In my 30 years as a dermatologist, I've seen and spoken to countless people, and they all want to know the secret to beautiful, young-looking skin. I know from experience that we're willing to spend a lot of money to find the best products out there to give us a flawless look.
Well, I'm here to let you in on a little secret. By following just a few simple steps, this dream can become your reality. And best of all, you don't have to purchase a ton of (or any, really) fancy, expensive products to do it. I'm talking about the things you can do to make your skin look and feel great.
While genetics, of course, plays a large part in your skin's appearance, there are so many factors that are in your control. In all of my years at Eastside Dermatology in Columbus, Ohio, and now DermWarehouse, I've seen the results first-hand.
Follow these steps and not only will you be on your way to gorgeous, glowing skin, your whole look and body will improve as well.
1. Protect your skin from the sun.
This is the number one piece of advice I can give you. Not only is 90 percent of skin aging caused by the sun, staying out of the sun will protect you from skin cancer as well.
There are so many easy ways you can keep yourself protected from the sun, and my family knows that I'm a huge stickler when it comes to sun care and sun protection. I think all dermatologists are.
From walking on the shady side of the street to wearing a big hat and sunglasses (they're both in style now, too) to wearing sunscreen (of course) on a daily basis, keeping your skin protected from the sun is by far the best thing you can do for your skin, and it's not that hard either. This is my number one rule for my family and all of my patients.
2. Figure out your skin type.
Everyone's skin is different, which means there's no cookie cutter skin care routine. If you know your skin type, you'll know what ingredients, products and routines will work best for you.
For example, my wife has dry skin, so I tell her to make sure she moisturizes after she showers and uses a heavier lotion rather than a cream. If you have oily skin, on the other hand, you'll want to wash your face twice daily and use oil-free products. As you can see, knowing your skin type will help you figure out the best way to take care of your skin.
3. Take off your makeup at night.
Wearing makeup to sleep will clog your pores and will likely cause breakouts. You probably wouldn't go to sleep without brushing your teeth or head to work without showering, so don't hit the sack with makeup on your face. Your skin (and your pillowcase) will thank you.
A great tip is to use baby wipes to take your makeup off. They're cheap, they're made for more sensitive skin and they're easy to take with you as well. My daughter has been using baby wipes as her makeup remover for years, and I don't think she'd ever use anything else.
4. Get enough sleep.
There are few things worse than looking in the mirror after a terrible sleep. Your skin looks dull, you have circles under your eyes and sometimes the sight can be pretty terrifying. Just like your body needs sleep to feel rested, your skin does too. A good sleep will make your skin look brighter and will diminish those pesky bags under your eyes. So, make sure you're getting the rest you need to keep your mind and body sharp and your skin looking great.
You know that feeling you get after a really great workout? You're tired, you're sweating, you're sore, but all in a good way. You know that you've done something good and productive for your body and it will not only show on your stomach and thighs, it will show on your skin too.
Sweating during a workout is like a mini facial for your skin. Your pores will open up and all of the oil, dirt and bacteria will be released. Just make sure to wash your face immediately after a workout so that all the bad stuff that comes out of your skin doesn't get sucked back in.
6. Drink plenty of water.
When you're dehydrated, you feel tired and you may even feel sick. Guess what? Your skin feels (and looks) that way too when you don't get enough H2O. Drinking plenty of water will keep your insides feeling good and your skin looking good. Your skin will look brighter, clearer and smoother. Water will definitely help give you that glow you're after.
7. Skip the alcohol.
Sure, it's fun to have a few drinks every once in a while to celebrate or even wind down. In your 20s, hangovers are nothing, but as you get older, the effects of alcohol really begin to take their toll. Even just a drink or two can have you looking like you haven't slept in days. So, get in the habit now of skipping the drinks. Not only will you wake up feeling better and more refreshed, your skin will look that way too.
8. Examine your skin regularly.
One reason that skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer is because it can be the most easily recognizable. You should be doing self-checks of all your freckles and moles on a monthly basis, and if you see any spots or moles that look out of the ordinary, be sure to make an appointment to see your dermatologist right away.
I urge you to learn the ABCDEs of melanoma. These characteristics are used by dermatologists to classify melanomas. Look for these signs: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, more than one or uneven distribution of Color, or a large (greater than 6mm) Diameter, which is the size of a pencil eraser and E is for Evolving, meaning that the mole is changing.
As you can see, even if you haven't been blessed by the skin gods with perfect skin, there are many things you can do to help you achieve this result. If you treat your skin right and give your largest organ some extra TLC, you will reap the rewards. So show your skin some love and take care of yourself. After all my years of practicing dermatology, I can guarantee that if you follow these steps you will be rewarded with skin that looks better and younger for longer and stays healthy.