Skin Deep

New year means a new start for your skin

Rihanna and NIVEA celebrate 100 Years Skincare for Life.
Rihanna and NIVEA celebrate 100 Years Skincare for Life. PR NEWSWIRE

A new year means a fresh start all around — and your skin is no exception. It’s never too late to ditch bad habits, and these small steps can make a big difference in the health (and appearance) of your skin!

Learn your true skin type

Are you sick of wasting money on skincare products that don’t work or deliver on their promises? The key to seeing real results is using the proper products for your unique skin type. Find out yours once and for all by making an appointment with a physician who offers the Skin Type Solutions quiz. (Click here to locate a doctor near you.)

Stick with your regimen

Once you’re on the proper skincare regimen, using it consistently is key for optimizing your skin’s health—and your results. At the very least, use SPF every morning, and in the evening, cleanse and apply an anti-aging product. (Be sure these products are appropriate for your skin type.)

Avoid the wrong products

Bad things happen when you use the wrong skincare products for your skin type.

▪  Inflammation can accelerate skin aging by generating free radicals that break down collagen and lead to wrinkles. It can also stimulate the pigment-producing cells in your skin, which leads to dark patches and discoloration.

▪  Dehydration causes skin to become rough, dry and unable to reflect light, which leaves skin looking dull. Lack of hydration can also lead to premature lines and wrinkles since anti-aging enzymes need water to function properly.

▪  Glycation is a process that occurs when sugar molecules bind to proteins like collagen and elastin your skin. Glycation damages these proteins and makes skin fragile, less elastic and more prone to visible aging.

▪  If you’re prone to acne, using the wrong products is basically begging for breakouts.

▪  Large pores can become even more visible if they become clogged. Although it’s impossible to shrink the actual size of your pores, the proper skincare products can keep them clear of the dirt and debris that makes them appear larger.

Make room for retinol

I advise my patients to start using an over-the-counter retinol or prescription-based retinoid in their 20s—but it’s never too late to start. This study found that retinol improved wrinkles and skin texture in patients over 80 years old. There are so many retinol options, and the best one for you depends on your skin type. My over-the-counter favorites include Obagi 360 Retinol 0.5, PCA Skin Retinol Renewal, SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5, 1.0, SkinMedica Retinol Complex .25, 0.5 and 1.0, Essopi (available exclusively through dermatologists) and Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair products. Keep in mind that some skin types have a hard time tolerating retinol. Talk to your dermatologist about the best cleansers and moisturizers to use with retinol to keep side effects to a minimum.

Are you ready to get on the path to healthy skin for 2017? As you can see, it’s as easy as making wise skincare choices. Visit my new blog at for updates about skincare, in-office treatments and many other ways to get the skin you’ve always wanted!

Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.