The New Year is the perfect time to review your skin care regimen and reevaluate how your habits can help (or hurt) your skin.
However, decisions are easy to make on January 1 and more difficult to maintain throughout the year. Changing behavior is hard, especially when it comes to our health, according to a study published in July 2016 in the journal Public Health. Every year, Harvard Health Publishing and others publish articles like “Seven Steps to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions” because it’s hard.
Harvard and others recommend breaking your goals down into small steps that you can easily complete. This will allow you to get some wins and feel the progress of your decision. Also, when you reach these small milestones, you should celebrate with something tangible like a medal, a gift, or some other form of victory circle. And don’t beat yourself up if you make a few mistakes, says the American Psychological Association: Change in health happens gradually, and progress is victory. Do not punish yourself for mistakes, because they are normal.
Long-term change isn’t easy, but consistency is key, especially in skincare, says Heather Richmond, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery in Houston. Regular use of high-quality skincare will make a big difference in the long run, she says, but don’t expect results overnight, especially when it comes to reducing the signs of aging. Take retinoids, for example: According to Harvard Medical School, they’re known to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but it can take up to six months of regular use before you notice improvements. So whatever decision you make now, plan to stick with it throughout 2022 for best results.
With that in mind, here are some skincare solutions five board-certified dermatologists want you to be taking in 2022.
1. Do Apply Sunscreen Every Day, Every Season
Sunscreen may seem simple, but it is the most effective skincare tool. All of the dermatologists quoted in this article say that daily sun protection is the best solution they want people to see.
“When people ask what the number one anti-aging cream is, it’s sunscreen,” says Cheryl Burgess, MD, founder and president of the Center for Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery in Washington, DC.
“Consistent use of sunscreen has been shown to have the greatest impact in preventing accelerated aging and skin cancer,” says Mamina Turegano, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Old Metheny, Louisiana. “I would like everyone to commit to applying sunscreen every day as part of their morning routine.”
She recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, as well as looking for a moisturizer with an SPF. Broad spectrum means that the sunscreen will protect against the harmful effects of UVA rays, which contribute to premature skin aging, and UVB rays, which cause sunburn, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
If you’ve come this far and think you’re liberated because you’re not outdoors during the winter months, think again: Research shows that even the blue light emitted by our computers and electronic devices has a negative effect on our skin. For example, one small study found that blue light exposure was associated with the formation of free radicals, which cause premature skin aging.
Not to mention, as the Skin Cancer Foundation points out, UVA rays can damage skin even through windows, such as when you’re in a car or working indoors in natural light.
“Sunscreen is now available 24/7,” says Dr. Burgess.
RELATED: Is Blue Light Harming Your Skin Health?
2. Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup
Sleeping in makeup can cause a host of skin problems, says Burgess, from clogged pores and breakouts to extremely dry lips, and you risk serious eye damage. “It’s a bad habit for a lot of people,” says Burgess.
Fortunately, this solution is simple: wash your face before your head hits the pillow. If you’re using an oil-based concealer, you’ll need a solvent-based makeup remover: Burgess recommends foaming cleansers “that can emulsify most foundations and lipsticks.” However, be sure to use a gentle cleanser around your eyes as they are more sensitive.
3. Do Winter-Proof Your Skin
“Winter is perhaps the harshest season for skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor of dermatology and director of clinical and cosmetic research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He recommends that people decide to use additional skincare products in winter, as cold weather, low humidity, and wind damage the outer layer of skin.
Look for products that contain humectant humectants like glycerin and ammonium lactate because those ingredients can actually draw moisture into your skin, says Burgess. She recommends AmLactin ($15.99, Amazon.com) as a drugstore option that won’t break the bank. Or she can look for generic ammonium lactate, which is usually less than $20 a bottle.
She may also opt for a cream or ointment, which usually comes in tubes or dips, rather than lotions, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Burgess recommends HydraFacial to help restore skin moisture during the winter months.
RELATED: Top Tips for Healthy Winter Skin
4. Don’t Use Indoor Tanning Beds
Even though research has shown that indoor tanning significantly increases the risk of melanoma, the AAD estimates that about 7.8 million American adults were still using tanning beds as early as 2015. ban tanning beds, as Brazil and Australia have done, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Dr. Richmond and Dr. Turegano both say tanning beds are a huge ban, and Turegano hopes tanning beds will be banned in 2022.
5. Do Throw Out Expired or Unused Products
Many people use the new year as a time to clean up their homes, and if your skincare shelf is out of whack, it might be time to cut costs.
Turegano can sympathize: “I like to try as many products as I can to see if they’re worth recommending, but my bathroom has become a dump with numerous half-full skincare containers, many of which are probably expired. skincare seems impossible.”
His personal skincare decision for 2022 is to organize and organize his skincare products, and he plans to use the KonMari method to edit and classify his products.
You’re not sure where to start? Check the expiration dates on all your skin care products and commit to throwing out anything that’s expired. Also, avoid anything that irritates your skin. Then try to optimize further,” says Turegano. “If you have two hyaluronic acid products, you probably don’t need both. When it comes to deciding what to skip, if you have the same type of product, look for one that may contain a higher percentage of the active ingredient.”
6. Don’t Pick Your Skin When You’re Stressed
Picking your skin can cause infections and scarring, and it’s a habit Turegano wants people to break in the new year. While she points out that many people pick at their skin to relieve stress, Turegano suggests that people resolve to find other stress-relieving alternatives to skin-picking in 2022, such as popping bubble wrap, aerobic exercise, and facials, that are recommended by the TLC Foundation. for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.
That said, in some cases, skin picking is a clinical impulse control disorder, according to the International OCD Foundation. They note that as many as 1 in 20 people lives with this condition, and according to a survey published in March 2021 by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, skin picking increased among this group during the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is the case for you, guidance from a mental health professional may be helpful. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help treat skin picking disorders, according to the International OCD Foundation.
7. Do Keep Your Routine Simple and Consistent
“I would like to see skincare become easier in 2022 and people move away from multi-step regimens,” says Dr. Zeichner. “More is not better and can only cause irritation. Excessive scrubbing, excessive exfoliation, and over-application of products are not necessarily better than sticking to a simple and effective skincare routine.”
Turegano says a good rule of thumb is to stick to three simple products that will make a difference: sunscreen, cleanser, and moisturizer.
8. Don’t Smoke
Nearly 40 million people in the US smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, with recreational cannabis use on the rise, the category of “smokers” is also expanding: in a 2021 Gallup poll, 12% of adults said they currently smoke cannabis, the highest number.
Whether you smoke a tobacco or marijuana cigarette, Burgess notes that smoking affects your skin, leaving it dry, dull or reddish. She suggests avoiding smoking in every way possible, which for cannabis users could mean switching to edibles rather than giving up THC.
If you want to kick your smoking habit by 2022, the CDC offers information and resources to help you get there, and the American Lung Association offers a Smoke-Free program that includes interactive online features and group counseling.
9. Do Amp Up Your Routine With Retinol and Vitamin C
If you’re happy with your current skincare regimen, you can always decide to enhance it by adding more targeted products. Richmond, Burgess, and Zeichner agree that skin benefits from vitamin C serum and sunscreen in the morning and retinol in the evening. (According to Harvard Health Publishing, retinol is a milder form of topical retinoid derived from vitamin A. Retinol products are available without a prescription, while retinoids generally require a prescription.)
“Vitamin C is an antioxidant,” says Burgess, “so this product helps with environmental stress, aging, and oxidation processes.” She says it’s helpful to wear under sunscreen, as it does the double duty of protecting from the sun’s rays and reducing the appearance of some sun spots or pigmentation.
Meanwhile, Richmond says that retinoids are the best evidence for minimizing the visible signs of aging, and her personal skincare solution is to increase the dose of retinol.
There are several types of over-the-counter retinol products, and studies show that all retinoids appear to reduce photoaging, so personal tolerance is the most important factor when trying to choose which one is best for you, says Dr. Rupal Kundu. , Associate Professor. in dermatology and medical education at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and founding director of the Northwest Ethnic Skin Center.
Dr. Kundu says that a retinol regimen will vary significantly based on geographic location, season, and skin type. For starters, Kundu recommends applying the product twice a week before bed: retinoids make you more sensitive to the sun, so apply at night at least two to three days apart. Then every one to two weeks you can increase to one additional application per week. “The long-term goal is to apply it at night if that’s bearable, but some will only be able to use it two or three times a week,” says Kundu.
In a nutshell, this improved routine is: “Protect your skin from damage in the morning and repair your skin at night,” says Zeichner.