With the joyous but exhausting holiday season in the rearview mirror, the New Year presents a time for reflection and renewal. Daniel Bergman, MD, an assistant professor in the UAB Division of Micrographic Surgery and Dermatologic Oncology, says prioritizing skin health is a wonderful gift to give yourself.
“Our skin is the organ we wear,” Dr. Bergman says. “It’s connected to our emotions, personality, and self-identity. The way we take care of our skin speaks volumes about what we think of ourselves.”
If you’re ready to give your skin the love it deserves, here are six tips that can help, provided by Lauren Kole, MD, residency program director and assistant professor in the UAB Department of Dermatology:
- Pick a cleanser. “It’s important to match your cleanser to your skin type,” Dr. Kole says. “Use a cream-based cleanser if you have dry or sensitive skin, or a foaming cleanser if you have oily or acne-prone skin.” For those with acne, Dr. Kole recommends a product with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
- Use a moisturizer. “Look for a moisturizer that’s tailored to your skin type,” she says. “A lighter serum or gel-based moisturizer works well for oilier skin, while a thicker, creamier moisturizer is best for dry or aging skin.”
- Embrace an anti-aging regimen. “Use a daily vitamin C serum in the morning and either an over-the-counter retinol or a prescription retinoid at night,” Dr. Kole says.
- Wear sunscreen. Using sunscreen daily is a must, whether you spend your days indoors or outdoors. “Wear sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher,” she says. “The sunscreen in makeup is a bonus, but it’s not enough on its own.”
- Get checked for skin cancer. “One in four people will have skin cancer by the age of 67,” Dr. Kole says. “Even those in their 20s and 30s should get checked if they’ve had significant sun exposure, used tanning beds, or haven’t routinely used sunscreen.” The UAB Department of Dermatology can perform skin cancer screenings annually or as needed depending on your risk factors.
- Consider a cosmetic consultation. “If you have questions, make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist,” Dr. Kole says. “A cosmetic consultation can be part of a skincare regimen for someone not ready for cosmetic procedures.”
Dr. Bergman says using the right products for your skin type is important, but it’s also important to use them in the proper order. He advises patients to apply products using the “GRASS” approach:
G = Growth factors that help repair the skin
R = Retinols and retinoids, to improve pigment and fine lines
A = Antioxidants like topical vitamin C, to prevent damage
S = Specialty products such as hydrators, bleaching creams, and moisturizers
S = Sunscreen
“Taking care of your skin can prevent damage that can be hard to undo,” Dr. Bergman says. “An ounce of prevention a day is worth a pound of cure.”
Click here for information on cosmetic dermatology services at UAB Medicine.