Why New Year's Resolutions Suck: 3 Skin Care "Intentions" You Can Start Right Now!

The season of resolutions is still fresh and real. Does this make anyone else feel super anxious? 

This time of year has always made me uneasy. Don't get me wrong - I love a fresh start. I have always just felt that the "New Year's Resolution," as a construct, is flawed. They often set one up for feeling like they have failed if they eat that one piece of cake they said they wouldn't. Resolutions can also often feel so out-of-reach or rigid that it is easy to give up.

I prefer to set "New Year's Intentions" - clear statements as to the things that will get my focus and attention for the year to come, realizing that there will be bumps along the way and curves and roadblocks along the journey - and it's all good however it turns out, as long as I gave it my all.

So, today, at the risk of sounding like a New Year's Resolution Slacker, I'm offering 3 realistic, easy and accessible "New Year's Skin Care Intentions" that you can start right this second. These are 3 of the most important things you can do to keep your skin happy and healthy and every time you do them, your skin will thank you.

Because I am a Virgo by sign, I will organize these for you by intention and action steps because sometimes I'm OCD like that. If you are a Pisces, perhaps, you can write these intentions on a napkin and either make origami out of it or lose it somewhere in your purse (not poking fun at Pisces - I've got a ton of Pisces influence in my astrology and this is something I would do). If you are a Capricorn, you could make a pie chart of this information and give it to someone else to tell them what to do (OK, I'm poking fun of my husband here). 


For those of you that have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I never shut up about hydration. But it's true. One of the easiest and best things you can do for your skin is to keep your body hydrated from the inside. (Interestingly, this is the #1 thing that my skin care clients have mentioned they are going to work toward this year.)

Skin needs proper internal hydration to stay supple, moist, fresh and to properly do jobs like feeding and making skin cells. And NO amount of moisturizer or fancy pants treatment can reverse the effect of poor internal hydration on skin.

The Intention:

This year I will strive to keep hydrated, for my skin and entire body health.

Action Steps:

Each day, I will work to include 3 extra sources of hydration in my diet (this can be in the form of water (especially coconut water), caffeine-free herbal teas, juices, herb/fruit infused waters, kefir water, kombucha or other healthy fluids.

For each caffeinated or alcoholic beverage I consume, I will consume an additional serving of a healthy fluid.

One of the most often skipped steps in skin care is exfoliation. Just as topical moisturizers can't help fix dehydrated skin, they won't be as effective on skin that is not properly exfoliated.

Skin on the face and body should be exfoliated at least once a week (or more for appropriate skin types - but please note that TOO MUCH exfoliation is actually detrimental to skin). Removing this layer of dead skin regularly is crucial to assisting the skin in functioning properly and allowing your skin care products to do their job. Slapping moisturizer on top of old, dead skin cells is like trying to clean your oven with a cotton ball - not very effective (that was a horrible analogy - sorry!).


This year I will plan to exfoliate the skin on my face and body once a week.

Action Steps:

Once a week, I will exfoliate the skin on my face with an exfoliant suited to my skin type. 

There are about a million trillion types of exfoliants out in the world, so it is difficult for me to recommend one that is appropriate for each one of you, but the following is a quick, simple exfoliating mask recipe that is good for all skin types (granted you aren't allergic or sensitive to any of the ingredients):

A small amount of ripe papaya
A few chunks of pineapple
A dollop of yogurt or cream(milk)
A drizzle of honey 

Smash it all together in a bowl with a fork (or use an immersion blender) and apply to clean skin for 15-20 minutes. Remove with a clean, warm, damp cloth. Rinse face with warm water to remove any residue and follow with your favorite toner and moisturizer.

Once a week, on the rest of my body, I will use a body scrub and/or some other exfoliation technique, such as dry brushing, to keep my skin fresh from icky dead skin cells.

Check out this post from the past for tips on dry brushing and a recipe for a simple, effective body scrub.

A large part of skin care is protecting skin from the elements - sun, wind, extreme temperatures, environmental pollutants, dirt, debris and general funk. 

We all know it is important to wear sunscreen to protect from the sun's rays, but another good reason to wear sunscreen and other treatments that protect the skin - moisturizers, body butters, lotions, etc. - is to allow a barrier between the skin and life. This buffer can help protect delicate skin tissues from the elements and from skin sucking in environmental pollutants.

Another important reason to use these protective coatings is to allow skin to maintain proper moisture balance by helping to keep the vital moisture in the skin, rather than evaporated into the environment (the fancy word for this is Transepidermal Water Loss).

I will use protective treatments on my face and body daily to help protect it from the environment.

Action Steps:
Each day, I will apply a protective moisturizer to my face and body, followed by healthy sun protection.

Again, it is hard to recommend one particular product that works for each of you, but some of my protective favorites are: DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+, 3rd Rock Sunblock, and Deep Steep Body Butter.

Oh, and one last intention to add - more of a mantra, really:

I will not freak out if I don't do this stuff every day, but every day that I do, my skin is that much healthier. :)

A few of my intentions this year? To get back into a regular yoga practice and to write an eBook.

Now, where the heck did I put that napkin???

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