By Melinda Riter, M.D., Ph.D.
The New Year is a great time for all of us to reset. It is an opportunity to start with a fresh slate full of countless possibilities. While many of us are trying to set goals – don’t forget to include a plan for your skin that will bring you benefits throughout the year. Remember, when it comes to skin care, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are five tips to start your skin care journey on the right path.
Start with a Daily Skin Care Plan
A good skin care plan is a simple plan—no need to spend a lot of money or have a bathroom full of products. In fact, some skin conditions like allergic contact dermatitis are caused by exposure to ingredients in cosmetics – so less is often more! Having a daily skin care plan is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin healthy and feeling great all year long.
Step One – Wash: We recommend washing your face before bed each evening, minimum. This critical step removes makeup, dirt, and oil that your face has accumulated throughout the day. Add a morning wash if your skin type is mixed or oily. Keep soap simple: Dove® Soap Bar, Cetaphil®, CeraVe® or Epionce® foaming or gentle cleansers. Cleansing wipes and pads are not the best for cleaning your face as they can leave soap/surfactant on your skin and cause irritation. If you use these products, we recommend rinsing your face with warm water after use.
Step Two – Moisturize: After washing your face, apply a moisturizer. A simple fragrance-free and botanical-free moisturizer is a good choice. Some options are CeraVe® PM Facial Moisturizer, Cetaphil® lotion (they have different ones depending on your skin), or a hyaluronic acid serum. At Bend Dermatology Clinic we offer a great hyaluronic acid serum under our own brand. Other products we recommend include EltaMD® Barrier Renewal Complex, EltaMD® AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, Epionce® Intensive Nourishing Cream, and Epionce® Renewal Facial Cream. Yes, can you tell this step is important? Also, plain petrolatum jelly (brand name Vaseline®) makes a fabulous eye cream!
Step Three – Sunscreen: – Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 minimum in the morning, regardless of season or the weather. This small step is the best thing you can do to prevent signs of aging, skin damage, and skin cancer. A tinted sunscreen, which blocks visible light, is recommended for skin types struggling with unwanted darkness or pigmentation. If you will be out in the sun for extended periods, don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day.
Not all Skin Care has to be Expensive to be Effective
With the inordinate amount of skin care available in the market, it can be overwhelming and confusing to figure out the best products for your skin. Just know that when it comes to certain things, the most expensive item is not necessarily the most effective. Some examples we have already mentioned include bar soap, facial cleansers, and daily facial moisturizers. In addition, over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products can be very effective if you suffer from acne.
You should spend your money on high-quality mineral sunscreen to wear daily. Mineral sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide without chemicals that can sting or burn sensitive skin. We recommend the Epionce® Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 Sunscreen, sold at our Bend, Redmond, Prineville, and Klamath Falls locations. CeraVe also makes a tinted mineral sunscreen at a great value. Check out the powdered mineral sunscreens by Colorescience® – these are a favorite of golfers because they are a no-touch application and brush on dry. Many of our male patients choose these – don’t be fooled by the brush-on applicator!
There are also chemical sunscreens you can use. These include sunscreens with avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, etc. At Bend Dermatology Clinic, we are serious when we say our favorite sunscreen is the one you are willing to wear! If that happens to be a chemical sunscreen, we approve.
Include Cosmetic Treatments Throughout the Year
Now that you are taking care of your skin daily, you may want to explore more powerful treatments that can help you achieve your short-term and long-term goals for the health of your skin.
Explore treatment options if you have any common medical skin concerns, such as cherry angiomas, sunspots, or spider veins. Cosmetic treatment of these common skin concerns is not covered by insurance but is affordable and can be added to your medical visit. For under $200, your Provider can treat undesired skin growths (enlarged oil glands/sebaceous hyperplasia and cherry angiomas/blood vessels) by removing them with a warm cautery wand. Lentigines (sunspots/liver spots) and seborrheic keratosis (a common non-cancerous skin growth) can be lightened with a liquid nitrogen freezing spray.
A vascular laser is a long-lasting treatment for dilated blood vessels, flushing, and skin redness. One treatment brings noticeable results that last for years with minimal downtime, making this a popular treatment for those who want an impactful treatment without maintenance.
Microneedling is a trusted tool with effects that build with each treatment – this is an excellent choice if you are committed to “pressing pause” on aging!
Make sure you have your medical bases covered first. Sometimes the most effective anti-aging treatment is the management of pre-cancerous sun damage. For example, prescription medications like fluorouracil cream are used to remove actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous dry skin growths) – a great treatment to improve skin texture and smoothness. You can also try photodynamic therapy (PDT), a medical light-based treatment that can reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Set Aside a Budget for Skin Care
One of the best ways to incorporate the benefits of skin care treatments into your yearly plan is to figure out what treatments you might need, which ones you want to try, and which ones will help you achieve your goals. Then, once you know what you want to include, you can figure out how to budget for it. Whether you want to get a monthly facial, explore microneedling, or get laser skin resurfacing, setting aside money every month will help you stay on track. It can be as simple as keeping a piggy bank or a special envelope with money just for your skin care plan; that way, you won’t have to stress about it during the year. To plan accordingly, we suggest you schedule a Cosmetic Dermatology appointment at one of our Central Oregon locations to create a custom treatment plan.
Get a Full Skin Exam with a Board-Certified Dermatologist
A Full Skin Exam is THE place to start your healthy skin care journey. Of course, not everyone needs a Full Skin Exam annually, but if you want to begin a schedule that suits you and your skin – ask your Dermatology Provider to help you determine a plan. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with millions of cases diagnosed yearly. It is also one of the most preventable cancers, and a Full Skin Exam is a great early detection tool.
A Board-Certified Dermatologist will help you discover the best treatments and products for your skin type and medical history. And help you build a custom plan for your goals and budget.
As your partner, our Dermatology Providers at Bend Dermatology Clinic can help propel you toward your best skin, your best self! Book an appointment at any of our six locations to get started on your New Year goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melinda Riter, MD, Ph.D. – Dr. Riter is a Board-Certified Dermatologist specializing in caring for rural populations and improving health care delivery. While researching wound healing at the University of Colorado, she fell in love with the dynamic field of Dermatology. You can find her at our East Bend – Main, West Bend, and Klamath Falls locations.