We all make New Year's Resolutions for ourselves---and here is one for our skin---take care of it! There is so much in the media regarding skin care and it can become extremely confusing, extremely fast, when it comes to what can be beneficial for you. Here is the truth: it does not cost a mortgage payment in order to take care of your skin. Science shows us that there are a few items that are essential for skin care---and the rest of the stuff---is just stuff (don't waste your $$)!
Here are the few essentials that make a big impact:
1. MOISTURIZE: it sounds so easy, yet so few do this! Moisturizing is essential to protecting our skin barrier and keeping us looking hydrated. When you get out of the shower, leave some water droplets on the body and then apply your moisturizer (this traps in extra water!). I have dry skin, so I tend to use creams, which are thicker than lotions. You don't have to buy the most expensive moisturizer---just buy one you like and use it every day!
2. SUNSCREEN: do I really need to use sunscreen everyday??? YES YES YES! I mean, seriously, if you venture outside your house, then you need to apply sunscreen! During the summer, it is not sufficient to apply a makeup that includes sunscreen, but this can work in the depths of winter in the Midwest. Here is the key: get sunBLOCK, not sunSCREEN. Sunblock works by acting like a mirror over the skin and reflecting away the sun's rays. When you turn the bottle over to look at the ingredients, you will see Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide, not lots of ingredients you cannot pronounce. I use tinted sunblock everyday--best thing ever--it gives me a little glow and protects my skin!
3. RETINOID: once you hit your 20s, this should be added to your skin care regimen. Retinoids (or retinols) are topical vitamin A derivatives that help the skin in numerous ways: decrease unwanted pigment, lessen fine lines/wrinkles, increase skin cell turnover, thicken the deep part of our skin (dermis) by increasing collagen, and fight pre-cancerous cells. Retinoids can be drying, so talk to your doctor about which one to use (they also make you more sensitive to the sun). I use a retinoid every other night with my nighttime moisturizer--and will for the rest of my life! You should not use this during pregnancy.
4. ANTIOXIDANT: vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a great addition, but can be pricey depending on the brand you choose (talk to your doc about options). Vitamin C works by fighting the free radicals that are produced by harmful sun rays, decreasing unwanted pigment and increasing collagen. This is applied in the morning before anything else on the skin and acts as your first barrier against the sun. I have a friend you used Vitamin C on only one of her hands for years, in order to see if the serum actually works, and the results are impressive---it really does work!
OK--that's it: moisturize, sunscreen, retinoid and vitamin C. It's easy---and makes a lasting impact on the skin. So don't go and buy the next "miracle cream"---just add these steps and you will see a positive difference. Happy New Year!