless you’re in the Northeastern US this year), little sprouts start peeking up, adorable bunnies and ducklings start to come out of hiding, and everything is beautiful, right?
Yes. Spring is totally awesome! But that doesn’t mean that spring doesn’t have its own issues to stress out about. I could make a list:
- Spring cleaning
- High pollen count (packing Claritin and epi-pens)
- Getting the kids to all their seasonal out-door activities
- Packing up all the winter gear
- Getting a beach body back in shape
- Oxidative stress
Wait, what? Oxidative stress? Where did that come from?
When spring finally arrives, and we start spending more time out doors, it really is a good time to think about oxidative stress and our skin. Oxidative stress is certainly a year-round thing, and isn’t limited to UVA/UVB exposure – but it is dramatically increased by sun exposure and it’s necessary to take that into account for the best appearance and long-term health of your skin.
First, lets talk about what oxidative stress is.
Oxidative stress is when reactive oxygen species (also commonly referred to, but not exclusively as free radicals) exceed the load your native anti-oxidant systems have to reign in under control. Our skin has built in systems to deal with reactive oxygen species – to a point, but then, it’s just stress.
Oxidative stress isn’t always a bad thing either – sometimes it serves a purpose in mixing up what’s going on with the thousands of different proteins and lipids that do an intricate dance to keep our skin healthy. An overload, however, in the oxidative stress from extrinsic forces (or our environment) gets ugly. The biggest environmental culprit for oxidative stress is…ding, ding, ding! Sun exposure.
I’m not going to tell you to wear sunscreen, because that is a given. *Insert shameless plug for SunFit SPF 30 here*
I am going to address topical skincare regimen, diet, and physical activity.
Not all anti-oxidants are built the same, so we need to make sure that the anti-oxidants we’re using during high the sun exposure months are photo-protective anti-oxidants. The big guys in this category are vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E and CoQ10.
Luckily, all of Skin Fitness Therapy’s Spring Fit Skin Essentials are loaded with these ingredients in a bioavailable and chirally correct formulation – but I will share my personal regimen as it’s a pretty good starting point for all skin types:
- Water rinse
- Collagen Fitness Spritz tone
- Apply 1 pump Vital C Serum 20% with Ellagi-C & Resveratrol Concentrate
- Apply 1/2 to 1 pump Pure Oxygen Serum and let sit for 2-3 minutes
- Apply SunFit SPF 30 with a gentle pat until invisible and let sit 2-3 minutes
- Apply makeup (if it’s a workday, and I’ll usually add a little more SunFit into my foundation)
- Remove makeup using Pure Oxygen Serum as an emulsifier/makeup-remover
Note – I’m a dude, so I don’t tend to wear eye or lip makeup. If you do wear eye & lip makeup – Use the Beta Serum Eye & Lip makeup remover. Why? It is more gentle on these thin and sensitive areas, and it will also do a better job removing the higher pigment load found in eye and lip makeups. Also, it’s loaded with more nutrients specifically formulated for these areas and provides the additional support for lashes and brows.
- Cleanse with Deep Pore Cleanser (right now I’m using Dry/Sensitive as winter has left me a little drier than I prefer)
- Tone with Collagen Fitness Spritz
- Exfoliate with Cranberry Purifying Scrub (I do this step 2x/week – I would not recommend more than 3x/week unless instructed to do so by your skincare professional)
- Tone with Collagen Fitness Spritz
- Apply Multi-Vitamin Serum with Stem Cells and Dynalift
- Apply 1/2 to 1 pump Pure Oxygen Serum and let sit until absorbed
- Apply moisturizer
Note – the moisturizer is where this gets tricky on what I would recommend. Again, I’m male – due to men having thicker skin with a greater degree of texture, I like to use Ultra Moisturizing Cream Plus EGF. For most women, I would recommend Red Wine Blueberry Pumpkin Age Defying Cream for daily use during the spring and summer months.
I also like to get a little creative and sub out 2 nights/week Cell-Tex Vitamin C cream instead of a traditional moisturizer. The extra boost of vitamin C is great for men especially – but it’s not a good idea if you tend to be overly sensitive or chronically dry to leave this on overnight regularly. Again, consult your skincare professional.
I’m not a nutritionist. I’m an esthetician, so I’m not going to give you a lecture on what a healthy diet is. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist.
What I am going to preach from the mountain tops is DIETARY CONSUMPTION of antioxidants and TOPICAL APPLICATION of antioxidants ARE NOT the same thing. You need to eat the necessary foods to make sure you’re getting these antioxidants in your diet. They are metabolized through entirely different pathways and used by your body completely differently when eaten than when applied.
Nature is gracious enough to provide us with fresh foods that meet seasonal demands on our bodies…so eat plenty of asparagus, avocados, carrots, mangoes, pineapple, sweet potatoes, green legumes, and spinach during the spring. When it comes to spring and summer, I’m a poultry and salmon guy all the way when it comes to animal protein.
I’m not qualified to talk to you about dietary supplements – again, talk to your doctor or nutritionist – but I do know enough to know that supplementing CoQ10 and Omega 3s are a good idea for a lot of people. Personally, I supplement my vitamin C and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) year round.
So, being an endurance athlete is awesome, but for most of us, not a reality. In truth, the best reduction of oxidative stress comes from moderate, mixed-up exercise. Sure, Iron Man athletes are machines and pretty extraordinarily healthy usually, but generally speaking that kind of over-the-top training doesn’t do as much to reduce your oxidative stress level as mixing up modalities of less intense exercise for two reasons. The first reason is that extreme athletes also put a TON of demand on their bodies that requires them to engage in some pretty equally extreme recovery practices. The second reason is that when training regularly, the body reaches a new point of homeostasis that that specific kind of training disrupts less and less.
Our goal is to mix it up a little to keep our bodies guessing, engage different kinds of muscle fiber, and not ever demand too much recovery of a particular muscle group or system. So switch up weight training with pilates and yoga and spinning…and the fun outdoor stuff that has been limited during the winter like hiking, outdoor runs and bike rides, outdoor swimming – and for sure, dancing. Just make sure to keep up on the SunFit SPF 30 while you’re outside.
That pretty much summarizes my tips on how to keep your skin in tip-top springtime shape on your side. See you skincare professional regularly for a personalized care regimen – and up keep. There are just as many professional strategies for spring as the home care outlined above!
On with the journey!