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.