It’s that time of the year when well-intentioned resolutions begin to slip through people’s fingers. The most popular (and most often abandoned) goal people set is, in a nutshell, to get healthy — start a new diet program, sign up for a local gym membership. What these goals often overlook, however, is the health of your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ: your skin!
Biologically speaking, our skin protects us and our vital organs from the outside world. It’s our first line of defense against illness, and yet we so easily take it for granted.
Improved skin is certainly one byproduct of proper nutrition and maintaining an active lifestyle. However, with more focused attention, care, and advanced treatments, we can keep our skin healthier for much longer. Having healthy skin that can do its job means everything else will function better, too.
6 Helpful Skin Care Tips
If there is any industry that has skyrocketed beyond its saturation point with product options and conflicting information, it’s skin care. We live in a time when anyone can become a self-proclaimed skin guru and publish poorly-researched, subjective information based purely on anecdotal experience. This is why we have journalists calling skin care a con — but we can assure you that, at its core, science-based skin care is critical for overall emotional and physical health.
Here are a few tips to make sure your routine is working in support of (and not against) your skin’s natural, optimal functions.
1. Figure Out What’s Extra
Effective skin care is all about knowing and giving your skin what it really needs to function optimally, which can be broken down into a few basic steps: cleansing, toning and/or exfoliating, hydrating and moisturizing, targeted treatments, and SPF protection. Even these steps can be paired down further depending on your unique circumstances and skin goals, but sun protection is non-negotiable.
2. Ignore The Myths
Deciphering fact from fiction is easier said than done, but it’s important to remain mindful of the information you adhere to. For example, washing with water that’s piping hot (which does not open your pores) or really cold (which does not shrink your pores) can cause microscopic damage and inflammation to your skin.
Also make sure you’re not over-cleansing; problem skin is not dirty skin. Many people, for example, experience much happier, more balanced skin after skipping a morning cleanse.
3. Exfoliate With Caution
While it may feel good in the moment to use scrubs, most are too harsh and abrasive, disrupting your skin’s natural barrier function, which also changes with stress and age. Opt instead for an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) in a percentage that responds well with your skin, and use it only 1-3 times per week.
4. Prioritize Formula Over Price
Just because a product comes with a hefty price tag doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more effective. What matters is formulation, which is why we generally recommend you steer clear of both DIY recipes and ineffective, irritating ingredients like added fragrance, which is found in plenty of luxury skin care products.
Luckily, more companies are beginning to recognize the increasingly-educated consumer’s demand for transparency along with simple, yet effective, formulations.
The Ordinary, for example, was founded by Brandon Truaxe after he “notic[ed] the drastic difference between the cost of raw ingredients and the price of finished products.” Similarly, beauty expert Liah Yoo created Krave to help consumers get back to basics:
As a consumer, a lot of young customers start to apply more and more [products on their face], causing more inflammation, chronic skin disease or never curing acne or redness. There’s a fundamental issue in the skin-care industry.
— Liah Yoo, Krave founder
Their current line is made up of only a hydrating cleanser and gentle AHA exfoliator, but Liah says they’re currently working on a moisturizer and SPF.
While men can (and should) certainly use anything from the lines above, 75% of them shave every day, which requires a little extra routine TLC. When not executed properly, shaving can lead to increased sensitization and inflammation, which then leads to premature aging. Harry’s is one example of a brand who has curated a small collection of well-formulated products designed to cleanse, protect, and pamper the skin in support of an optimal shaving routine.
5. Seek True Experts
While the basics of skin care are universal, each step of your routine should be tailored to your skin’s unique needs. What works well for one person may not be right for you, so take product reviews with a few grains of salt. Trained and knowledgeable professionals like dermatologists and estheticians, however, are incredibly useful and can help you craft a customized routine that supports your skin.
6. Exploring Advanced Treatments
Facials and cosmetic procedures are often regarded as superfluous but, in truth, they are very effective ways to bring your skin to next level function, health, and clarity when done safely by trained professionals.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of skin care and have a better understanding of your skin’s specific needs, reassess your goals and what will make you feel your absolute best and most confident. Some of our favorite procedures right now include:
- Fraxel — A Fraxel Laser treatment is a great option if you’re looking to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation caused by acne or aging.
- Ulthera — Things like sun damage and rapid weight loss cause our tissues to lose elasticity. Ulthera is a non-surgical solution that uses ultrasound technology to target lax skin, without requiring the recovery period or pain of a facelift.
- SkinPen — If you’ve suffered from conditions like acne that have left your skin dull and scarred, microneedling with the SkinPen is a great way to catalyze your skin’s natural healing response to improve its health and appearance.
- Botox — For those looking for a quick way to get a more relaxed and refreshed look, Botox injections are safe and easy, and last an average of three to fourth months.
- Coolsculpting — While cellulite is perfectly healthy and normal, there are ways to get rid of it if you prefer a smoother look. Coolsculpting is a non-invasive procedure designed to destroy the layers of fat cells that cause the textured appearance.
Skincare is deeply personal, and what matters most is making the best-informed decisions that are right for you.