One of your New Year's resolutions should be to be good to your skin, and dermatologists have 10 ways to help.
"All the stresses and excesses of the holidays can leave your skin in bad shape, which makes you feel low, too," said Dr. Megan Rogge, an assistant professor of dermatology the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
"At the start of a new year, we all want to look great," she added in a university news release. "The good news is that with a little extra time and effort, or sometimes just breaking bad habits, you can change your skin condition for the better."
- Chill out: Stress can cause many skin problems and make some worse. So try to relax. "Acne, psoriasis, eczema, and certain types of hair loss all get worse when you're feeling stressed. Unfortunately, these are the four most common complaints of my patients," Rogge said. Yoga or meditation can help you decompress, but even simple breathing exercises can make a difference, she said."
- Give your diet a makeover: A healthy diet not only helps control weight, it also will make your skin look better. Dr. Rajani Katta, a clinical professor of dermatology at UT, urges her patients "to eat more foods rich in antioxidants, especially fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, since they've been shown to help combat the effects of free radicals." These take a toll on skin.
- Use sunscreen: "Even in winter, the sun's rays still emit damaging ultraviolet radiation. I advise using a product with an SPF of 30, and placing it by your toothbrush so you don't forget each morning," Rogge said.
- Drink lots of water: It's easy to become dehydrated in winter. Beyond fatigue and other health effects, "dehydration also accentuates fine lines and wrinkles," Katta said.
- Remove makeup at day's end: Use a gentle cleanser morning and evening. "Any buildup of dirt or oil in your skin can leave it looking flat. It can also block your pores, resulting in acne breakouts and irritations," Rogge said.
- Get your zzzzzs: Scientific research supports the importance of beauty sleep. "Being sleep-deprived can increase those dreaded dark circles. Concealer can help hide the issue, but there's no substitute for shut-eye," Katta said.
- Use moisturizer: For best results, use thick creams, not lotions. "Applying twice daily is normally sufficient, and you can help lock in moisture further by applying while your skin is still damp," Rogge said.
- Get plenty of fresh air: The effects of poor air quality can show on your face. "Secondhand smoke and pollution can also accelerate aging of the skin," Katta said. Antioxidant-rich foods will help protect your skin from pollution and smoke-induced free radicals.
- Keep up with your skin routine: Great skin takes effort, particularly as you age. "Setting a routine morning and night is crucial because most skin care regimens give the best results when they are consistently followed," Rogge said.
- Be patient: "Although it's natural to want a product to have an immediate impact, it usually takes six weeks to be able to assess its effectiveness and start noticing any significant difference," Rogge said.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about healthy skin.
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