In the words of my favorite dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss,
“When I talk about aging, I always say there are five main things you look at: lines, volume loss, color of your skin, elasticity, and your bone structure. I can’t do jack shit for your bone structure—look at your mom and dad, that’s probably how it’s going to go.”
What I love about her is how, despite being one of the most sought-after dermatologists in NYC, she believes less is more. She works with her patients by helping them enhance their natural beauty instead of making them look like plastic. She tries to take the most natural approach knowing that there is a tiny level of narcissism and vanity in all of us.
If I were to get needles or lasers near my face, she would be the only one I would trust. To each his own, but a dermatologist and an esthetician are not the same when it comes to knowledge of the skin. One of them goes to med school for a minimum of 11 years and the other completes 600 hours of training. In the end, it is your choice, but it is an important decision whose hands you choose to leave the fate of your face on. (I wouldn’t mind going to an esthetician for a facial, but not Botox and fillers.)
Here are the six skincare promises to make for yourself this year.
1. Go see a dermatologist
We can follow all the Instagram models, learn makeup tricks, invest in skincare products but as we go to our primary care physician for a yearly physical- you should make a yearly appointment with a dermatologist to check the health of your skin.
A dermatologist can help treat any skin concern before it is too late or teach you how to properly care for your skin. Melasma is a deadly form of skin cancer that has gone up significantly for women between 18 and 39.
Which brings me to my second promise. However, make it a point to see a dermatologist in 2020.
2. Wear SPF every single day.
I get sun poisoning and I have a skin condition called photodermatitis, which taught me from an early age to avoid direct exposure to sunlight and wear SPF every day because of how my skin reacted to the sun.
The truth is sun exposure is responsible for most of the visible aging of the skin. The UV of the sun is the primary cause of wrinkles, pigmentation, sunspots, reduced skin elasticity and the degradation of skin texture. Almost everyone knows this but not everyone follows this rule.
Sunscreen is a must at any age. At least SPF 30 and make sure to reapply.
3. Do your research before committing to procedures.
Dr. Idriss’ philosophy is that if it is done well “the combination of threads and fillers can really do a beautiful job.” You should not do what is not necessary. However, there are plenty of “professionals” out there who will easily try to convince you that you need more than you actually do. Go for consultations and if you are not sure, don’t do it. Look at the people in the office, would you like to look like them? That should be a good indicator of the quality of their work.
I find fillers fascinating and I cannot wait to get them in my nasolabial folds but not until I find someone I can trust with my face.
We are so used to noticing our flaws that we may feel it is never enough but make sure to know your limits before you get too carried away.
4. Exercise for your face too.
There are tons of studies that show that people who are physically active tend to have a younger biological age than those who do not, and I am sure you know people who appear younger than they are due to their healthier lifestyle choices. It has been said that exercise can also reverse skin aging to a point, keeping the skin looking younger. So, it must be true that physical activity has an anti-aging effect at a cellular level. Plus, exercise produces endorphins, which only make you feel better.
5. Remember that one size does not fit all.
Take the time to know your skin type as different people have different skin needs. Adopt a skincare routine that works for you. There are some people who do perfectly with two products, and some need a minimum of ten. Specific products and ingredients target specific skin concerns. If you want to target hyperpigmentation, use vitamin c and niacin. Some people exfoliate better with lactic acid and some with glycolic acid.
Makeup is fun—some use a lot, some use little, and some do not use it at all. The amount of makeup you put on your face should not be your defining factor. Do what you enjoy without concealing who you really are, but always wash your face before bed. Also everyone needs to moisturize, and your skin heals itself in your sleep, some may need five hours, and some may need ten. It all depends on your unique individuality.
6. Educate yourself about your skin and what is going on.
In the words of my idol and Chicago’s most amazing lifestyle and fashion bloggers Jenn Lake,
“‘Loving the skin you’re in’ so much more than a product, brand, treatment, facial, etc. I’m still learning to be confident in the skin I’m in (age, wrinkles and all)! However, the one thing I know for sure is I want to focus on being more beautiful on the inside.”
She values the importance of becoming more educated and informed about the ingredients that we are including in our skincare routine. She also strongly recommends researching the brand you choose to buy from because as consumers, we vote with our wallets at the register and we should invest with companies that are ethical and making advances towards being cleaner.
Last but not the least, do not give in to the easiest or trendiest fad. Fads come and go and almost all of them fade.
What I can tell you is the importance of taking care of your skin is to establish healthy habits early on to prevent skincare concerns before having to treat them. Precaution is better than cure, and safety first.