How to keep your skin in peak condition.
How’s your skin doing lately? Has it been acting up? Dry and red one day, irritated or oily the next, with the occasional pimple popping up here and there? If that sounds familiar, know that you’re not alone. Between the pandemic, lack of sleep and the ravages of winter, everyone seems to be battling their skin this time of year.
The market is littered with products promising results, but we wanted some expert advice to cut through the crap and overhyped marketing gimmicks.To get answers, we rang up renowned dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital. He said that what we’re all experiencing is fairly normal. Changes in your work life, boosting your fitness in the new year, returning to happy hours with friends - anything that disrupts your life in such a big way can (and usually will) throw your skin out of balance.
“We know that stress can have a negative impact on the skin,” he says. “Our bodies respond by boosting levels of a hormone called CRH. This increases cortisol levels to prepare our bodies for the stressful environment, but it also stimulates oil production leading to breakouts.” Thankfully the fix is fairly simple and is probably good life advice in general: simplify things. Here are the doctor's orders.
Dr. Zeichner suggests swapping out your regular facial cleanser for one that contains salicylic acid. He often recommends Aveno Clear Complexion- a gentle, yet effective foaming cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid. “This beta hydroxy acid removes excess oil and dead cells from the surface of the skin to keep the pores clear,” he says. He also says to give the cleanser time to work - just like with washing your hands. We know what 20-seconds of washing feels like now … do that.
For any pimples that may have popped up, dab them with a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment. “This ingredient lowers levels of acne causing bacteria to reduce inflammation and dry out the pimple,” says Dr. Zeichner. But less is actually more in this case. “For example Neutrogena’s spot treatment contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is as effective at treating angry pimples as products with higher concentrations but is associated with less potential skin irritation.” A word of warning though: Let the cream fully dry on the skin because if it touches dark fabrics, it will bleach them.
When your skin is irritated, the doctor says it's important to hydrate and protect the skin barrier. Otherwise, you'll end up with more inflammation. Even if you're breaking out, keeping your skin moisturized will help heal blemishes faster. Make sure you're drinking plenty of water and look for a gentle cream or facial lotion without fragrances or harsh chemicals.First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair cream has become a go-to because it's rich yet light and absorbs into skin quickly while relieving irritation and redness. Use it in the morning and before bed.
As a general rule, you never want to leave the house without protection from the sun. We're subjected to harmful UVA and UVB rays all year long, so it’s essential to remain diligent about SPF. Even during the colder months or on cloudy days. The best sunscreen is the one you’ll use on a day-to-day basis, which is why we opt for a morning moisturizer with built-in protection. Jaxon Lane’s formula - which combines soothing green tea with hydrating vitamin E and hyaluronic acid - is both lightweight and non-greasy.
Think Beyond Your Face
One thing lots of guys can forget to do even if they diligent about taking care their face is protecting the rest bodies. keep itchy skin and dry hands at bay by scrubbing up in shower an ingenious oversized exfoliating wash cloth (from Japan) and then applying a rich body cream (formulated to soothe itchy skin and reduce inflammation) after toweling off. This one-two punch ensures your skin is healthy and hydrated and you won’t get any cracking or flaking.
* FYI: It may be tempting to take a long, hot shower, but according to the doctors at the American Academy of Dermatology, your skin will be much better-served with a shorter 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower.