Watch a live consultation where I discuss some of the most popular procedures at my office like Botox and Fraxel, plus some of my favorite skin care products that you can use at home.
Making a New Year’s resolution is the perfect set up for starting the new year off wrong. You can promise to eat better, lose weight, be nicer to yourself or any of the other fabulous resolutions that are perfectly reasonable, as long as we’re doing them “next year.” In the end, if you don’t give yourself the proper tools to reach that goal it is all but impossible to get there. It’s like trying to cross a river without building a bridge.
One Step At a Time
It’s good to think big and set goals. The best way to make sure you get there is to take baby steps. The resolution: to have beautiful healthy skin that ages successfully. The 5 key steps to get there apply to life, with an extra bonus of my adaptation to make it great for your skin since your skin is a powerful reflection of your overall health and well-being – having skin that looks beautiful is a great sign that your skin is healthy and has a lower risk of skin cancer and premature aging. Putting your best face forward can take a little effort but it’s worth it and gets easier when you see the results when you look in the mirror.
Always be thankful
This is true in life and true for your skin. Look in the mirror and allow yourself to see your best features: is it your eyes? Your bone structure? Your lips? Whatever your best features may be, being thankful for your unique beauty is a great way to start your new year off beautifully. Another important goal is to be thankful for your natural skin tone and to go with your own glow. This means being sun smart: use sunscreen every day all year round, reapply it every 2 hours when you’re out, wear a hat and sun protective clothing when possible and stay in shade when you can. It will make this year’s’ resolution for beautiful healthy skin a reality and will add value for years to come. Fact is, 90% of wrinkles and the signs of aging we see in the skin come from exposure to ultraviolet rays. Simply protecting against damage will serve you well for decades to come.
Love is not what you say, Love is what you do
Loving your skin means following a daily routine of great skin care. It starts with cleansing as the first step. This is often overlooked but it is very important to wash off makeup, pollution and buildup of oils from the day. The next step is regular exfoliation – how often depends on your skin type, could be twice a week or once every two weeks, see what your skin needs. You can exfolliate with a chemical like glycolic or salicylic acid or you can use a physical scrub but be gentle and listen to your skin. If your skin stings or burns when you apply cream or lotion after exfolliating it’s a sign that you’ve over-done it so go a little gentler next time and see how it works for you. Next step is to use serums containing such as growth factors, peptides and antioxidants to help your skin regenerate and rejuvenate and of course sunscreen and moisturizers to round out the set of recommendations. One simple guide to order of application of skin care products is thickness: apply the lighter products first such as serums or lotions and the richer products last such as moisturizers.
Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on
Every day I hear patients lamenting their years of tanning and other lifestyle choices that accelerated the aging of their skin. The line they consistently use is “one day my face just fell apart.” The changes can show as blotchy uneven skin, wrinkles and sagging. The good news is that no matter what your previous exposure to sun has been, what you do today can help undo at least some of the damage of the past. Simply stopping tanning will go a long way to avoiding future damage and will allow your skin to reverse some of the changes that have occurred. A visit to your dermatologist will also help as we have outstanding non-surgical approaches to turn back the clock leaving you restored and beautiful.
Don’t let others steal your peace
The holidays can be very stressful. You can be pulled in so many directions, there may be travel woes from traffic and delays, and of course the obligation to spend time with family members who have strong views that may differ from yours. The compounding of stress upon stress can lead to a flare of anything you’re prone to from acne to eczema to psoriasis or rosacea. Plan ahead by acknowledging the facts, allowing yourself time for you every day. Create an emergency skin care bag with your dermatologist to help you handle flares and be sure to maintain your regular skincare routine when you travel. Your body likes routine, it is called homeostasis. As much as you can, keep to your regular sleep cycles and avoid excess salt and alcohol. It’s totally worth it to have radiant beautiful skin.
Things will get better. You didn’t get here overnight – you don’t need to fix things overnight. We live in a time of instant results, quick fixes and apps that make everyone look picture perfect, at least in pictures, but they set an unrealistic expectation of what it takes to reach those goals. True and lasting changes, improvement in collagen and restoring you back to a more youthful appearance in a natural way takes time and is best done in baby steps. This will leave you looking your best not just today and this year, but for years to come. This also means sticking with any new product you try for a minimum of 6 weeks. The time is worth it, trust me.
Each point was meant to inspire you in many ways for the coming year. There are no shortcuts, but you have the whole year to follow them for a great year and beautiful, healthy, happy years to follow.
“Doing nothing gets you nowhere”
I’ve always loved to travel and if you follow any of my posts on instagram, twitter or facebook you’ll know I travel a lot for work to lecture and serve on advisory boards. My love of travel goes way back to my childhood when as a little girl, my parents would pack up the three kids and take us away on family trips for work or fun as often as my dad could manage around his busy doctor schedule. The airport itself was as exciting as any destination we reached and we dressed up for the plane as if we were going to a party. Travel by car or train was just as exciting and the idea of an adventure always got my heart racing with excitment – the feeling has never worn off. It may have something to do with the fact that I still live in the same city and even in the same building where I was born and raised so I have the comfort and security of knowing where home is and that makes a new place, hotel and scene intriguing. Or maybe it’s just me.
As I sit here now, on a plane on my way home from a great dermatology meeting in Dubai, I can still feel the excitement of going to the airport, the thrill of the plane making its way down the runway, the exhilaration of takeoff, the soothing hum and rhythm of the cabin as it cradles it’s precious passengers and carries us miles above the earth giving us heavenly views of clouds and the land and sea below, taking me to or from a place I’ve heard so much about and have been looking forward to exploring. I love the work when I get there, I always learn as much as I teach, and I always leave myself time to walk and explore, and of course post pictures on my social media so I can share the experience and look back on the memories later myself too.
Adjusting to Time Zones
The one thing about travel that can be the most challenging is dealing with the havoc it wreaks on the skin. Totally not acceptable. Sounds superficial, I know, I’m used to it and I know better. I know it’s more than just skin deep and when I see tired travel-worn skin I know there’s way more going on below the surface and adjustments that need to be made to stay healthy in mind, body and skin in order to make the entire trip more productive and fun.
When I travel to different time zones, I do my best to transition to that time zone during the flight by planning my nap and awake times and adjusting the light to help me acclimate even before I arrive. I try to pick flights that optimize the process. It takes a little planning but makes all the difference in minimizing jet lag and getting the most out of the trip. This way I hit the ground running and can be the most productive when I work.
Hydration is key. This means more water, less salt and less alcohol. I said it was important, I didn’t say it was fun. I also said less, not none. The longer the trip the more important this is. I’ve seen people whose feet and ankles swell to 3 or more times their size, and that can take days to resolve. Wearing compression socks can help along with leg elevation when possible, walking during the flight or stopping to walk if you’re in a car, and also doing flex and point foot exercise when sitting. And of course, I repeat, more water, less alcohol, less salt.
Packing for Your Skin
Preparing your skin for travel starts even before you leave the house. If you’re a last minute packer, I recommend making a skin-travel kit that’s always ready to go. Most of us notice our skin gets dry when we travel and if you’re prone to eczema or psoriasis this can trigger a flare. It’s especially important to have a great moisturizer to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking water won’t make the outer layers less dry so you need to moisturize and hydrate the skin directly. If you have oily skin and break out, the stress of traveling can trigger a flare leaving you both oily and dehydrated at the same time. It’s not always easy to pack all your acne medications when you travel but it is important to maintain your routine to minimize any breakouts when you least want one.
The one thing you need to coordinate and organize ahead of time is a travel skin-care kit so you can avoid any skin catastrophes that might ruin your trip.
Carry-on (travel size):
- Hand cream: can also be used on the body as needed
- Pre-moistened cleansing cloths: test the brand ahead of time and look for one with cloths that are softer rather than abrasive on the skin
- Sunscreen: a good tinted sunscreen can double as a foundation for travel purposes
- Lip balm
- Nail file
- Hair tie- scrunchy: they may be out of vogue for public use, but are perfect to keep your hair off your face on a long flight or car ride without pulling or stressing your hair
- Airplane socks: a travel luxury, yet totally necessary. You can buy them at any drug store and enjoy warm, soft feet on the plane.
- Eye cover and ear plugs: nothing says beautiful skin better than a good nights’ sleep, or a nap on the plane in this case (the baby screaming behind me was barely audible once my earplugs were in). Tip: noise cancelling headphones are good but may not be as comfortable for sleeping.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Avene water spray
It’s very helpful to have an emergency travel kit. This should include:
- Cortisone cream: this will save you in a pinch if you get a pimple, bug bite or any irritation of the skin that leaves it red and itchy. When you travel, you come into contact with so many different materials your skin isn’t used to and this can be an issue for those with sensitive skin.
- Zeasorb powder- this is great for shoes and the body for those who sweat when they travel. It is absorbent and will keep you dry and comfortable and will help prevent your feet and shoes from getting stinky, which will make you much more popular with your fellow travelers.
- Benadryl: great to help you sleep and also good if you tend to have eczema or allergies that flare when you travel. Be careful not to take if you’re the driver. In other words, don’t “operate heavy machinery” after taking.
- Ibuprofen or Aspirin: depending on what your stomach tolerates.
- Cleanser, moisturizer, serum, prescriptions products from your dermatologist: it’s important to maintain your regular routine as much as possible.
Never count on the hotel soap or moisturizer to keep your skin healthy when away from home. Depending on the length of your trip you can pack a separate set of products for your trip or use the travel size from your carry on. I’m a master of packing so I take carry-on for almost every trip. When I do check in a bag, I go all out even adding my absolute favorite products and perfume – it almost makes it worth checking a bag. Almost.
We are almost into descent and time for me to sign off. I had a great trip, so happy I planned ahead and made the most of the time. A little, simple planning made all the difference. I’m ready to get back to the office and see my patients, which is my greatest joy and passion.
No one really wants to look old. We talk about aging gracefully and accepting the process, which is great on paper, but looking old doesn’t mean you’re aging gracefully, and having a few lines and wrinkles doesn’t mean you look old. Since the first Hyaluronic Acid (HA) soft tissue filler was FDA approved in the US in 2004 we have had 10 new products approved in the US and literally hundreds available around the world to help you look soft, smooth and contoured. It’s been a game changer for those who want to enter the rejuvenation market without undergoing surgery, but there’s a lot to know before you get started.
Every birthday you should get your birthday suit checked. Period. Even though a panel of so called experts to the FDA said it was inconclusive whether skin cancer screenings should be recommended to those who are asymptomatic and with no family history, I can tell you from having seen it with my own eyes that skin cancer happens every day in those very people and that skin cancer screenings save lives.