It’s been proven time and time again that we’re terrible at keeping our New Year’s resolutions. That’s why it might be time to take it easy on the life-changing decisions in 2016 and instead commit to something really quite simple: healthy skin.
Just as wardrobes change throughout the seasons, so should your approach to skin care to keep up with a changing environment. Here’s your cheat sheet to year-long healthy skin.
Throughout the winter, indoor heat and harsh winds wreak havoc on the moisture levels and protective function of the skin, leaving it parched, itchy, and irritated. Since indoor heat has the same lack of humidity the desert, try using a humidifier in the bedroom at night with the door closed. Moist air allows the skin to maintain a healthy level of hydration while improving the performance of a thick moisturizer which attracts and locks in that hydration against the skin. Good ingredients to look for in a body moisturizer to lock in water are petrolateum, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter.
In the warmer months, it’s time to increase the level of sun protection on a daily basis. Because sun damage is cumulative, a good resolution is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen which covers both UVA and UVB rays of at least SPF 30 every day. Zinc and titanium are particularly good sunblock ingredients to look for in a product as they provide excellent broad-spectrum coverage and are not reactive, meaning they can be used even on sensitive skin. However, sunscreen is just one part of a good sun protection plan. Sunscreen used in combination with avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when it is the strongest, use of hats and sunglasses, seeking shade and wearing sun protective clothing when possible, all add up to the best sun protection for the entire family.
After the summer, the skin can look a bit weathered. Sun, surf, sand, and chlorine can cause the skin to look dull and dehydrated, so autumn is a time to refresh the skin with extra exfoliation. For the body, a cream-based exfoliating scrub can be applied gently on dry skin then rinsed well in the shower. For the face, gentle exfoliation with a vibrating handheld brush or cream-based scrub with smooth beads used every other day is sufficient to remove dead skin and lift excess dirt and makeup without stripping the skin of natural oils. To do an even better job of removing summer damaged skin, consider a series of in-office light chemical peels through the fall to head into the holidays with a healthy glow.
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi is Founder and Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the George Washington Medical Center.