New Year New You!

Now that we’re done ringing in a New Year – not to mention a new decade – it’s time to re-center our focus and find our best selves again.  Do your resolutions deal with the inside out, or the outside in?  By choosing your skin’s best health, you can do a little of both!  You see, your skin is the body’s largest organ and while it doesn’t make for a dramatic story line on your favorite TV show, and doesn’t have the poetic meaning of a heart, your skin is the intersection of your inner and outer beauty and well-being.

So what kind of New Year resolution might you consider this year?  We’ve got a few suggestions!  And the best part, your goals for your skin can usually by achieved quickly!  No long term struggle and complete change of life styles.  Just a few daily improvements and a connection with a good dermatologist who is board certified in the medical care of your skin, hair and nails.

With that in mind, here are our top five New Year’s “skin-solutions” of 2020:

  • I will keep a daily morning skin regimen. Wash, antioxidant, moisturize, protect.  Each morning you should use a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and dead skin cells that accumulate while you sleep.  After that, your products should go from the lightest to the heaviest lifter.  Antioxidants come in vitamin packed serums and lotions.  They glide on easily and it only takes a few drops to help protect your skin from harsh environmental risk factors. Next, add moisture if you need it.  And finally, the most important step of all…apply sunscreen   Regardless of the season, the weather or your skin type, you need protection from ultraviolet light every day to keep your skin looking young and, more importantly, to help prevent common skin cancer.
  • I will keep a nightly skin regimen. We know.  You are tired.  And it’s time for bed.  But don’t skimp here.  Nighttime is the best time for your skin to renew and regenerate and you need to get the most out of it!  So head back to the sink and once again wash your face with a gentle cleanser.  NEVER go to bed with makeup and daily dirt and pollutants resting on your skin.  After cleansing, you might want to consider a product to help with skin cell turnover, stimulate collagen and elastin, and fade hyperpigmentation.  What is this secret sauce?  Its retinol, the vitamin-A derived product that is your first line of defense against tired, aging skin.
  • I will learn the warning signs of skin cancer. Early detection makes treatment so much easier!  Here are your ABC’s and 123’s:

To catch deadly malignant melanoma in its tracks, look for the ABC’s of early detection:

    • Asymmetry – Is one half of a mole a significantly different shape or size than the other side?
    • Border – Does a mole have an irregular or uneven border?
    • Color – Are any of your moles unusually colored, or have they changed color recently?
    • Diameter – Do you have moles larger around than 2 mm, which is about the size of a pencil eraser?
    • Evolving – Do you have moles that are new or that have changed significantly?

Not deadly but more common, here are the warning signs of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma:

  1. Raised bumps or nodules
  2. Non-healing pimples or sores
  3. Red, scaly patches with irregular borders
  4. Pink growths
  5. Lesions that are shiny or pearl-like in color or appearance
  6. Lesions typically occur on the face, scalp, ears, chest and back
  7. Wart-like growths that bleed or crust over
  • I will drink more water. Staying well hydrated is at the core of so many health related resolutions.  Your skin will be grateful, because good hydration is vital for our bodies to function their best. When we are dehydrated, it shows up as dry skin and loss of that natural glow. Drinking more water leads to a more radiant and clear complexion.
  • I will schedule an annual skin check. Here’s a bitter pill to swallow – one person dies of malignant melanoma, a serious skin cancer, every 54 minutes.  In less than an hour, someone else will die.  What more do you need to know to make the health and well -being of your skin a top priority?  But there is good news – early detection of melanomas significantly reduces that statistic and all it takes is building a good relationship with your dermatologist.  Come in and see your Midwest Dermatology physician for a regular skin check-up.  We can help you determine how often – it just depends on your personal and family history of skin cancer, skin type and lifestyle.  So schedule that first appointment, have your doctor look you over from top to bottom and get their recommendation for good follow up.  If your doctor wants to biopsy or remove a suspicious lesion, don’t panic!  Sometimes it turns out to be less serious than it looks. And in the event that it is cancer, our doctors have serious experience under their belts and offer today’s best treatments, including Mohs surgery with its super high cure rate.

We wish you all the best in health and well-being in 2020.  Happy New Year to all!

**Products such as gentle cleansers, moisturizers, physician recommended sunscreens and retinol can be purchased at any Midwest Dermatology office.  Or you can get great products (usually not medical grade but still great options) at most drug stores.  Whatever is easiest for you!  Ask a product rep on your way out of the office for recommendations.