As we recover from weeks (months?) of indulgences and stress thanks to the holiday season, it’s natural to want to change our ways this time of year. Though they may seem doomed, New Year’s resolutions aren’t all bad. As Stanford University reports, “Research shows that when people resolve to change, they immediately feel more confident, in control and hopeful.” What can make a resolution seem impossible, though, is failing to plan how to do it — not just what to do. If you’ve vowed to take care better care of yourself this year, whether that be emotionally, aesthetically, or physically, we’ve got 14 great ways you can start by taking better care of your skin.
1. Build a relationship with your dermatologist
If you don’t already have a dermatologist who you visit regularly, now is the time to find your main squeeze. Even if you’re healthy, having a relationship with a dermatologist can help identify minor issues before they become larger and build a partnership where both you and your doctor understand your goals and can work toward them.
2. Wear sunblock
Sure, you know you should be wearing sunblock, but did you realize that you should be wearing broad-spectrum coverage of at least SPF 30 every day, regardless of whether you plan to spend much time outside? Wearing sunblock (along with sun protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat) now can protect you from premature aging and skin cancer.
Stress is one of the causes of premature aging. Yes, a day or two at the spa could certainly help, but there are myriad other ways to reduce stress in your everyday life (and reap the rewards on your face).
4. Screen for skin cancer
It’s recommended that everyone do a skin self-exam monthly to keep track of any moles or lesions that might change or develop over time. If you spot anything unusual, it’s a breeze to submit a digital query to your dermatologist through SkyMD. When it comes to skin cancer, early detection makes a huge difference in preventing complications down the road.
5. Take your makeup off before bed (yes, every night)
Sleeping in your makeup blocks your pores, causing bacteria to sink in overnight, leading to breakouts and blackheads. This year, resolve to cut this nasty habit completely.
6. Use fewer chemicals
You don’t have to embrace a full flower child lifestyle to enjoy the benefits of exposing yourself to fewer potentially harmful skin care products. The Environmental Working Group provides an extensive list of chemicals to avoid, and your dermatologist can certainly suggest the best products for your skin care regimen.
7. Get skin issues checked asap
Waiting to take care of skin problems that crop up throughout the year can be time-consuming and costly — not to mention dangerous. This year, choose a time limit and commit to getting anything worrisome checked before the time limit runs out.
8. Clean up your (makeup) act
There are numerous ways bacteria can end up in your makeup and makeup brushes. Start the year with a clean slate by tossing out-of-date products, thoroughly cleaning your brushes, and committing to cut out any habits that are helping to foster bacteria.
9. Get an antiaging regimen
No need to look like Father Time. Contact your dermatologist through SkyMD and make a plan for how you’ll avoid letting 2016 show on your face.
10. Sleep more
Getting less than the recommended amount of sleep can wreak havoc on your skin. It can worsen existing skin conditions, weaken your immune system, and leave your skin generally looking “blah.”
11. Clear up the skin issues you’ve been ignoring
Yes, this is the year you can finally take control of your skin. Whether you’re plagued by acne, dandruff, psoriasis, or a nail fungus, your dermatologist can help you clear up irritating or unsightly issues so that you can face the world with confidence.
12. Protect your skin from winter weather
Winter is hard on skin. Outside, cold, dry airs sucks the moisture out of skin, and indoors, heated air worsens matters. Adopt a thorough winter skin care regimen to prevent ill effects.
13. Quit smoking
As if you needed another reason to quite, smoking is one of the number one causes of premature aging. Do your skin a favor and make this the year you ban the habit.
14. Love the way you look
Whether it’s thin lips or drooping eyelids, you don’t have to live with the minor imperfections that God (or time) has given you. Consult with your dermatologist to see the array of cosmetic solutions that can help you love seeing yourself in the mirror.