Make the most of this new year by adopting a few changes that will help improve and preserve the health of your skin. Here’s a list of lifestyle enhancements you can implement every week in January.
Week 1: Get Moving and Boost Circulation
Did you know that when you exercise, you’re also invigorating your skin? That’s right – your heart, lungs, and complexion all benefit from daily cardio.
Exercise helps nourish and maintain skin cells by increasing blood flow. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrient compounds to functioning cells in all parts of the body, and also helps to flush toxins and waste from active cells. You can almost think of exercise as an internal cleansing routine!
However, if you exercise outdoors, you must take care to shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays, which can cause significant long-term damage. Before heading out for a morning jog, always use an effective, water-resistant sunscreen. One of our favorites is WestDerm Water-Resistant Mineral Sunscreen, an SPF 50 formula that delivers breathable, long-lasting protection that is gentle enough for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
To maximize your sun protection, wear exercise clothes with as much coverage as practicable. Look for long-sleeved shirts and pants with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of at least 50.
Week 2: Healthy Food for a Healthy Glow
Give yourself an extra week to enjoy the last of the New Year’s treats before taking a look at how your diet impacts your skin’s health and vibrancy. While your favorite holiday foods might be comforting and delicious, they might not be the best choice for your skin health.
The foods you eat influence how your body functions and looks; nutrient-dense foods affect your skin’s elasticity and clarity. However, processed foods with little nutritional value also affect your skin’s elasticity and clarity — for the worse. Years of poor nutrition can compromise the skin’s ability to heal, leaving it sallow, dry, and prone to inflammation. A diet deficient in zinc, vitamins E, C, and D, and omega-3 fatty acids can make you more susceptible to acne, keratosis pilaris, and eczema flare-ups.
The right nutrients can help your skin overcome oxidative stress and enhance its elasticity. Adopting a healthy diet with plenty of vitamin-rich and colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help slow the aging process and neutralize the free radicals that cause serious skin damage. Additionally, your diet can help minimize breakouts of chronic conditions like psoriasis.
Week 3: Improve Sleep Hygiene
Would it surprise you to find out that one of the most effortless ways to get clearer, healthier skin is to lie down and get some shut eye?
Even when we’re sleeping, our bodies continue to work repairing our cells, flushing toxins, and promoting cognitive function. If you’ve ever felt sore, sluggish, and foggy after missing a night of sleep, it’s because your body was unable to perform its work — leaving you worse for wear. Over time, lack of proper sleep can cause significant health consequences, accelerate aging, and diminish your skin’s radiance.
Maintaining a consistent sleep routine is crucial to the health of your skin. Make sure you achieve at least seven hours of restful sleep per night and do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day — even on weekends and vacations. Be sure to wind down at the end of the day and avoid screen time right before bed; staring at smartphones, computers, and TV screens can interfere with the brain’s ability to unwind, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Week 4: Make Time to De-Stress
Chronic, unmanaged stress can cause significant damage to your appearance as well as to your overall health. Emotional stress can inhibit the repair of the epidermal barrier, which facilitates moisture retention and offers protection from bacteria and other potentially harmful pathogens. Moreover, increased levels of cortisol — the stress hormone — have been linked to thinning skin, inflammation, and accelerated aging.
Stress management strategies can significantly reduce stress-related cellular damage. Some of the most effective stress reduction techniques include:
- Mindful meditation
- Deep breathing
Week 5: Make an Appointment with a Qualified Dermatologist
Make regular visits to your dermatologist one of your New Year’s healthy habits! While you can adopt numerous lifestyle changes that will help preserve your healthy, youthful skin, having a medical professional evaluate your skin once a year can also help keep you and your skin healthy. At an annual visit our physicians and providers can recommend specific, individualized skin treatments that will directly address your unique issues and detect skin cancers and other conditions before they worsen.
To schedule an appointment with our board-certified team of dermatologists and skin care experts, please visit our information page to find a location nearest you today.