Many people start dreaming up resolutions to make the next lap around the sun better than the last. And while ‘losing weight’ or ‘making more money’ are common goals, there are some healthier solutions that improve the vitality of your skin. That’s why dermatologists recommend making aspirations for your skin health that will provide you with a beautiful glow from January to December. Here, we spoke with derms to discuss the best resolutions for 2022:
Commit to wearing SPF every day, 365 days a year
Though most people know how vital it is to apply sunscreen when it’s scorching outside, it’s easier to forget when it’s snowing and icing. However, no matter the weather, temperature, or activity, you should still apply sunscreen daily, says Dr. Luigi L. Polla, the Forever Institut and Alchimie Forever founder. And believe it or not, he says you still need SPF if you never leave your house! “You should apply sunscreen even indoors, as you’re prone to SPF exposure through the windows and oftentimes we end up running outside for an unplanned errand,” he says.
To make it a straightforward no-brainer ritual, he recommends using a day moisturizer packed with both antioxidants and SPF and placing it in plain sight, next to your toothpaste. “This way, you’ll see it in the A.M., and it will prompt you to remember to apply it daily. If you do nothing else for your skin, this single step will ensure you age as gracefully as possible,” he says.
Often when we think about our complexion, we consider how often we’re washing our skin, using serums and moisturizers, and choosing products that benefit our pores. However, sleep is a vital part of skin health, making it a smart resolution for 2022. A lack of adequate rest upsets your hormonal balance and elevates circulating estrogen levels, causing acne, warns Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified New York City dermatologist. “If you don’t get seven or eight hours of sleep for long periods, you will see that you have excessive wrinkling probably from a decrease in collagen production, too,” she adds.
And on the note of shut-eye, your sleeping position impacts your skin health as well. So, stomach and side sleepers may have more problems than those who fall asleep on their backs. How come? Dr. Polla explains side sleeping or stomach sleeping, where one cheek is on your pillow, will aggravate chest wrinkles and increase sagging. “Even if you sleep half the night on your back, this will help when it comes to the formation of facial wrinkles,” he says. “I can tell how a patient sleeps by looking at their facial wrinkles; they are deeper on the side you sleep on.”
Sure, a regular fitness habit will help your heart, your muscles, and nearly all parts of your body. But it can also improve your skin health, Dr. Jaliman says. As she explains, exercise results in increased blood flow, which helps to nourish and repair our skin cells. In return, our complexion will be more vibrant and smooth, thanks to the extra oxygen in our skin. “Research shows that when you exercise, it makes your skin look younger because it stimulates substances called myokines, specifically IL-15,” she continues. “This increases the thickness of the deeper layers of the skin and decreases the thickness of the outer layers of the skin.”
Give more attention to your skin below the chin
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of mindfully caring for your facial skin with exfoliation, cleansing, moisturizing, and more, but you stop at the chin? You’re definitely not alone, since Dr. Polla says many people forget to give the same attention to their neck, chest and hands. “Those areas of the body are prone to aging as well — and they often age faster than the face, as the skin of the neck is thinner and more delicate,” he explains. “Not to mention what we’ve deemed tech neck, thanks to the countless hours we spend hunched over our smartphones. Be sure to apply products to your neck and décolleté (this includes SPF!) as well as moisturize your hands often.”
Eat a well-balanced diet
If you’re already giving your diet a long, hard look to improve your health, you may be encouraged to know munching on vegetables will improve your skin, too. As Dr. Jaliman explains, when we fill out plates with foods rich in antioxidants (like blueberries, avocados, and so on), it makes our appearance less dull. “Avoid processed foods, sugar and dairy, as they make you break out,” she continues. “Processed sugar also glycates the collagen which stiffens and ages the skin.”
Commit to wearing gloves all winter long
Depending on what zip code you call home, winter may vary in severity. Some days are below zero and freezing, while others are mild enough to enjoy an outdoor walk. But, regardless of what the forecast tells you, Dr. Polla says to wear your gloves. As he explains, our hands are ‘our second face,’ and they’re as exposed to the environment as frequently as our face. “Often hands will become excessively dry and uncomfortable in cold weather, in particular as we age,” he says. So as a resolution, invest in two essentials: hand cream and gloves.
“The cold and the wind will dry out cuticles and the skin of the hands; in turn, the hands can look ashy and feel rough and uncomfortable due to the cold,” he continues. “A good hand cream is imperative and needs to have both protective molecules acting as barrier replenishers as well as humectants able to bind and hold water inside the epidermis, in effect, hydrating the skin and helping support and repair its barrier function.”
Avoid drinking with straws
Bad news if you’re a fan of sipping on your water or beverage choice with a straw: Dr. Polla says this habit is almost as bad for upper line wrinkles as smoking! “Think of the motion your upper lip makes when you use a straw — that seemingly innocent habit will create wrinkles in the upper lip area, similar to those created in the area between the eyes by frowning,” he says. “The skin of the upper lip is particularly challenging to treat with fillers and other professional treatments, so prevention is extra important in that area.”
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