We Interviewed a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and an Esthetician for the Most Powerful Spring Skincare Tips
Ah, yes. It’s a beautiful time of year. Dogwoods are blooming, pollen is sticking to cars, and the sun is saying, “Hey! I missed you guys!” After being buttoned up all winter, things are-a-changing. Maybe you’re a traditionalist and taking the cue to carefully go through closets and cabinets for a little spring cleaning. Maybe you’re pulling out the garden gloves and planting herbs and flowers in the still-warm evening sun. Whatever the case, it’s hard to go from hibernation (and over-indulging, and maybe not getting to the gym, and dry skin) to our bright, sunny selves without a gentle detox.
“Spring is the perfect time to rest the body,” says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Azcim Certified Integrative Medical Practitioner, who we called on for advice on how to support our bodies to look like spring beauties. “It’s time to begin eating lighter and getting more chi moving, all of which will lead to a healthy spring skin tone,” she says. But that’s not all, our sweet esthetician friend, Gabi Stepan, Holistic Esthetician and Makeup Artist, gives us the scoop about what she sees her clients struggling with this spring and how to fix it. We’ll give you a hint: achoo.
Make Yourself Lots of Bone and Vegetable Soup
“As the days warm it is key to add some fiber and antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables to help boost the skin,” says Dr. T. To do this, she suggests starting what she calls a “spring detox diet,” which also includes root starches. An easy way to kick-start this skin-loving detox? Homemade bone and vegetable soup. “Soup made with bones contains AKG’s that boost the immune system and contains several different types of collagen that improve skin’s elasticity,” explains Dr. T.
Soup is also great because it’s warm. And One of the main eating principles in Chinese Dietary therapy is eating warm food in the spring because cold food can deplete vital chi in the blood. “The organs that benefit from this fresh spring detox the most are the liver, the organ of spring, and what governs the movement of our bodies energy as well as the spleen, or digestion,” explains Dr. T. Not to mention how simple and cost-effective homemade soup is. Hands up if you’re happy to have a new meal-prep idea that also happens to lead to glowing spring skin?
“Something I've been noticing with my clients is the effect of seasonal allergies on the skin,” says Gabi. You may know the story all too well: runny nose, itchy eyes, non-stop sneezing. Did you know allergies can impact your skin too? Those suffering from eczema may find their flare-ups more intense than normal with no relief from their products. “This seasonal transition stirs up lots of pollen, mold, and spores, which can translate into dry, irritated, flaky, and sensitive skin,” explains Gabi.
But this is different from dry winter skin caused by -dry winter air caused by cold weather and indoor heating “Winter dryness is caused by a lack of hydration in the air leaving skin feeling chapped, lack-luster, and almost ‘burnt,’” says Gabi. Dry skin around the nostrils, eyes, cheeks, and chin caused by seasonal allergies comes from our immune system mistaking pollen as a harmful invader and triggers the release of protective histamines in the body that cause the skin and body to react. “It’s totally internal,” says Gabi. But you can do something about it!
“I suggest my clients cleanse their face, hair, and body as soon as they get home for the day,” advises Gabi. “Spores can stick to all parts of our body and hair, including our clothing, and can be continual irritants.” She also suggests washing clothes after one wear, at least while it’s still high-pollen season. “If you are going through the effort of cleansing your skin to provide irritant relief, it doesn't make sense to re-expose yourself to the irritants by re-wearing contaminated clothes,” she says.
Don’t stop brewing
Another easy tip to transition into glowing spring skin? Fill up that water bottle. “I like patients to consume 64 oz of water or hot tea in the spring,” says Dr. T. “Some of my favorites are ginger, which is warming and helps digestion, and matcha, which is one of the strongest antioxidants in the plant kingdom.” Matcha not only provides a state of calm alertness (thanks to its trove of L-theanine) its high EGCG compounds keep skin looking fresh by reducing oxidative stress. “It’s perfect for helping the liver stay calm and keep it moving smoothly, especially if you get tired of drinking water.”
Take an oatmeal bath
If you’re still feeling the effects of winter’s dryness on top of the potential itchiness spring allergies can bring, try taking a soothing oatmeal bath. “Oatmeal has healthy fats, which aid in lubrication, polysaccharides, which leave a protective barrier on the skin, and act as a lovely natural exfoliant,” explains Gabi. How to: fill a pair of old pantyhose with 1 cup of oatmeal and drop into the bath while you soak for 30-40 minutes. “I also use it as a loofah in the shower to slough off any dead skin,” advises Gabi. There’s no such thing as overusing oats, by the way. So feel free to use them as often as you want in the bath or shower. It’s sure to reduce any itchy dry spring skin.
“And it’s definitely a good idea to always moisturize your skin with oils and creams as soon as you are out of the bath to lock in hydration,” says Gabi Some favorites include our Neroli Toner, which is rich in hydrating antioxidants and helps with congestion/redness. As well as our Herbal Balancing Serum for the day, Night Regenerative Balm at night if your skin is still recovering from winter, and Tulsi Rejuvenating Body Oil for an all-over blast of hydration whenever.
Elizabeth Trattner, Doctor of Chinese Medicine and AZCIM certified Integrative Medical Practitioner (Instagram @Dreliztratts )
Gabi Stepan, Holistic Esthetician and Makeup Artist
(Instagram @GabiGoingGreen @