The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to review your skin-care regimen and determine whether your habits are benefiting (or damaging) your skin. Of course, making resolutions is simple on January 1; keeping them all year round is more challenging.
According to Heather Richmond, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with the Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center in Houston, change is never simple, but consistency is crucial—particularly with skin care. Don’t anticipate results right away, especially when it comes to minimizing symptoms of aging, she advises, but regular use of high-quality skin care will make a significant difference in the long run.
Consider retinoids as an example. According to Harvard Medical School, they are known to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, but it may take up to six months of consistent use before you start to see results. Therefore, for the best outcomes, aim to stick with any resolution you make right away.
Here are the top skin-care resolutions that five board-certified dermatologists suggest in order to achieve this goal:
1. Do use sunscreen daily and during all seasons.
Although sunscreen may appear simple, it is your most powerful skin-care tool. Sunscreen, according to Cheryl Burgess, MD, founder, and head of the Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Washington, DC, is the best anti-aging product.
The advantages go beyond aesthetics. According to Mamina Turegano, MD, a board-certified dermatologist from Sanova Dermatology in Old Metairie, Louisiana, “it has been demonstrated that regular usage of sunscreen has the best benefit in preventing accelerated aging and skin malignancies.” “I would love for everyone to commit to including wearing sunscreen in their morning ritual every day.”
She advises using a moisturizer with SPF as well as a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, broad spectrum indicates that sunscreen will protect against both UVA and UVB radiation, which is responsible for sunburn and premature aging of the skin.
If you’ve read this far and think you’re immune because it’s winter and you’re not outside, reconsider. Studies have shown that even blue light from our laptops and other electronics can harm our skin. For instance, a tiny study discovered a connection between blue light exposure and the generation of free radicals, which are connected to early aging of the skin.
Not to add that UVA radiation can hurt your skin even through windows, such as when you’re in a car or working indoors with natural light, as the Skin Cancer Foundation points out. Dr. Burgess claims, “Sunscreen is now 24/7.”
Is Blue Light Bad for Your Skin’s Health?
2. Don’t go to bed with makeup on.
According to Burgess, sleeping with makeup on can lead to a variety of skin problems, such as clogged pores, breakouts, and extremely dry lips. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there is also a possibility that it could cause serious harm to your eyes. Many people have the terrible habit of doing that, according to Burgess. Fortunately, this method is easy: Before you lay your head on the pillow, wash your face. You’ll need a solvent-based makeup remover if you’re wearing oil-based concealer; Burgess suggests foamy cleansers because they can emulsify most foundations and lipstick. However, because the area around the eyes is particularly sensitive, be sure to use a mild cleaner.
3. Prepare Your Skin for Winter
According to Joshua Zeichner, MD, an associate professor of dermatology and the head of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, winter is possibly the most difficult season for your skin. He advises people to make a commitment to using more skin-care products in the winter because wind, low humidity, and cold temperatures are harsh on the skin’s outer layer.
In order to truly draw moisture to your skin, look for products that contain hydrating humectants like glycerin and ammonium lactate, advises Burgess. She suggests AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion as one affordable choice from the drugstore. The generic form of ammonium lactate, which typically costs less than $20 a bottle, is another option. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests using creams or ointments rather than lotions, which often come in tubes or tubs. Burgess advises getting a HydraFacial, which can help your skin regain hydration during the winter.
Related: Best Winter Skin Care Advice
4. Avoid Using Indoor Tan Beds
Despite evidence that indoor tanning greatly raises the incidence of melanoma, more than one-third of Americans surveyed in a report published in Current Oncology in November 2022 admitted to using indoor tanning equipment. The Skin Cancer Foundation points out that although those figures have decreased since their peak, the United States has not taken action to outlaw tanning beds like Brazil and Australia have. Both Drs. Turegano and Richmond consider indoor tanning to be a serious no-no, and Turegano wants to see tanning beds outlawed by the year 2022.
5. Do not discard expired or unused goods
The beginning of the year is a popular time for house decluttering, so if your skincare shelf is out of hand, it may be time to pare down.
Turegano understands your plight: “I want to try as many products as I can to see whether they are worthwhile suggesting, but my bathroom cupboard has turned into a junkyard with countless half-filled skin care containers, many of which are definitely outdated. Skincare is overwhelming as a result.
She intends to apply the KonMari approach to edit and categorize her goods as part of her personal skin care resolution to streamline and organize her skincare supplies.
Uncertain about where to begin? Examine all of your skin care products for expiration dates, and make a commitment to discard anything that is past its sell-by date. Get rid of anything else that makes your skin itchy. Then, according to Turegano, aim to streamline even more. “You probably don’t need both of your hyaluronic acid products if you have two of them. If you have the same kind of product, opt for one that might contain a higher percentage of the active ingredient when determining what to discard.
6. Avoid picking at your skin when you’re anxious
Skin plucking is a practice Turegano wants people to stop in the new year because it can lead to infection and scarring. The TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors recommends facials, aerobic exercise, and popping bubble wrap as alternatives to skin picking for stress relief. Turegano acknowledges that many people pick their skin as a stress reliever, but she urges people to find other stress-relieving activities in 2022.
However, according to the International OCD Foundation, skin plucking might occasionally be a clinical form of impulse control problem. They mention that up to 1 in 20 people have this problem and that during the COVID-19 pandemic, skin picking rose among this population, per a survey that was published in March 2021 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. If this applies to you, seeking advice from a mental health professional might be beneficial. Skin-picking disorders may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), according to the International OCD Foundation.
7. Maintain a straightforward and consistent routine.
Dr. Zeichner says, “I’d want to see individuals give up their multi-step regimens in favor of simpler skin-care procedures. “More is not better and can just cause annoyance. Sticking to a straightforward, efficient skin-care routine is always preferable to over-scrubbing, over-exfoliating, and over-applying products.
Sunscreen, a cleanser, and a moisturizer are three basic things that will make a difference, according to Turegano.
8. Quit smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 40 million smokers in the country (CDC). Additionally, the category of “smokers” is growing due to the popularity of recreational marijuana: The highest ever percentage of adults who claim they currently smoke cannabis is 12 percent, according to a 2021 Gallup poll.
Burgess points out that smoking does have an impact on your complexion, making it appear dry, dull, or reddish whether you’re smoking tobacco cigarettes or marijuana joints. She advises staying away from smoke in whatever way you can, which for cannabis consumers may mean moving to edibles rather than forgoing THC.
The American Lung Association offers a Freedom From Smoking program that includes interactive online features and group clinics, while the CDC provides information and services to assist you in quitting smoking in the new year.
9. Do Increase Your Routine With Vitamin C and Retinol
If you’re satisfied with your skin-care regimen right now, you may always decide to improve it by including more specialized items. The skin can benefit from vitamin C serum and sunscreen in the morning and retinol at night, according to Richmond, Burgess, and Zeichner. Retinol is a gentler type of topical retinoid generated from vitamin A, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Products containing retinol are sold over the counter, whereas those containing retinoids often need a prescription.)
Burgess explains that because vitamin C is an antioxidant, it is a supplement that fights oxidation processes, aging, and environmental damage. According to her, it’s advantageous to apply underneath your sunscreen since it serves two purposes: it shields you from the sun’s rays and lessens the visibility of some of your pigmentation or sun spots.
The best evidence for reducing outward indications of aging, according to Richmond, is provided by retinoids. Richmond’s own skincare resolution is to increase her retinol dosage.
Personal tolerability is the most important factor when deciding which over-the-counter retinol product is best for you, according to Roopal Kundu, MD, a professor of dermatology and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and the founding director of the Northwestern Center for Ethnic Skin and Hair. Studies show that all retinoids seem to reduce photoaging.
A retinol regimen will differ greatly depending on the geographical region, season, and skin type, according to Dr. Kundu. To begin, Kundu advises using a product as part of your sleep routine twice a week. Retinoids make you more susceptible to the sun, so apply them at night and at least two to three days apart, according to Kundu. Then you can increase by one application per week every one to two weeks. The long-term objective is to apply it every night if tolerated, but some people may only be able to do so twice or three times each week, according to Kundu.
Simply put, Zeichner advises “protecting your skin and preventing damage in the morning, and repairing your skin in the evening.”
10. Don’t Exfoliate Too Much
You can improve your current routine by including new active ingredients; just be sure to introduce them gradually and pay attention to how your skin responds. Retinol, an exfoliant, can be particularly helpful, but in their case, less is usually more. Concerningly, excessive exfoliation might be uncomfortable, especially for individuals with sensitive skin.
According to Melanie Palm, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in San Diego and the founder of Art of Skin MD, “Retinols, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), and other exfoliating actives can be extremely beneficial for your skincare routine, but overdoing it on exfoliation can compromise your skin barrier, which can lead to inflammation, dryness, bumps, rashes, or even scarring.”
Dr. Palm advises beginning slowly when incorporating new exfoliants into your routine. There’s no need to go in headfirst; your tolerance for chemical exfoliants can be built up gradually over time. According to Palm, it’s crucial to avoid exfoliating on the days you shave, wax, or thread.
Second batch of allegedly sensitive materials found, Biden is under investigation
Palm suggests using a gommage, which is a gentler kind of exfoliant, for people who are new to it. The greatest aspects of physical and chemical exfoliation are combined in a cream or paste that gently removes dead skin cells to produce smooth skin. According to the AAD, how frequently you should exfoliate depends on your skin type and exfoliation technique, with more vigorous treatments typically requiring less frequent application.
11. Do Monitor Your Sugar Intake More Often
Nutrition-related resolutions are nothing new. You may add the skin-related impacts to the list of reasons why you might wish to reduce your intake of added sugar, as noted by the Mayo Clinic, since there may be a connection between it and harmful health effects. Acne and aging of the skin may be caused by sugar.
Diet, according to Carmen Castilla, MD, a board-certified dermatologist of the New York Dermatology Group in New York City, “is one element that is sometimes disregarded in preserving skin health and general health.” “Increased perceived age has been linked to high sugar levels.”
According to earlier studies, sugar’s capacity to affect skin aging is partly due to a process called glycation. Dr. Castilla notes that “glucose can produce a chemical interaction with collagen that has a detrimental effect on its structure and function, which causes collagen to stiffen and hinders collagen turnover.” Skin is supported by collagen, thus if collagen function is compromised, the skin may lose its firmness and suppleness.
12. Avoid Taking Showers That Are Too Hot.
Although taking scalding hot showers might be soothing, Palm wishes that this behavior would decline in the coming year. Palm advises that “overdoing it can take moisture from your skin and create dryness, flaking, and itching” even though she acknowledges that many people turn to long, hot showers for warmth during the colder months.
For the benefit of the skin, extended showers are typically not advised, and bathing or taking a shower shouldn’t be done in too hot water. According to a study that was published in January 2022 in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, prolonged exposure to water weakens the skin’s protective barrier function, and hot water makes this damage worse. Researchers discovered that exposure to hot water increased erythema, a type of skin redness, and transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the evaporation of water through the epidermis.
The Cleveland Clinic advises turning down the heat, even though you can still take warm showers, to lessen the dryness and itching brought on by scorching hot showers. Your skin barrier won’t be compromised by a hot shower, according to Palm, and your skin will stay moisturized by applying a moisturizer almost away thereafter.
Avoid getting really hot water on your face at the absolute least, advises Palm, if you can’t stop taking hot showers completely. The skin on your face is more delicate than the skin on your body, so wash it at a tepid temperature at the bathroom sink before getting in the shower, she advises.
13. Do your annual skin check with diligence.
Dermatologists urge you to develop the practice of arranging a yearly skin examination, much like how your primary care physician might advise you to do so. The CDC claims that skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the country and that many of its causes, such as exposure to UV rays, are avoidable. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin examinations are another method of early skin cancer screening.
What effects do dietary treatments focusing on fruit, whole grains, and fish have on the management of obesity?
A dermatologist can examine your skin for any new moles, rashes, or other indications of malignant skin damage due to the rising rates of skin cancer. Additionally, you can use it as a chance to voice any concerns you may have regarding skin disorders you may have.
In addition to pointing out that the skin can be a window into other problems, Palm advises being vigilant about visiting your dermatologist once a year for a full body skin check. Skin checks are frequently a helpful technique for spotting autoimmune or hormonal disorders as well as other underlying health issues.
In addition to other sun protection measures that may reduce your chance of developing skin cancer, such as wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen or avoiding indoor tanning beds, an annual skin check should be performed.
Skincare doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is important. If you stick to these resolutions, your skin will be radiant and healthy not only this year but for years to come.