The new year is almost here and most of us will commit to starting (or continuing) healthy habits such as eating more veggies, going to the gym, and so on. In my Santa Barbara cosmetic surgery practice I get a lot of inquiries about skin care and how to keep skin looking young and healthy. With New Year’s resolutions upon us, I thought this would be a great opportunity to suggest some skin care tips to incorporate into your list of resolutions. These skin care recommendations will help prevent accelerated aging and will encourage healthier skin in the coming year.
Use Sunscreen Daily
One of the top causes of premature aging that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, and “sun spots” (hyperpigmentation) is the damage caused by UV rays. Use sunscreen daily – year round – with an SPF 30+ to help prevent sun damage. Reapply often if you are outdoors, sweating excessively, or swimming.
Avoid Trendy Products
Skin care products that promise you the moon usually don’t deliver. Do your research and buy your skin care products from a reputable place – such as a physician’s office or a medical spa. Physician-grade products contain higher quantities of potent ingredients that are often clinically proven to deliver results.
As we age, cell turnover decreases and the “build up” of cells can leave your complexion dull. Exfoliate two times per week to encourage faster cell turnover.
Clean and Replace Skin Care Tools
If you’re using a Clarisonic as part of your cleansing routine, that is great! Allow the brush head to dry after every use (patting it dry immediately after each use helps) and replace the brush head every 2 to 3 months. Make-up brushes can cause more harm than good if they are not washed regularly. Use a brush cleaner solution or mild baby shampoo and commit to cleaning your brushes weekly.
Moisturizing hydrates and protects the skin. It also can improve tone and texture and can often mask imperfections. Moisturizing is good for all skin types even those with oily or acne-prone skin. For oily skin, choose a non-comedogenic and oil-free moisturizer.
Commit to keeping your hands off your face. Dirty hands and nails can contaminate the skin you are working so hard to keep clear and clean.
“You Are What You Eat”
Consume lots of colorful vegetables and fruits. These are packed with antioxidants and will help your skin from the inside out. Fatty and greasy foods can upset the natural balance of your body and can cause your overall health – and your skin – to deteriorate.
Get Your ZZZ’s
While you “rest”, so does your skin. Sleeping lowers your metabolic rate so you’re not producing as many skin damaging free radicals. It also gives your skin a chance to focus on skin repair (instead of protection, as it does when it is being exposed to the sun or environmental pollution during the day).
One of the fastest ways to prematurely age you skin is through smoking. Nicotine causes narrowing of blood vessels and impairs blood flow to the outermost layers of the skin. Less blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen to your skin. The result is wrinkles and sagging of the skin.
Before putting on make-up, take a close look at your skin and note any changes, discoloration, funny looking moles, or abnormal looking skin. Follow up with a dermatologist to further assess the condition. It’s a good idea to see a dermatologist annually for an overall skin check.
A New Year is the time to make changes and improvements. Following these skin care recommendations will give your skin the opportunity to be healthier and more youthful-looking in 2015 and years beyond.
All of us at Cosmetic Surgery Center in Santa Barbara wish you (and your skin) a happy, healthy new year!