There’s nothing like the promise of a bright and shiny new year that makes us want to be the healthiest, happiest versions of ourselves — our skin included. So, every January 1st, we make a pledge or two to treat our skin even better, whether that’s adding a powerful ingredient to our regimen or simply sticking to a routine at all. However, while we have the best of intentions, what we prioritize for our skin’s health might not be what a doctor recommends.
This time around, to truly start the year right, we tapped dermatologists and plastic surgeons from across the country. Here, they weigh in on the skin moves we should all resolve to make in 2020. Some of their answers are no-brainers (please, please wear sunscreen every day!), but others are less common pieces of advice, ranging from tweaks to your diet for better skin to using fewer products. Read on for the resolutions doctors truly want you to stick to this year.
Skincare Resolution #1: Toss Your Mega-Magnifying Mirror
“I hope my patients will throw out their 10x magnifying mirrors. Nearly every day, patients come in distraught over lip lines or crow’s feet that I can’t detect at all with my 2x magnifiers. They readily agree with me that they can only see the ‘problem’ in their 10x magnifiers. After 40 years of hearing this dilemma, my heartfelt advice is to throw out those intense magnifying mirrors. Trade them in for a 3x magnifier, which works fine for makeup application.” —Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist in Aventura, Florida, and founder of Dr. Loretta® Skincare
Skincare Resolution #2: Lead an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
“Inflammation sets off alarm bells in our body that leads to all sorts of compromises in our body and skin health, from immune suppression to even cancer development. Decreasing stress and inflammation slows the aging process and increases the body's ability to repair and restore itself — whether from a dermatology treatment or a surgical procedure. Simple daily routines can help develop this mindset and lifestyle. Think of food and drink as fuel for your body, not just satisfying a craving. Commit to good habits like daily sunscreen with an antioxidant to decrease inflammation related to sunlight and environmental exposures. Do maintenance exercise or mind-quieting exercise that you enjoy. This could include anything from physical activity three times a week to beginning a simple meditation practice, or committing to stretching or yoga.” —Melanie Palm, MD, MBA, FAAD, FAACS, board-certified dermatologist and medical director at Art of Skin MD® in San Diego, California
Skincare Resolution #3: Get Serious About Sun Protection
“This may sound like the most boring skincare resolution, but it’s the most critical! I wish everyone would be more careful to protect their skin from the sun. Almost no one protects their skin from ultraviolet light as well or as consistently as they should — which is a key reason why skin cancer is an epidemic in the U.S., and part of why cosmetic treatments to reverse [certain] sun damage are so popular. Taking steps to guard against excess ultraviolet light exposure is the most important way to keep skin healthy, beautiful, and glowing over the long-term.
Steps that can help: Avoid peak hours of sun, seek out the shade when possible, wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen over exposed areas when out and about, reapply it regularly, and/or wear protective hats, clothing, and sunglasses. I encourage (or beg, scold, plead, bribe, whatever!) my patients to never, ever do indoor tanning. Many people in this country still use tanning beds, but it’s a fast-track to skin cancer and aged-looking skin. It’s one of the reasons I see so many cases of melanoma — a potentially deadly skin cancer — in young women.” —Laurel Naversen Geraghty, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology & Laser Associates℠, LLP in Medford, Oregon
"I hope that all my patients will use a proper sunscreen in the upcoming year so that their skin and [the results of aesthetic treatments or] surgeries will be protected. I love ISDIN®Eryfotona Actinica® with SPF 50+, as it is very light and has DNA repair enzymes in it.” —Melissa Doft, MD, double board-certified plastic surgeon at Doft Plastic Surgery℠ in New York, New York
Skincare Resolution #4: Curb Your Sugar Habit
“I wish my patients would commit to drinking less soda pop. Sugar is a dietary cause of premature aging in two major ways: glycation, wherein the sugar bonds to collagen in the skin, [causing] it to become kinked and more aged, and by causing inflammation via insulin spikes. [So], the less patients drink soda pop, the better!” —Anthony Youn, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon at Youn Plastic Surgery℠ in Troy, Michigan
Skincare Resolution #5: Take the Plunge Into the World of Lasers and Microneedling
“I would love for people who have been toying with the idea of [an injectable wrinkle reducer or microneedling] treatment for a long time to take the leap and book a consultation!” —Lesley Rabach, MD, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon at LM Medical NYC℠ in New York, New York
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.
Skincare Resolution #6: Streamline Your Skincare Routine
“I wish my patients would stop dabbling in so many skincare products. Every day, I see patients who are pink, irritated, rashy, bumpy, itchy, and a little or a lot miserable. It’s all because they feel they need to keep trying and applying all of the latest serums, brighteners, toners, lotions, masks, essential oils, makeup, and more. Our skin is a strong, supple, flexible, and resilient barrier to the outside world, but we can easily compromise its functioning — and induce rash and irritation — if we throw too much at it. An effective skincare regimen should be simple and non-irritating, incorporate active ingredients in the right concentration, and [be] applied in an appropriate way.” —Dr. Laurel Naversen Geraghty
Doctors Melanie Palm and Anthony Youn are paid Allergan® consultants.