Ah, the New Year. The champagne. The parties. The overwhelming compulsion to vow to become a better version of you in the coming year. While some New Year’s resolutions are pie in the sky (I’m looking at you, 30 lbs. I swore I’d drop), others, like these ridiculously simple skin care tips, are a bit more manageable. So pass the bubbly and let’s toast to a new year of brighter, healthier skin. I Solemnly Swear to Wear Sunscreen Summer? Winter? It doesn’t matter. Sunscreen is a must. Not only is UV exposure linked to long-term damage like wrinkles and freckling, it also causes skin cancer. That alone makes it a worthwhile resolution. There’s a moisturizing sunblock for every budget. Choose one that offers broad-spectrum protection of at least SPF 30. Not only will it defend against sun damage and cancer, it’ll keep your skin soft and supple in the process. “Apply a good moisturizing sunscreen to your face every morning,” says Dr. J. Mark Jackson, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Louisville. “Chronic sun exposure damages the skin and underlying tissues – which leads to everything from skin cancer to leathering. Prevention is the key to long-term skin health.” Start (and Sleep) with a Clean Slate Do you wash your face every morning? After a workout? Before bedtime? You should be doing all three. While washing your face first thing in the morning is fairly common, that’s usually not enough. Oil, dirt and bacteria collect during the day, which can clog your pores and cause breakouts. Wash away grime and excess makeup with a gentle cleanser before bed. Not only will it help prevent breakouts, it’ll keep your pillowcase from looking like a yesterday’s makeup Monet. And the same rings true for that post-workout refreshment. Hands to Yourself (Not Your Face) When a blemish rears its ugly head, it’s hard to resist the urge to poke or pop the little bugger. But resist, you must. Not only does picking at your skin cause scarring, it can result in some pretty serious bacterial infections like impetigo, staph or MRSA. As if that wasn’t enough, the simple act of touching your face can introduce dirt, bacteria and oil to the skin, which clogs pores and causes even more blemishes. It’s a vicious cycle that’s worth breaking in the New Year. Add More Moisture to the Mix Healthy skin functions like a well-oiled machine where old cells are effortlessly shed and replaced by new ones. And hydration is the secret to keeping this process moving over time. As you age, your skin produces less of the natural oils that keep it smooth, soft, and supple. Replacing that lost production with a moisturizer helps fight the long-term effects of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles.
- Moisturize within 3 minutes of bathing or washing your hands to replace the washed away oils.
- Use fragrance-free products; both scented and unscented products contain masking agents that can dry out the skin.
- Creams and balms last longer and offer better protection than lotions or gels because they contain less alcohol, a drying agent.
- Invest in a humidifier to introduce moisture to your home and reduce drying.
Schedule a Skin Screening If you’re between the ages of 25 and 30, it’s recommended that you add a visit to the dermatologist to your routine physical – uh, routine. “Skin cancer can occur on any area of your body, not just those that are sun-exposed,” says Dr. Jackson. “Not every form of skin cancer includes obvious signs like raised, itchy, or bleeding abnormalities. In addition to keeping an eye out for moles that are changing or irregular in shape, size or color, a good full skin exam can help detect skin cancer at its most treatable early stages.” The good news is, whether it’s January 1st or July 1st, it’s never too late to start taking better care of your skin. All it takes is a few changes here, a little mindfulness there, and, of course, the support and guidance of the skin care experts at Forefront Dermatology. Let’s start 2016 off right. To find the Forefront physician nearest you, visit the Locations page today.