Back in the day, I used to make many New Year’s resolutions: Get in shape! Be a better friend! Be on time! But my goals were way too ambitious and way too vague, making them impossible to stick to. I have now whittled my New Year’s resolution list to a specific and realistic one per calendar year. Last year it was “eat more fruit, fewer cookies.” I’d say it went very well, save for a few Oreo incidents.
This year, I was considering the various bad habits I should resolve to break (too many to enumerate here) and zeroed in on my worst one of all: falling asleep with a full face of makeup. I never feel more shame than when I wake up with wonky false eyelashes and pores packed with foundation.
It occurred to me that there must be so many more bad skin habits one should break, and good habits one should make. So I asked a bunch of interesting experts (a sleep doctor! a naturopath!) for one thing we should all stop doing and another thing we should start doing in 2019. Feel free, of course, to try them all; or follow my lead and choose just one. Because making even a singular change will give you noticeably prettier, healthier skin next year.
The Aesthetician Says:
Stop: Leaving Your skin bare after washing
“You have [approximately] a one-minute window before moisture starts to evaporate,” says Renée Rouleau, celebrity aesthetician and founder Renée Rouleau® Skincare. “Skin cells are like fish and need water to live.”
To prevent dehydration, pat your skin dry with a towel, and then immediately apply an alcohol-free toner, like Rouleau’s Moisture Infusion Toner ($42). Follow with serum and moisturizer. “Doing so ensures the skin never gets an opportunity to have that tight, dry feeling that signals dehydration,” Rouleau explains.
Start: Matching Your Skincare to Your Age
A lot of women get stuck in a skincare rut, and are using the same products they used a decade ago. “If you are not in your early twenties anymore, you shouldn’t be using harsh, over-drying acne products,” says Rouleau. “In your thirties, your skin needs antioxidants, hydration, and skin-comforting ingredients to keep it in a healthy state.” Your skin changes as you age: “Make time to go see a trusted skincare professional who can help pinpoint exactly what your skin needs.” (Click here to discover the exact skincare ingredients you need to use in your forties and in your fifties).
The Sleep Expert Says:
Stop: Falling Asleep to Your Screens
“Blue light from your phone, computer, and TV suppress sleep-inducing melatonin production for more than twice as long as other light wavelengths,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist and sleep expert. “Sufficient amounts of high-quality sleep are critical for cell rejuvenation, the production of skin-supporting collagen, and the skin’s capacity to hold water to keep it moisturized and supple.”
If you must use your screens before bed, try his Sleep DoctorTM Luminere Blue Light Blocking Glasses ($100), which shield your eyes from those sleep-disrupting wavelengths coming from your tech.
Start: Weaning the Bean
“While coffee is in many ways a healthy habit, the sleep you get after drinking caffeine is [often] poor quality. To prevent this, I recommend caffeine fading: Drink higher caffeine beverages in the morning and choose lower caffeine drinks, like green tea, in the midafternoon. Ideally, switch completely to water by 2:00 or 3:00 pm,” he recommends.
The Naturopath Says:
Stop: Overindulging in Sugar
“Americans eat an average of 22.2 teaspoons of sugar per day — a shockingly large amount that can increase the risk of both health and skin problems,” says licensed naturopathic doctor Trevor Cates, ND. “Consuming sugar, or anything that turns to sugar in the body, increases blood glucose which in turn increases insulin,” she explains. “High insulin has been shown to stimulate sebum production and androgen activity, which can trigger acne.” For a more skin-friendly sweet fix, reach or fruit, which contains natural, unrefined sugars.
Start: Eating Avocado
Turns out, there’s (derm-approved!) truth to the whole skin superfoods trend — specifically when it comes to good fats. “An avocado a day may just keep the dermatologist away,” jokes Cates. “This is because they contain monounsaturated ‘good’ fats, which help nourish our skin cells. They’re also high in antioxidants such as polyphenols and vitamin E, which help combat oxidative damage that can accelerate skin aging.” Consider this a sign to load up on guacamole in 2019.
The Makeup Artist Says:
Stop: Fearing Liquid Foundation
Too many women choose powder foundation because it feels lightweight and is easy to use; but that doesn’t make it right for dehydrated or mature skins,” says Laura Geller, makeup artist and founder of Laura Geller New York®. “I find so many women are afraid to wear liquid or cream foundations because they think it will feel asphyxiating, but the right one just feels hydrating and makes fine lines and wrinkles look softer.”
“With so much contouring and highlighting still going on, I'd love to see more blending, too,” says Geller. “Sweep a large powder brush over your entire face to soften any hard edges that might be noticeable.” Bonus: Use your brush with a finishing powder to soften and blur any uneven makeup application (try Make Up For Ever® Ultra HD Microfinishing Loose Powder, $20). I personally love her Matte Maker Oil Blotting Powder ($24), which also neutralizes any excess oil on your skin.
The Dermatologist Says:
Stop: Ignoring Your Wrinkles
If you have moderate to severe wrinkles, you may be a candidate for injectable treatments. “Don’t be afraid to try injectable wrinkle reducers and filler,” says Jeanine Downie, M.D., director of Image Dermatology® in Montclair, NJ. You can [still] look the same only with less apparent wrinkles or more volume in certain areas of the face (such as cheeks and lips).
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more by chatting now with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
Start: Exercising regularly
If the sculpting benefits of working out aren’t compelling you to get off the couch, maybe the skincare benefits will. “Exercising on a consistent basis, five times a week, will improve your circulation and decrease your stress level,” says Downie. “Not only will it improve your muscle tone and bone density, but it will also improve the blood perfusion to your skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients so skin looks better.” In other words, making time for a quick sweat session can trigger glowier skin, naturally.
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