A new year is here and while many people are making their resolutions I thought I would share four skin care resolutions that everyone can make.
1. Protect your skin from the sun. This is the single best thing you can do for your skin to prevent photoaging and skin cancer. Top priority is trying to minimize sun exposure, staying in the shade, and wearing clothing and hats to protect the skin. But avoiding the sun is not always possible or practical, so be sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Many daily moisturizers include sunscreen but often the SPF is minimal. This is of course better than no protection but I strongly encourage the use of SPF 50 or higher.
2. Check your skin. Most people don't think of visiting a dermatologist unless there is something "wrong" with their skin. Like most things, preventative maintenance is better than waiting to take corrective action. Worse yet is the possibility of missing the opportunity to treat a potentially dangerous skin condition before it progresses. I recommend that everyone do a self skin examination. If you notice any changing or suspicious lesions it is important to get in to see your dermatologist. Annual skin reviews can be an important way to monitor your skin, particularly if you have fair skin, lots of moles or freckles, or a personal or family history of skin cancer.
3. Use a retinol cream. Retinoids are chemical compounds derived from Vitamin A. While high potency oral retinoids are used to treat skin conditions including acne and psoriasis, the science indicates that low dose topical retinoid creams are valuable for general skin health, including minimizing fine wrinkles, reducing brown pigmentation, preventing precancerous lesions and improving acne. Topical retinoid creams are often prescription based, but there are physician directed skin care lines that also contain retinol and have good evidence supporting their effectiveness.
4. Embrace a daily skin care routine. There are lots of skin care products on the market touting all sorts of claims and very few are backed by science. However, there are some physician directed skin care lines that I recommend to patients, including SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals and Obagi. These brands have scientific studies backing their claims. Key products that I recommend include antioxidants, retinol, and of course sunscreen. I find that using a system such as these can help to form a positive habit of using sunscreen every morning and retinol at night, along with a daily cleanser and moisturizer.
If you stick with these resolutions your skin will thank you.