It’s been a long, tough year, and for some of us our skin has taken a lot of the burden. With maskne and stress breakouts on top of day to day skin care qualms, and maybe not keeping up with our skin care regimens as much, it was a hard year for our skin to stay in tip-top shape.
With the New Year, comes new goals for what we hope to accomplish, and if you’ve been slacking on your skin care, now is the perfect time to set some New Year's skin care resolutions to stick to throughout the year.
Here’s ten ways to upgrade your skincare regimen for the New Year, so you can refresh your skin, and start the New Year off strong.
1. Stay hydrated and eat healthy
This one is probably on your list of New Year’s resolutions already. In a Statista survey from 2019, almost half the respondents said one of their resolutions was to eat healthier. And healthy eating doesn’t just have to be for weight loss, your overall health — including your skin, hair, and nail health — will thrive as well.
Getting in a wide variety of vitamin packed fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and protein while limiting greasy, sugary food is difficult but rewarding, and drinking eight cups of water a day can feel unimaginable, but if you make a mental note to do so in 2021 and stick to it, you will see all kinds of benefits.
Our skin is an organ that needs hydration and nutrients just as much as any other, so as cliche as it may sound, drinking more water and eating a balanced diet is the basis of healthy, radiant skin.
2. Stop picking and touching your skin and popping pimples
In 2020 we all tried to stop touching our face so much as a preventative measure against COVID-19. Bacteria and viruses can be carried and spread via our hands, and if you touch your face, they can enter into our body through our mouth or nose.
Now that we have that awareness, we’ll all probably start to be more conscious of how much we touch our faces. For reasons more than virus and bacteria transmission, you should avoid touching your face.
On top of bacteria and viruses our hands carry a lot of dirt and oil that can clog pores and cause breakouts, and if you’re a pimple popper, with each pick or pop, you’re spreading bacteria, and causing even more breakouts. So make it a resolution to keep your hands away from your face except for when it’s time to cleanse and moisturize. When that time comes, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands beforehand (pun intended).
3. Wash your reusable face mask
2020 was full of bouts of “maskne” for anyone who followed CDC guidelines for wearing personal protective equipment — like face masks — to help stop the spread. Protecting ourselves and those around us was crucial, but the pesky acne that came along with a sweaty, suffocating mask was a bummer.
Luckily, we have a whole list of tips to help control maskne. One of our best pieces of advice for preventing maskne is washing your reusable face masks after each use. As the year rolled by, I’m sure we all became less and less meticulous about throwing our face coverings in the wash after a day or two of use, but make a note to change that. Face masks trap in dirt, bacteria, and sweat which creates an acne breeding ground in the area under your mask. You wouldn’t wear the same socks twice, and with all the sweat and saliva building up under your mask, you should be just as wary to overuse your mask.
Until we can ditch the masks for good, get yourself a couple days worth of masks to cycle between and be diligent about throwing them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. It’s best to use a gentle, fragrance free laundry detergent, or you can make your own laundry detergent using your sensitive skin care products.
4. Cut out harmful ingredients
This year California became the first US state to ban the use of 24 toxic chemicals found in personal care products. They join 40 other nations in cutting out ingredients that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm like formaldehyde, mercury, isobutyl and isopropyl parabens, and dibutyl and diethylhexyl phthalates.
This is a huge step in the right direction, but there are other ingredients that didn’t make the cut that you should consider personally cutting out when the new year rolls around. Synthetic fragrances and dyes, simple alcohols, essential oils, and oxybenzone are all common in skin care products, but they can all cause breakouts, inflammation, and/or irritation.
Look through your skin care shelf, and search for each product on EWG SkinDeep for more information on the safety of their ingredients, and do the same each time you are about to buy something new.
5. Take off your makeup
Sometimes you just need to hop into bed immediately at the end of a long day, but if you go to bed without taking off your makeup, you may wake up well rested, but your skin will carry the burden. Leaving heavy foundations, blushes, and concealers on our skin overnight can clog pores, cause excess dryness, and since our skin can’t breathe, it cannot go through its typical overnight renewal process.
Make it a resolution to at least keep some cotton balls and makeup remover on your bedside table, and if you can muster the energy, drag yourself to the bathroom sink and use a cleanser. Bonus points if you top it off with some moisturizer.
6. Don’t forget sunscreen
Even if you're thorough and meticulous when it comes to applying sunscreen at the beach or before a hike, you may be prone to neglecting daily sunscreen usage, especially if you live in a cloudy climate, or you just haven’t been leaving the house much this year.
The sun’s UVA rays are consistently hitting our skin (even through clouds and windows) and causing deep damage that can lead to premature signs of aging and skin cancer. So daily sunscreen application is just as important in the fall and winter, and if you’re indoors.
Invest in a broad spectrum mineral sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and keep it somewhere where you’ll remember it every morning like near your toothbrush, moisturizer, or makeup.
7. Scrub away 2020
If you aren’t already on the exfoliation train, 2021 is the year to hop on it. Exfoliating a few times a week helps get rid of dead, dull skin, leaving behind a fresh, new layer of skin. Try a gentle exfoliating scrub to thoroughly remove makeup and impurities, smooth your skin and reveal your natural glow.
8. Keep it consistent
With new products bombarding the skin care aisle and beauty products stores regularly, it can be tempting to snatch up any new serum or cream that promises some incredible result. However, if you are constantly switching up the products you use, you won’t give your skin time to get used to the products, and no matter how many miracle ingredients are in that new cream, results won’t happen overnight.
Consistency is key when it comes to your skin, so once you find a product that doesn’t irritate or dry out your skin, keep using it, and give it time to work its magic.Once you find the essentials for skin care you can build your routine, and use it every day for the best results.
Try these routines for sensitive skin:
- Best Skin Care Routine for Dry Sensitive Skin
- Best Daily Care for Sensitive Acne-Prone Skin
- Sensitive Skin Care Routine
9. Declutter your skin care shelf
Does your over-the-counter acne cream you bought in middle school spark joy? Are you a bit of skin care hoarder? Once you’ve found a consistent routine that works for you, do some New Year’s decluttering, and only hold on to the products you use daily (or weekly if it’s something like an exfoliant).
Having a clean, simple skin care shelf will make it easier and quicker to move through your routine, and the easier it is, the more likely you are to keep it up.
10. Practice Stress Reducing Techniques
Here’s another one that may already be on your resolution list, but what does stress have to do with your skin? Well, a lot.
Stress affects your hormonal balance which can cause excess oil production, depleted collagen, and a weakened immune system. If you have preexisting conditions like rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, stress can lead to flare ups
Get a good nights sleep, try yoga or meditation, or find something you enjoy like reading or walking to help take your mind off stress.
You can make these skin care updates at any point of the year, but if you prefer to make resolutions and stick to them, add a couple of these to your list so you can put your best foot, and face, forward in 2021!