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New Year, Healthier Skin

This New Year, it’s out with the old, in with the new—new healthy skin habits, that is. Here, some smart skin care practices to commit to in 2013.

Think you only need to slather on the SPF during the summer months? Think again: Our skin needs sun protection 365 days a year, rain or shine. Regular use of broad spectrum sunscreen decreases your skin cancer risk and helps to prevent the breakdown of collagen that causes skin aging.

The sun’s rays are just as strong during the winter; in fact, the intensity of UV rays can increase in high altitudes or when reflected off of snow. If you’re hitting the slopes this winter, make sure to apply (and reapply) sunscreen throughout the day.

One easy way to get your daily dose? Save a step by using a moisturizer with sunscreen like SkinMedica® TNS Ultimate Daily Moisturizer™ SPF 20. If you plan to be outside, switch to a higher SPF, like SkinMedica® Environmental Defense Sunscreen™ SPF 50+.

Dermatologists stress the importance of skin care compliance, as it helps ensure that patients get the best results from both in-office procedures and topical products. If your doctor instructs you to apply a product twice a day, do it—chances are, you’ll see faster results.

By following a consistent skin care regimen, you can be sure your skin is getting the most out of each product you use. For example, proper cleansing and exfoliation may allow your serum to work more efficiently, while using a sunscreen helps to protect the results you get from anti-aging products like retinol.

If you have dry skin, you already know the importance of replenishing moisture. But oily- or acne-prone skin types may be tempted to skip the moisturizing step altogether, believing the common misconception that adding moisture to already oily skin will exacerbate breakouts.

When the skin is stripped of its natural oils, be it from lack of moisturizing or from using harsh scrubs or cleansers, its oil glands can go into overdrive and overcompensate by producing more oil.

The key is to bring the skin into balance with a light moisturizer designed especially for the breakout prone. Try SkinMedica® Ultra Sheer Moisturizer, which leaves the skin soft and supple without an oily residue.

Drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables are also easy ways to keep your skin—and body—hydrated from the inside out.

We’ve all had a stubborn spot that we want gone, tout de suite. But picking at a blemish can have unpleasant consequences for your skin, including delayed healing or spread of infection. Popping or squeezing a pimple can also cause trauma to the skin, leading to scars or hyperpigmentation that linger long after the blemish is gone.

Instead, apply a warm, moist compress to lessen inflammation and use a topical product containing benzoyl peroxide to help reduce surface bacteria or salicylic acid to help unclog pores. SkinMedica’s Acne Treatment Lotion features benzoyl peroxide, along with sage leaf extract to purify the pores.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Fortunately, when caught early, almost all skin cancers are curable.

Patients should visit their dermatologist annually for a thorough skin exam, but the preventative measures shouldn’t stop there. Performing monthly at-home skin checks is easy, cost-free and most importantly, increases the chances of early detection.

Read more about the importance of regular skin checks here and visit the Skin Cancer Foundation website for easy step-by-step instructions on how to perform a self-exam.