2015 Ewan McLuada
Resolutions, as honest as our intentions may be, often prove pretty tough to keep. Take trying to leave behind a lost love, for instance, or perhaps waking up at the crack of dawn to work out — ambitious, yes, but both are easier said than done, no? As much as we wax poetic about the positive effects of goal setting, it’s important to remember not to be so hard on ourselves. Instead, start with something simple, like taking better care of your complexion. Unlike certain resolutions — which can sometimes turn into regrets — giving your skin the TLC it deserves is always a good plan. Which is exactly why we should all make it a point to step up our skincare game in the year ahead.
To kick-start this operation and get us all on the right track, we turned to dermatologists Dr. Sejal Shah and Dr. Howard Sobel for the deep dive on the skincare rules — or resolutions, if you will — that make a serious difference in maintaining a balanced and clear visage. For a skincare aficionado, some of the following may seem like mere fundamentals, but you’d be surprised by how many people skip these basic (yet crucial) steps. Sound like you? Start scrolling for their words of wisdom — and while you’re at it, let us know your 2016 resolutions in the comments below.
Wear SPF Every. Single. Day.
While this should seem elementary by now, there are still legions of people (myself included) that tend to forget how vital sun protection really is. “Sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do for your skin,” confirmed Dr. Shah. “It not only protects your skin against skin cancer and sun damage, but it is the foundation of any anti-aging routine,” she added. There you go, kids — slather on your SPF religiously and your chances of seeing early signs of aging will go down significantly.
Pizza and ice cream will satiate your taste buds, that’s for sure, but as for clearing up your skin? Not so much. Dr. Sobel recommends resolving to eat a cleaner diet, one rich in fruits and vegetables (side note: haven’t our parents totally been telling us this for years?). He also suggests steering clear of nasty trans fats (i.e. doughnuts, cookies, crackers, etc. etc.) which he says cause inflammation in the body. “A clean diet provides the skin with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation,” he explained. Case in point: up the ante on those fruits and veggies, and do your best to cut down on the junk — your skin will thank you for it.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life and have yet to learn of the negative effects of smoking, then we’ll go ahead and assume you all know how atrocious it is for you. “Smoking has a number of negative effects on your body, both internally and externally,” said Dr. Shah. In addition to causing a slew of terrible diseases,smoking also causes premature wrinkles and aging of the skin. “It constricts blood vessels inhibiting blood flow and therefore nutrients and oxygen to the skin,” Dr. Shah explained. “Even the act of smoking, the repetitive pursing of the lips and furrowing of the brow can accelerate wrinkle formation,” she you have it: if you want healthy, ageless skin, put down the pipe, or you know, the cigarette.
Never Go to Bed With Your Makeup On
Though it sounds simple, we know firsthand just how much of a struggle it can be to go through the motions of taking your makeup off after a long day. But we must power through! Because, according to Dr. Shah, skipping this step can lead to a myriad of scary skin situations like clogged pores and acne, or even skin irritation and rashes. Yikes. If you’re looking for a minimalist approach to makeup removal, we suggest an oil or balm-based cleanser (this onerocks), as they break down every last trace of makeup in seconds, and can be easily rinsed off with a warm washcloth or a makeup wipe. For really late nights, we advise keeping a pack of wipes next to your bed so you won’t forget.
Don’t Pick at Your Skin
We’re all guilty of it, but that’s because it’s a real toughie — especially when it feels like that one pimple-scab-thing has made a permanent home on your chin, amirite? Yet, it’s a skincare commandment for a reason, which means we need to try our very best to follow it. “Picking increases inflammation in the skin, worsening the appearance of whatever was there to begin with,” said Dr. Shah. “It also increases the risk of scarring and discoloration,” she added. Resist the urge!
Stay Loyal to a Routine That Works for You
While it may be tempting to try every innovative product that hits the market, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different, and what may work miracles on one person’s complexion could wreak havoc on yours. Dr. Shah recommends finding a routine that works for you, rather than following trends, and sticking with it. “Skincare is changing on a daily basis, from new ingredients to new treatments, but if your routine works for you, then there is no need to hop on the bandwagon,” she explained. “In fact, changing your skincare too often can have a negative impact on your skin,” she added. On the flip side, if your skincare regimen isn’t working for you, take a trip to the derm and devise a plan together — just remember, it could take a few weeks to really see results from a new routine, so hang in there and stay consistent.
Clean Your Makeup Tools
Just the thought of a grimy makeup brush that hasn’t been washed in weeks is enough to make us break out in hives. So, if you don’t know how to properly clean your brushes, give this helpful guide a read-through and you’ll be a pro in no time. While it may seem like a tedious chore, Dr. Shah warned us that failing to keep any tools that touch your skin clean can lead to a host of skin ailments, from acne and skin irritation, to rashes and skin infections — i.e. basically all the stuff we want to steer clear of in 2016. Incorporate a Gentle Peel Into Your Regime — According to Dr. Sobel, using a light glycolic peel every three months will help keep skin looking fresh, youthful, and glowing. This one by Caudalie is safe for all skin types and works to tighten, improve texture, and boost radiance in as little as 10 minutes. Plus it feels super-lovely on the skin.