A Year of Healthy Skin

woman washing faceIt is estimated that over half of people who make New Year’s resolutions have given up by February. But here is a resolution that is easy to keep and one that can reap great rewards:  Plan on making 2013 the year of healthy skin. Just as wardrobes change throughout the seasons, so should skin care to keep up with a changing environment.

In winter, very dry indoor air and harsh winds wreak havoc on the moisture levels and the barrier protective function of the skin, leaving it parched, itchy and irritated. Since indoor heated air has the same dryness as the desert, make sure to have a humidifier in the bedroom at night. Moist air allows the skin to maintain a healthy level of hydration while improving the performance of a thick moisturizer which attracts and locks in that hydration against the skin. A good ingredient to look for in a body moisturizer to lock in water is hyaluronic acid.

In spring and summer, it’s time to really ramp up the level of sun protection. Because sun damage is cumulative, a good resolution is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen which covers both UVA and UVB rays of at least SPF 30 every day. Zinc and titanium are particularly good sunblock ingredients to look for as they provide excellent broad-spectrum coverage and are gentle enough to use even on the most sensitive skin. However, sunscreen is just one part of a complete sun protection plan. Sunscreen used in combination with avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when it is the strongest, use of hats and sunglasses, seeking shade and wearing protective clothing when possible, all add up to the best sun protection for you and your family.

As sun, surf, sand, and chlorine can cause the skin to look dull and dehydrated, autumn is a time to refresh the skin with extra exfoliation. For the body, a cream-based exfoliating scrub can be applied gently on dry skin then rinsed well in the shower. Follow up immediately after the shower with a shea butter or ceramide containing moisturizer for the best results. For the face, gentle exfoliation with a vibrating handheld brush used every other day is sufficient to remove dead skin and lift excess dirt and makeup without stripping the skin of natural oils. After all, winter is right around the corner and you’ll need to start thinking about preparing for dry skin again …!