9 Healthy Habits Your Dermatologist And Plastic Surgeon Want You To Adopt In 2022

From reapplying sunscreen to focusing on the food you eat, these expert-approved resolutions will help you start the new year off right.
Expert Opinion
Written by Samantha Stone
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9 Healthy Habits Your Dermatologist And Plastic Surgeon Want You To Adopt In 2022madison lavern/Unsplash

It’s that time of year again — the time to reflect on our proudest accomplishments and to evaluate the areas in which we can do better. Whether using an old fashioned pen and paper or digital ‘ink,’ we write down our hopes for the upcoming year. Some might be personal and others more professional. And while we can’t necessarily help you with those resolutions (although we are feeling very optimistic for you!), we are here to help you with your beauty, self-care, and wellness goals.

We reached out to expert dermatologists and plastic surgeons in the AEDIT Provider Network to get a read on what healthy habits and lifestyle changes they hope all of their patients will adopt in 2022. Use this guide as you please — commit to all nine resolutions or just one. Whatever you decide, we’re excited for you to reap the benefits.

Below are the resolutions your dermatologist and plastic surgeon want you to make for 2022:

1. Reapply Sunscreen Every Two Hours

“We all know the importance of applying sunscreen, but it is important to go one step further and remember to reapply. It is recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or sooner if swimming or sweating, to help ensure efficacy and optimal benefit. Many of the sunburns we see in the office are a result of forgetting to reapply sunscreen. In general, the same rules apply for reapplication in terms of using a sunscreen that is broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher, but there are stick and powdered formulations that may be convenient for those who need to reapply on-the-go.” - Marisa Garshick, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City

2. Focus on Small Changes

“Having made more New Year's resolutions than I can remember and having broken most of these along the way, I am usually not a big fan of resolutions. Instead, I emphasize to my patients (and myself) to every year reassess what has gone well and what we can change in the year ahead to live healthier and to more resolutely enjoy the world around us. And I recommend starting small. When we set goals that are unrealistic, we often get overwhelmed once the new year kicks in, and we ultimately revert back to our old habits. Simple steps, such as taking our skin fitness seriously and beginning a medical skincare regimen, is a practice that can actually be relatively easy to keep up. And, if we are compliant, this type of change will produce benefits for years to come.

Another crazy suggestion I have for my patients is to reduce their screen time. Whether that is time in front of the television, the iPad, the computer, or the phone, taking time to actually live and appreciate what is going on right now makes us more mindful of our surroundings and the world around us.” - Gregory Buford, MD, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Lone Tree, CO

3. Be Proactive About Facial Aging

“The best time to consider a facial rejuvenation procedure is before a mild concern becomes a more significant problem. The superior elasticity and quality of younger skin lends to faster, more linear recovery from aesthetic treatments or surgery. We always strive to attain the most subtle, natural results in facial aesthetics, and procedures performed in one’s late-forties or early-fifties tend to achieve a gentle course-correction and the most beautiful, natural, and refreshed appearance possible.” - Adam Kolker, MD, a NYC-based double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon

4. Establish a Beauty Routine You Can Stick To (No Matter the Length)

“Taking care of ourselves and our skin is one of the most important things we can do for long-term health and beauty. While in-office procedures — like lasers, facials, dermabrasion, etc. — are great for resetting skin and helping us achieve greater results than it is possible to safely get at home, what really makes the biggest difference in our skin is what we do to it on a daily basis.

While some people might enjoy and benefit from a lengthy 13-step routine with a variety of products and techniques, others may find that they can only manage a quick, three-step cleanse, moisturize, and SPF — and that’s ok. I like to say that the best beauty routine is the one that you can stick to. The most important thing is to stay consistent with it. This New Year, I’d like to see my patients find a beauty routine that works for them, and do it every day. If you take care of your skin and body, and use products that are good for your skin, the results will speak for themselves!” - Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon in NYC

5. Prioritize Healthy Eating & Exercise

“A resolution that I'd like my patients to incorporate into their lives long-term is adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and routine exercise. One of the largest components of my practice is body contouring, including abdominoplasty and liposuction. I frequently tell patients that I will do everything I can to help them achieve the best result possible, but I can't want it more than they do. For these procedures to have long lasting results that actually get better over time, patients have to be committed to maintaining and improving the result with a healthy lifestyle.” - Umbareen Mahmood, MD, a NYC-based board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon

6. Focus on Gratitude

“Spend a few minutes every day to reflect on the things for which you are grateful. Gratitude is a direct path to happiness, and happiness leads to a powerful, radiant beauty that can only come from the inside.” - Brendan Camp, MD, a board certified dermatologist in NYC

7. Upgrade to ‘Medical Grade’ Skincare

“Get on a medical grade skincare routine and stick to it. This is directed by a true skincare expert and not a salesperson looking to sell creams. Stop trying the ‘newest’ or ‘greatest’ over-the-counter skincare line — it will probably disappoint you and then you spend more money in the long run on creams that will eventually just sit on the shelf. People need to stick to routines once they find one that works well for them. I always tell people that using medical-grade skincare is like going to the gym, if you stop using it consistently, you will eventually lose the results you gained.” - Steven Pearlman, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC

8. Focus on the Food You Eat

“Maintaining a well-balanced diet is important for a number of reasons. Not only are you providing your body with the nourishment needed to feel strong throughout the day, but the foods we eat make a difference in the look and feel of our skin, too. Diet largely impacts the levels of varying hormones in the body, and hormones regulate many of the natural processes that occur within the body. This means that the overall health and appearance of skin is, inevitably, closely related to hormone fluctuations that are influenced by diet. When we take a global approach to the health of our skin, diet should be one of the factors we take into account. Setting a New Year’s resolution to eat mindfully and consume healthy foods is something that anyone and everyone can benefit from.

Baked goods like doughnuts and pastries — although they may be delicious — are packed with sugar, which may contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Diets that contain high concentrations of sugar and processed carbohydrates have the potential to negatively affect the skin’s collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin youthful, supple, and firm. When collagen production decreases, there’s less resistance to wrinkles and skin may become lined.

Chocolate and candy, dairy products like cheese and ice cream, and fried foods can be linked to a change in hormones that regulate sebum production and cause an inflammatory response, both of which have the potential to cause an acne breakout. Eating meat with a high content of saturated fat could also contribute to the formation of acne. This is because fattier cuts of meat are associated with high concentrations of insulin growth factor. Insulin growth factor stimulates the production of sex hormones (androgens) that trigger an upswing in sebum production and ultimately, the formation of acne.

Eating these foods in moderation is definitely okay, however, focus on a well-rounded and balanced diet that incorporates lots of leafy greens, lean proteins, and fruits that are rich in antioxidants. Spinach, kale, carrots, and salmon are all power foods for your body and skin.” - Michele Green, MD, a NYC-based board certified dermatologist

9. Choose Happiness

“People should focus on activities that give them a brighter and more cheerful outlook on life. Exercise, relaxation, meditation, and enjoying one's job can give us the much needed positivity that then translates to a healthier us — and might even delay the need for plastic surgery!” - Gary Linkov, MD, a double board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in NYC

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SAMANTHA STONEis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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