Happy New Year from all of us here at Skin Spectrum! Another year has flown by, and with January already upon us, we wanted to share some of our skin care resolutions – ways to keep our skin looking its best in 2016, especially through these cold winter months.

Stick with the sunscreen – As winter weather sets in, and the days become colder and more overcast, it’s tempting to just forget about sunscreen. Unfortunately, UVA radiation, which accounts for over 95% of UV rays on Earth, can penetrate through clouds and glass. This means that UVA rays are almost equally strong throughout the year! UVA radiation is responsible for many of the aging changes seen with chronic sun exposure, including fine lines, wrinkles, and collagen breakdown. Be sure to remember your sunscreen every single day – regardless of the weather.

It’s never too early to start a good skincare regimen – Even those of us in our 20’s and 30’s can start taking some fundamental steps to keep out skin looking its best. In addition to sunscreen, think about adding an antioxidant and a retinoid to your skincare regimen. Many of the age-related changes we see in our skin are caused by DNA damage due to free radicals, which are molecules that are created by UV radiation, smoke, and environmental pollutants. Antioxidants, like Vitamins C and E, help protect our skin against free radicals, and can help prevent premature aging of our skin. Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A, and are potent collagen stimulators that can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Schedule a skincare consultation with one of our providers to learn more about the best skincare regimen for you.

Keep your skin moisturized – During winter, many of us start to notice that our skin just seems drier. Sometimes that dryness can progress to cracking, peeling, flaking, or even an itchy rash called eczema. It’s important to take special care of our skin during the winter to keep it hydrated and healthy. Hot water and harsh washes and soaps can strip skin of its natural oils, so try to shower with lukewarm water and a gentle, fragrance-free soap for sensitive skin. Try to avoid spending more than 10 minutes in the shower, and skip any harsh scrub brushes or loofahs, which can irritate your skin more. After you get out of the shower, pat your skin dry and use a thicker moisturizing crème (rather than a lotion) to seal the moisture into your skin.

Hydrate from the inside out – Fish oil supplements are full of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which may be of benefit in a wide array of conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis to heart disease. The fatty acids found in fish oils may help improve the barrier function of our skin, so it can better retain its moisture, and their anti-inflammatory effects may help prevent eczema. Be sure to consult your physician prior to starting fish oil supplements, particularly if you are taking any blood thinners.

Get your skin checked – It’s a good idea for all of us to see our dermatologists for a yearly, head-to-toe skin examination. Arizona has the second highest skin cancer rate in the world, so it’s especially important to make sure that we’re all getting screened regularly. Be sure to look out for any moles that meet the ABCDE criteria – look for any growths that are asymmetric, have irregular borders, have multiple colors, have a diameter larger than 1/4th of an inch, or have been evolving or changing in color, size, shape, or symptoms with time.