Flawless skin doesn’t often come naturally, but, no matter your age, you can come close to achieving it if you work at it. Believe it or not, healthy, glowing, beautiful skin like we see in small children is something that everyone can potentially have if we didn’t abuse it so much during our lifetime. Youthful looking skin doesn’t have to come in a syringe or through a laser or scalpel. Don’t get me wrong. I know that a little Botox®, dermal filler, and laser photorejuvenation can turn back the clock beautifully and brilliantly, but at-home maintenance is just as important as any procedure you may get in your dermatologist’s office.
Here are the top five things that women (and men) with amazing, nearly flawless skin do, every day, and always.
- 1. They get plenty of sleep most nights.
This is a tough one for me, because I am a night owl, and I get a lot of work done at night. But truth be told, getting a full complement of seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night and going to bed consistently at a reasonable hour are full of health benefits. Not only is it good for your brain and its many functions to rest and recharge, it is prime time for your skin to recover, recuperate, repair and rejuvenate itself. An added bonus is that applying anti-aging serums and creams before bed ramps up the efficacy factor while you sleep as well.
- They always wear sunscreen, no matter the weather, no matter the season, no matter the time of day.
Sunscreen is an absolute essential because the UV damage from the sun is the number-one environmental aging factor that everyone on Mother Earth experiences. And this UV damage starts in infancy and early childhood for most Americans. The amazing characteristic about skin is that it has the ability to very efficiently repair itself to a great degree. So all we have to do is help it along and not sabotage its efforts by simply wearing sunscreens for protection. I myself use an SPF of 50 every single day. Call me vain, but I want to protect what I have and what I can achieve to get more youthful skin. And of course, it’s my profession to have my skin be the best it can be. Who wants to have a dermatologist with bad skin?
- They moisturize and hydrate.
I am a firm believer in moisturizing your skin. It does seem rather mundane and boring, but if you find the right one for your skin type, it is an essential step to healthy, glowing skin. Even oily skin needs light moisturization because dryness leads to rebound, over activity of your oil glands to compensate. Without proper moisturization, your skin’s fine lines, wrinkles and sagging will appear more pronounced. Optimal hydration of your skin is best achieved by applying your moisturizer first thing in the morning after gently cleansing. I tell my patients to think of it as prepping their canvas. This will not only allow your skin to be well protected from the environment, but will also allow your other skincare products to be absorbed more evenly and makeup to go on more smoothly and efficiently. And of course, drink plenty of fluids. Hydration from inside out is important, too.
- They exfoliate on a regular basis.
Exfoliation is a tricky but essential component in skincare. You could DIY it with a facial mask at home, get a chemical peel at a spa, or go to your dermatologist’s office for a microdermabrasion or deeper peel. Perhaps you opt to apply a gently exfoliating product daily like a glycolic acid cream every night. Or perhaps you have found an exfoliating cleanser for everyday use. Or maybe still, you dabble in a little of everything at any given moment in your skincare time. But the bottom line is clear, and it truly makes a difference. As we age, our skin loses the ability to naturally shed our dead-skin layer, making our skin lack-luster, gray, dry, and dull. Exfoliating reveals the new, healthy layers that give us that youthful glow. But a word of caution– remember that you can over-exfoliate, which leads to irritation, dryness, and redness. More is definitely not better when exfoliating. For most skin types, once or twice a week is best, unless you opt for a daily, gently exfoliating serum or cream or a Clarisonic® that will do the job.
- They use retinoids.
Unanimously across the board, dermatologists would agree that retinoids are the workhorse of anti-aging regimens. They are vitamin A derivatives that are the true heavy-lifters in skin rejuvenation and skincare. These amazing molecules are the brilliant multi-taskers that are the closest thing to the fountain of youth. They not only increase cell-turnover to reveal healthy skin, boost collagen production and prevent its breakdown, but they also reverse sun damage and improve hydration. All of these wondrous processes mean less wrinkles, less sagging, fewer sun and age spots, less breakouts, more even tone, pigment, and texture, and more glowing skin. Retinoids are a proven ingredient that has been around nearly 50 years. Anyone concerned about sun damage and aging skin should use a retinoid. I do, and I have been using retinoids since I was 32. I have never missed a night. And I will never, ever give it up.
–Dr. HFlawless Skin: Myth Or Truth?