I've practiced 5 personal “rules” for healthier skin for the past 20 years, and today I want to share my favorite skin care tips with you. Hopefully you'll implement some or all of them for yourself! You can begin these tips at any age to help improve your skin's appearance and prevent further damage, but earlier is always better.
I was quite the sun-worshipper when I was younger, and I even had a job working in a tanning bed. Luckily, I got my act together pretty quickly and started looking out for my skin in my mid-20s. Developing skin cancer at 24 was a huge wake up call!
Trust me, it's much better to have healthy skin throughout your lifetime than to have bronzed skin when you're young, then pay the price with premature wrinkling, age spots, and skin cancer for the majority of your life.
Here are the top 5 skin care tips I've followed in the past 20 years:
1. Use Sunscreen
I use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 on a daily basis and limit my time in the sun during harsh midday hours. I like Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30 and EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ for my face and Sun Bum Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 for my body.
2. Wash Your Face Daily
My skincare routine includes washing my face twice daily using a mild cleanser. I use my Clarisonic Mia Brush and Clean & Clear “Morning Burst” Hydrating Facial Cleanser in the morning and at night. Sometimes I'll swap the Clean & Clear out for CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser or Philosophy's Purity Cleanser.
3. Stay Hydrated
I drink large quantities of water and maintain a healthy diet overall. (It's about 80% healthy… I don't claim to be anywhere near perfect). I make sure to get at least 8 glasses of water each day, sometimes more. Here's a list I put together listing 10 of the Best Foods for Healthy & Beautiful Skin.
4. Avoid Bad Habits
I don't smoke, rarely drink alcohol, and I gave up the tanning beds years ago. I also try to avoid using straws, because they cause serious wrinkles around the mouth.
5. Have Regular Chemical Peels
I have chemical peels on a regular basis. I realize this one may be controversial, but they have been shown to help prevent the progression of skin cancer. (See here and here.) My dermatologist recommended them, so I do them. I also regularly use Retin-A (tretinoin) a few times each week at night to turn over dead skin cells.
I take better care of my skin now at 43 than I did in my teens and 20s
My Experience with Skin Cancer:
Since I really want to stress how important it is to take care of your skin and use sunscreen, I'll to link to a photo of myself after I'd just had a big chunk of skin cancer removed from my nose. It's somewhat graphic, so I'm not going to post it here for younger readers to stumble across accidentally. Visit this link and type in the password “skincancer” to see the image. (It's not terrible, but you can see stitches and the extent of the cut.)
That's not the only skin cancer I've had removed, either. The first one was on my forehead and was removed when I was 24. I've had a total of around 10 removed throughout the years — maybe more.
If my picture and story don't scare you away from tanning beds and the sun, then you might want to check out the article These Selfies Are A Serious Skin Care Wakeup Call on Refinery 29. (It's also somewhat graphic.) And for the teens reading this post, check out Teen Tanners: The New Faces of Melanoma.
The skin cancer was on the right side of my nose, so it's the left side as you're viewing this picture. There's a bit of scarring, but my dermatologist and the plastic surgeon he recommended did a great job of removing the cancer without disfiguring my nose too noticeably — especially considering how deeply they had to cut into my skin.
The bottom line is that you can act to reverse and prevent future skin damage IF you make it a daily priority to care for your skin. Prevention is always your best option! Wear generous amounts of sunscreen and limit your time in the sun during harsh mid-day hours, stay hydrated, and always focus on eating to nourish your body. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about skin care tips or my routine, and be sure to sign up for our email for additional tips.