There are a lot of truths about the start of January. First off, it’s kind of exciting. Not as much as a first date, an open bar, or a lot of things in life, but there is something momentous about the start of a new year, and trying something new.
Don’t worry, we’re not here to prescribe you 34 Ways To Start The Year Right—life-changing resolutions are so 2k10s. There’s another less discussed reality about the start of January: the dawn of bad skin.
No matter where you’re at, January is peak season, making it either too cold, too dry, too wet or too hot. Throw in heating or air-conditioning, and the start of the year can also mean the start of breakouts.
In the spirit of “New Year, Same You,” we put together seven easy skin resolutions for you. Resolutions that are actually possible to follow and will keep your skin intact during the New Year.
I know what you’re going to say: Sunscreen clogs pores! But here’s the thing: it doesn’t. And without it, you’re more likely to develop zits and blemishes.
Sunlight is great for your skin, but overexposure dries you out. When you’re dry, your sebaceous glands—the part of your body that keeps your skin lubricated—panic and produce excess sebum. (Not to mention that the sun’s UV rays are absolutely linked with skin cancer.) That consistent overproduction leads to acne, blemishes and generally bad skin.
Using a 30+ sunscreen on your face each day (yes, even on cloudy days) and preferably 50+ is our humble recommendation. Try Supergoop’s Glow Stick for a super silky finish with no white cast.
Yes, it’s true. The best treatment is prevention. Combined with sunscreen, chemical exfoliation is an unparalleled preventative measure for breakouts.
Using Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, and Beta Hydroxy Acids, or BHAs—naturally occurring chemicals that remove excess surface build-up and clean out your pores, 2-3 times per week is what we’re promising to do. Ta-da! Fewer zits.
Cleansing > makeup wipes
Every day, your face is covered in dirt, grime, oil, dead skin cells... it’s all very lovely sounding.
The nature of your skin is that it’s dirty. Reducing that build-up of dirt is a practical measure to prevent breakouts. We recommend a gentle alcohol-free cleanser; something with a milky consistency rather than a foaming one (foams tend to be more stripping and compromise your moisture barrier, which can in turn heighten the likelihood of breakouts) before you go to bed every single night. Follow with a moisturizer. And no, sorry! Make-up wipes are not an alternative (unless you’re like, camping and there really is no other option).
While we’re on the topic of moisturizing, let’s talk about moisture barriers.
In your skin, there’s something called a “moisture barrier” which basically keeps bacteria out, and moisture in. When your skin is dry or blemished, chances are that barrier has been broken. Moisturizing properly—meaning not just globbing a bit on your face every so often—helps maintain that barrier, therefore reducing redness, dryness, and breakouts.
We’ve covered this so often but once more—don’t pop pimples. Your skin is sensitive, like a sweet little puppy, so squeezing, poking or scratching any part of is only going to lead to abrasions.
When it comes to extracting, the best avenue to go down is through a professional. Sure, if there’s a whitehead, you can squeeze it yourself if you do it the right way, but again, think sweet little puppy.
Sticking to a regime.
Remember when your mom told you about the benefits of having some structure in your life? The same for skin.
When you use a myriad of products, chopping and changing every week, your skin gets confused and irritated. Sure, it’s important to see what works, but there’s a difference in trialing and having no plan whatsoever. Do your research. Speak to a dermatologist. Understand how your skin reacts, and as soon as you find that regime, stick to it.
Focusing more on skincare from within.
Chances are, you’ve struggled to pull yourself from the couch these last few days. And the glare from any light, alongside life itself, is proving to be a challenge. So without shaming your New Years, decisions, what you put in your body does have an impact on your skin.
Inside your gut, there’s a vibrant community of microorganisms known as a “microbiome.” If that microbiome is thriving, i.e. you’re eating a balanced diet while avoiding toxins like alcohol, your skin thrives. Maintaining this “gut-skin axis” is a definitive way to help keep your skin blemish and breakout free.