New Year's Resolutions for Healthier Skin

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD Health Guide
  • As 2008 quickly approaches, you are probably thinking of possible resolutions for the New Year. Along with the usual resolutions of a losing weight and exercising, try adding several that pertain to good skin care. I assure you - these are much easier to stick to than cutting out sweets.


    It easy to start some new rituals for your skin in 2008 that will help reduce your chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer. An added benefit of my suggested steps (below) is that they will also keep your skin looking healthier and younger.


    1. Apply a moisturizer with at least SPF 30 to your face and other sun exposed areas on a daily basis. Your skin will benefit from the moisturizer because the sun, wind, and dry air "suck" the moisture from your skin and leave your skin feeling, and looking rough.

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    And as long as you're using a moisturizer, you may as well use one that has sun protection. These moisturizers are intended for daily use and do not feel like the older sunscreens that are thick and have an odor. Apply to your face, the back of the hands, and the neck on a daily basis. This may add 30 seconds to your daily morning ritual but your skin will end up appearing years younger and hopefully free of cancer.


    2. The second easy resolution is to perform a self-skin exam on a monthly basis (or 5 times yearly if this more attainable than monthly). It will only take several minutes. While most people will notice a growth on their face, it is more difficult to detect a changing mole on the lower back so use mirrors to try to get a look at areas you usually do not see. Make note of any mole that appears different than the others and then you will have a basis of comparison for the next self-skin exam.


    Many people do not feel confident in their ability to detect a new or changing growth but studies have shown self-skin exams to be very effective in detecting abnormal moles and skin cancers. In addition to self skin exams, visit your dermatologist on a yearly basis for a head to toe skin exam. Both the self exam and the yearly exam in the dermatologist's office complement each other. One should not replace the other.



    3. A third resolution is to invest in a wide-brimmed hat to wear instead of the baseball cap. A baseball cap does not provide the kind of adequate sun protection that a wide-brimmed hat does. I know this will be difficult for those who use their baseball caps to make a fashion statement, but think of the statement you can make with this new type of hat! Wearing this type of hat should not replace the use of sunscreen on the face but will complement it and help prevent sun damage that leads to discoloration, wrinkles, and skin cancer.


    4. The last simple resolution to make is to stop going to the tanning bed for those of you who do so on a consistent or episodic basis. The artificial sunlight make give you the tanned appearance you desire but it can also lead to skin cancers that will leave you with scars at the very least, and worse, cancers that can be fatal. Instead, try the spray-on tans or self-tanning creams available over the counter (these contain an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone). Going to the tanning bed is a hard habit to break but give it a try in 2008.


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    I hope I have given you some simple ideas for the New Year that will help give you healthier and younger appearing skin. These are simple steps that will lead you into a healthier 2008. Happy New Year!

Published On: December 17, 2007