Skin Care Resolutions For The New Year
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that less is more, there is beauty in simplicity, and video calls don’t mask our flaws. In an era of airbrushing and photo apps, authenticity always wins. Sometimes you have to go back to the basics of self-care. The same goes for taking care of your skin.
According to beauty experts, “skinimalism” is going to be the skin trend of 2021. Skinimalism focuses on natural, no-makeup beauty looks that bare it all – blemishes, fine lines, dark spots – and embraces loving the true you.
Start the New Year with these 5 skin care resolutions that don’t involve adding new products to your regimen or getting a procedure. Your health – and skin – will thank you.
Make sunscreen a priority
When it’s cold and overcast, you’re more likely to skip the sunscreen and forget about the sun’s damaging rays. But applying sunscreen – in rain, snow, or sunshine – is one of the best habits you can get into when it comes to your daily beauty regimen. Sunscreen protects against skin cancer and premature wrinkles caused by harmful ultraviolet rays.
Soaking up Vitamin D from the sun is important to your overall health, but too much exposure to the sun’s rays damages your skin over the decades. You may experience premature aging or worse – cancerous lesions, dark spots, and sun spots. Wearing sunscreen on the regular helps keep your skin tone even, more youthful, and healthier overall.
Even in the winter or on overcast days, sunscreen is a necessity. You definitely don’t want to leave home without it if you live in higher altitudes, work outside, or enjoy snow sports. The sun’s rays still penetrate the skin on cloudy days, and snow can nearly double the amount of UV radiation that reaches your skin. If you’re prone to forget, opt for a face lotion or foundation with sunscreen. And don’t forget other exposed areas such as your hands, neck, and lips. No matter the season, commit to wearing sunscreen every day and make it one of your skin care resolutions for 2021.
Reduce stress + add in exercise
Stress – or any sign of a perceived threat – causes a cascade of reactions in your body. Your adrenal glands release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This interferes with many body processes and compromises your health if hormone levels stay elevated.
Chronic stress has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including inflammation, premature aging, and many chronic health conditions. Long-term stress can cause or exacerbate mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and gastrointestinal problems. Many chronic skin conditions flare up due to stress and inflammation.
The good news is research shows natural alternatives can help you manage or reduce stress. Healthy habits related to diet and exercise, nature therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness meditation can help. Regular, vigorous exercise also flushes out toxins, gets your lymphatic system moving, and rejuvenates the skin. Aim to get in a good sweat session 3-5 times a week. You’ll notice improved energy, clearer skin, better sleep, and may even lose a few pounds.
Eat better with a rainbow of foods
Just as stress can ravage your body and weaken your immune system, so can a poor diet. Too much junk food, processed food, GMOs, meat, dairy, sugar, carbohydrates, and alcohol is a recipe for weight gain and chronic illness. It also shows up on your face in the form of acne and puffy cheeks.
Doctors preach it and research proves it: A bad diet contributes to inflammation and early onset of many diseases. Conversely, changing your eating habits can help manage chronic illness, including skin conditions. Acne, eczema, and psoriasis do improve with better nutritional choices. Many sufferers can reduce flares by being mindful of what they eat and learning to manage stress and other triggers.
A Mediterranean-style diet – high in healthy fats, fiber, fruits, and vegetables – is among the best for its brain and skin benefits. But even if you don’t totally overhaul your diet, small tweaks will make a difference. Opt for fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in meals or as snacks several times a week. Try to eat a rainbow of foods and skip salty or sweet snacks, plus drink water throughout the day. Make it one of your skin care resolutions! Your complexion, waistline, and mental health will reap the rewards.
Limit alcohol + add more water
Kicking back with a beer or cocktail at night may be innocent enough, but drinking in excess will eventually show up on your skin. Alcohol is a diuretic, which dries out your skin, makes wrinkles more obvious, and causes broken blood vessels. Besides extra calories, alcohol stimulates your appetite. It’s easy to grab chips or cold pizza and cave to late-night binge-eating after a night at the bar.
Alcohol also exacerbates skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It may seem counterintuitive, but alcohol can cause both dehydration and water retention. Dehydration prompts the body to hold onto as much water as possible, which leads to puffiness. You may notice your face looks red and bloated, or you may break out with hives or a rash. Alcohol also dilates blood vessels, leading to small spider veins or broken blood vessels on your face.
Minimize the negative effects of alcohol by limiting or avoiding alcohol. Try giving up all booze for 30 days and up your intake of water. Staying hydrated will restore your skin’s natural plumpness without bloating and give your skin a natural, healthy glow. Drinking plenty of water improves skin elasticity and moisture, supplies nutrients to the skin’s cells, and eliminates toxins.
Quit smoking or vaping
We all know the harmful consequences of smoking: cancer, COPD, and stroke to name a few. Vaping, the latest alternative to cigarettes, has become a dangerous trend among teens and young adults. But beyond the internal damage of inhaling various toxins, smoking also affects your skin and appearance.
Smoking leads to premature aging and wrinkles, especially “smokers’ lines” around the mouth and crow’s feet around the eyes. Vascular constriction limits oxygen from reaching skin cells and toxins in cigarette smoke damage collagen and elastin.
But that’s not all. Smoking also increases the risk of skin cancer, psoriasis, wound infection, vasculitis, and blood clot formation. Vaping devices also pose their own concerns. They release chemicals shown to cause skin problems in some users, including contact dermatitis, dry, itchy skin, acne boils, rashes from nickel exposure, black hairy tongue (BHT), and oral lesions and thrush.
Nicotine addiction is a hard habit to break, but the rewards are worth it. Your skin has an amazing ability to repair itself. Once normal blood flow returns, so will oxygen and nutrients, leading to healthier skin.
Sign up for a smoking cessation class, or talk to your doctor about gums, patches, and other nicotine replacements that can help wean you off cigarettes. And don’t be fooled by e-cigarettes, thinking it is a safer alternative to smoking.
Bonus tip – get your beauty sleep
The year 2020 may have turned the traditional 8-to-5 work world upside down, but that doesn’t mean you have to pull an all-nighter or respond to emails 24-7. Don’t underestimate the importance of deep, restorative sleep.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, which helps skin cells regenerate, helps skin retain moisture, and reduces dark circles. Regular sleep also boosts immunity, memory, and overall productivity. Studies show many people feel more attractive after a good night’s rest.
Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine late in the day, and unplug from email and social media by a certain hour. Adequate sleep is important for overall health and well-being – it can fend off weight gain, heart disease, and illness – so consider it essential to your 2021 beauty routine.
If you tend to indulge a little too much over the holidays, now is the time to reset and recommit to new skin care resolutions. Start with one of these lifestyle changes and give it a month or two. Add in others as you gain confidence and start seeing results.
APDerm offers a variety of medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology services if you’re in need of some encouragement or medical guidance. Contact APDerm today if you are concerned about chronic skin problems or to schedule your annual skin cancer screening.