SKINCARE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2020
Nothing feels better than the beginning of a fresh, new year. It’s always a great time to commit to better work habits, healthier eating, and more mindful relationships. Amid all the promises to spend more time at the gym, it’s also a good time to make some self-care goals. Finding small ways to slow down and pamper yourself can help relieve anxiety and stress.
One way to take better care of yourself is to commit yourself to taking care of your skin. Skin that truly looks and feels great is skin that is healthy from the inside out. Being deliberate with your routine gives you a chance to prioritize doing something for yourself, and should be a time that is relaxing and enjoyable. Having healthy skincare habits can also have a positive impact on your overall health and confidence.
So without further delay, here are some of our skincare resolutions for the new year. Some are bigger, some are smaller, but even the easiest ones can make a difference!
Find Your Balance
When the skincare industry refers to “balancing” skin, they’re usually talking about the oil-water balance in your skin barrier. Maintaining that barrier helps your skin to do exactly what it’s supposed to do - keep moisture in, keep bacteria out. Well-balanced skin feel soft and hydrated, without feeling greasy. If that balance is off, a whole range of unpleasant stuff can happen - from super oily and acne-prone skin, to dry and irritated skin.
One of things than can really upset the balance of your skin is too many harsh products or over-exfoliation. While you might think that using a product with alcohol or other “drying” ingredients would help with acne or oily skin, stripping your skin barrier will actually encourage it to produce more sebum. Using rough scrubs or even too many acid exfoliators can create a similar problem. Exfoliators should really be used only as needed, and you’ll want to take into account how many exfoliating ingredients are in your entire routine as a whole - it might be more than you realize!
Another way you can help your skin barrier to stay healthy and keep it from over- or under-producing oil is to maintain its proper pH (a slightly acidic 5.5). Using a low pH cleanser, or a balancing toner can help keep it at its optimal level, and functioning as it should. As a bonus, a healthy skin barrier will hold moisture in, which gives your skin that plump, youthful look we love!
Find Your Sunscreen Soulmate
There is no day where you don’t need sunscreen. UV rays can get through clouds, bounce off pavement and snow, and cause all sorts of issues, including hyperpigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, sunburn, and worse.
While you’re browsing the new year sales, look into finding yourself a sunscreen that you love. Korean sunscreens offer great protection against both UVA and UVB rays (SPF and PA ratings), and are surprisingly comfortable to wear, even under makeup. You no longer have to put on a sticky, greasy product that gives you a sickly white cast. Many Korean sunscreens are more fluid and light than Western-style sunscreens, and are barely noticeable once applied. Some even make a great, primer-like base for makeup.
Make sure you use enough sunscreen on any exposed skin, and reapply it frequently. If you love the texture of your product, it won’t seem like such a drag to use it more often!
Wash Other Things - Not Just Your Face
For those of you who already have your skincare routine down to an art, consider taking care of those other things that touch your face. Anything that touches your face should be cleaned regularly, as dirt, oils, and bacteria can get trapped and transferred to your skin.
Most of these things take very little time to do. It might be as simple as remembering to throw your pillowcase into your weekly laundry load. Here are the things you should wash, and how often:
- These should be washed once a week. Dirt and oils from your hair, sweat, and residue from hair products all end up on your pillowcase, even if you’ve washed your face right before sleeping. Run them through the hot cycle of your washing machine, and remember to use a non-irritating detergent.
- Makeup brushes and blenders. Use a brush or blender cleaner once a week. These can be found in convenient spray bottle formats, and take minutes to use. Once a month, you’ll want to use a shampoo to deep clean your applicators.
- Cell phones. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see what they suggest for cleaning. Turn your phone off and remove the case. If possible, use a tiny bit of alcohol or disinfectant on a lint-free cloth to wipe the phone down. If your phone has buttons, use a cotton bud to clean around the keys. Give your case a good wipe as well. Ideally, this should be done every few days.
Don’t Be A Pimple Popper
It can be weirdly satisfying to pop a pimple, and can sometimes even relieve some of the discomfort and immediate visibility of a blemish. Resist the temptation! Bursting a zit undermines the skin’s natural functions, which are in place to heal the skin and keep bacteria out. When you break the skin, you’re allowing bacteria to enter the area, and may even be introducing new bacteria by touching it with your hands. This could lead to a much longer lasting infection. It also increases your chances of scarring, which can take months to fade.
If you’re in a hurry to zap that pimple, use a spot treatment to shrink and flatten it overnight. These little sticky spots absorb oil and dirt, and soothe the irritated skin to reduce redness and visibility. Using a cleanser or treatment containing acids (AHAs and BHAs) will also help to clear out dead skin and allow trapped dirt and oil to escape.
For a pimple that looks seriously infected or is very painful, its best to consult your dermatologist. Nothing good can come of squeezing it.
Have A Nighttime Routine, Even if it’s Short
We all could use some more sleep. And while you may want to splash your face with water, wipe it dry, and collapse into bed, it’s worth spending a few minutes doing even a short nighttime routine.
Nighttime is the time for ingredients that you may not want to use during the day. Certain products that contain things like retinol or acids can cause your skin to become photosensitive, so can be safely used at night. It’s also a great time to use a sleeping pack or lip mask, which will revive and nourish tired skin, as well as maximize the efficiency of any other products you’ve layered on before.
If your PM routine is non-existent, start slow. Start with cleansing (get that makeup off!), a toner, and a moisturizer. Look for products that have multiple effects, like hydrating and anti-aging. Or a cleanser with an acid exfoliant. You may find that a few steps are enough for a normal night. An additional sheet mask, serum, or sleeping pack to prepare for big events (or if your skin is feeling especially tired) can be used as needed.
A resolution for the new year doesn’t have to be something that takes a ton of time and effort. In fact, more effective resolutions are small changes that become habits, so they actually get maintained. Picking one easy way to take better care of your skin is a little improvement in itself, and one that can be enjoyed!