As we're approaching the end of the year, we encourage readers to take actionable steps toward better skin in 2018 with specific skin regimen decisions - especially since November is a National Healthy Skin Month. Let’s be honest, many of us mean well when we set our goals, but life gets busy and these goals for the year are easily forgotten. If you want better skin, and you mean business, set calendar reminders in your phone for the simple steps below to better skin.
1. See your dermatologist for a yearly skin check
2. Sunscreen each and EVERY day
We can’t say this one enough. The sun will damage your skin, especially when you are not wearing protection. The sun is the strongest from 10 AM to 4 PM. If you are outside (or anytime for that matter), always wear at least a 30 SPF! And no, sunscreen in your makeup does not count - people almost never apply enough to get the SPF on the bottle. If you’re in the surf, working out and sweating outside, a waterproof “sport” sunscreen product is the way to go. Coppertone Sport in the blue bottle dries with a ‘no slip grip’ that actually helps you hold onto your racket, football, golf club, whatever. The Coppertone Kids’ Sport smells nice and also stays where you put it, as does the coconut-scented Hawaiian Tropic Sport. For daily wear, sport sunscreens may be too heavy, that’s why you will also need a daily wear SPF product. Try LaseResults® AM Repair & Protect Lotion SPF 30 – it will not only protect your skin from harmful UV rays, it will also help fight off premature aging and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. Also, BB Creams with tint have become very popular, these can help hide imperfections while protecting your skin.
3. UV-blocking window fild for your car
One thing people don’t often know is that most of us get the majority of our sun exposure while driving in our cars. Sadly, we spend WAY more time driving ourselves and others around than we do at the beach (if this doesn’t apply to you…I am very jealous). Car windows let in 70% of UVA, while blocking the burning UVB rays. The warmth of the sun is not what I’m talking about - UVA is invisible and we really can’t feel it either. Totally CLEAR window film (Llumar film or 3M) can block 99% of the UV rays, and you really can’t tell it’s there. There is no need for dark film to block the UV rays. You can check out more videos about sun damage and skin aging here.
4. Moisturize immediately after shower
Though sun exposure it still the main cause of skin damage and wrinkles, keeping your skin moisturized on a daily basis will help reduce the ashy appearance of skin and prevent skin irritation often caused by dry skin (especially during the winter season). The only thing that can really moisturizer our skin is water. So, we need to moisturize after we turn the water off in the shower but BEFORE you towel off. That’s when we apply our Lubriderm, Curel, Aveeno, etc, and towel off after. Be careful, it can get slippery moisturizing this way. Then another time of the day, after we’re moisturized somewhat, we can use AmLactin a mild AHA lotion to strip off dry skin. If we use this after the shower, it’ll sting though. Also, we may need to back off AHA, retinoids or retinol as well as acne products like benzoyl peroxide and use them less frequently in the winter months. Regimens that work for our skin in the summer may be too drying in the winter. Conversely, we can tolerate stronger products in the spring and summer as opposed to the dry winter months.
5. Exfoliating and toners
Many people swear by scrubs that exfoliate and the use of toners. I believe in more gentle exfoliation by using AHAs like glycolic acid or retinoids, not by physical exfoliation which can be irritating. Exfoliating with topical products as opposed to abrasive washes forms a better skin barrier that is more resistant to outside insults. Some people with oily skin swear by toners. I think if you’re using the right cleanser for your skin, they are not necessary in general and can dry your skin.
6. Stick to a skin care regimen
The best way to develop a perfect routine is by asking your dermatologist and his/her experts what topical products are best for your skin type. After years of being asked for his recommended skin care products and having no product line that offered everything he wanted, Dr. Bernstein set out to customize the ideal skin care system for his patients. Now, users are raving about its results, stating “they don’t leave home without it.”
7. Balanced diet for optimal skin care
Generally, a well-rounded diet helps your skin too – what’s good for the body is good for the whole body, including the skin. However, it’s tough to eat enough of anything to measure a large amount in the skin. In fact, one great thing about the skin is that it’s easily accessible for us to apply cream, lotions, gels, ointments, etc. In addition, lasers are enhancing penetration of topical products making them even more effective. I don’t recommend specific foods or oral supplements for the skin specifically. That’s what topicals are for. We can apply way more of a desired ingredient to the skin than we can ever get there by eating it.
8. Quit smoking
Smoking cuts off the flow of oxygen in your body and that will leave your skin looking dull. Cigarette smoke gets absorbed directly into the skin around the mouth, aging it in a way similar to sun damage. Wrinkles come from both the sun and smoking, as do enlarged pores. The act of pursing your lips is not what causes the lines around the mouth-it’s the free-radical damage to the skin around the mouth that allows the muscle attachments to show. The same thing happens from the sun on our foreheads-the sun damage allows the muscle attachments to show, but little kids move their heads all day long and we don’t see lines on them-that’s because their skin isn’t damaged yet by the sun or by smoking. Quitting is super, super tough, but if skin damage can get folks to quit-more power to them. Laser treatments and other cosmetic procedures heal better and achieve better results in non-smokers.