Sticking to those New Years resolutions? Need a little motivation? Maybe I can help. Many of the good things we do for our body and mind can have a positive effect on our skin. What a nice bonus! Don’t we all want glowing skin?
Let’s review below:
Move daily – Get that blood flowing and move daily! Whether it’s a walk, a fitness class, yoga, or pilates, just move your body. Research shows that individuals over 65 who performed at least 3 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise a week were able to reverse the signs of aging. Compared to non-exercising seniors, skin biopsies from the buttocks of the exercising individuals showed features that looked more like a 30-year-old! Exercise gets the blood flowing, brings nutrients to your cells, lowers stress, strengthens the immune system, and much more.
My husband and I recently got the FitBit fitness tracker, and it has been a great motivation to go for a walk rather than sit in front of the TV. We challenge each other to who can walk the most steps in a day. Depending on the day, the recommended 10,000 steps can be very easy or almost impossible to accomplish without some effort. We have to consciously prioritize a walk or activity over TV or work. Considering the modern lifestyle that leaves us sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours, the challenge to be more active is a welcome initiative. The line “Sitting is the new smoking” has resonated with many folks, myself included. Now that you know it’s also good for your skin, get moving!
Avoid added sugar – I think most of us can agree that there is an over-abundance of sugar in the American diet. Sugar is added to just about everything we encounter in the grocery store (which is why the advice of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is so true). And why wouldn’t manufacturers add sugar? It makes everything taste better! Sugar actually coats innumerous targets in the body, making them function subpar. Most important to the skin, sugar also coats collagen (a process called glycation) and makes it stiffer, making our skin look sallow, aged, and stiff. So think twice before that second helping of dessert… it may taste sweet but may be making your skin look sour!
Get more sleep. This should be on everyone’s resolution list! Sleep is the time when the body can repair itself. Sleep deprivation means more stress and increased cortisol levels. Increased cortisol levels can wreak havoc on the skin and cause acne breakouts, skin rashes, and worsening eczema or psoriasis. Make sleep a priority. Turn off the TV earlier than usual, make yourself a cup of tea, settle down with a good book (preferably paper and not on a screen like an ipad, as the light prevents the brain from knowing sleep is near), and try to start this routine 30-60 minutes earlier than usual. You will be surprised how refreshing it can be.
This last resolution that may not have been on your list… but it’s an easy resolution to keep — and you can start it at any time, it doesn’t need to be New Years! WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR! Put one of my favorite sunscreens next to your toothbrush, and put it on every morning, rain or shine. Do I need to show you the twins? One wore sunscreen and the other didn’t.
While the photo may look exaggerated, all of us will eventually experience some of the tarnishing effects of the sun such as brown spots, dry skin, and/or wrinkles. I got my first brown spots after only 5 years of living in the Miami sun!
Damaging UV rays penetrate car and building windows, so it doesn’t matter if you “never go to the beach.”
Unless you live in a windowless basement and never leave the house, you are always encountering damaging UV rays. Love your skin and apply a sunscreen daily… you will thank me later!
And…. you have my permission to cheat once in a while…. but only with a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate… both are great for the skin! Resveratrol and antioxidants, baby!
Cheers to 2016!
Dr. Jackie Dosal is a practicing board-certified dermatologist at South Florida Skin Associates and is on clinical faculty at the University of Miami Department of Dermatology.