This Holiday Give the Gift of Beautiful Skin


By Ava Shamban, MD

December is the month of giving.  And now that you’ve gotten through your holiday shopping, you can concentrate on the important stuff—giving to yourself.

Most of us think of a ‘gift’ as something we give to others. But if you want to be the MVP on any team—whether it’s the family front, the girlfriend  squad, or the best manager brigade —you’ve got to save some TLC for yours truly.  Keep yourself strong, and you can be a strength to others.

Appearance plays a huge role in self-esteem.    When we are excited about the way we look, this feeling supports an overall positive outlook, an outlook that says anything is possible.  So it’s not a matter of vanity to want beautiful skin.  It’s a right.

Stress, hormonal changes, environmental assaults – all of these can take a toll on skin.  But, just like in any relationship, you can take control—and choose to maintain or restore naturally glowing, healthy skin.  You can prevent premature signs of aging.  You can get rid of adult acne.  You can erase the damage that illness may cause.  Follow a nourishing skin care regimen; fight free radicals with fitness and diet; get rid of cigarettes and other destructive habits; take advantage of today’s highly advanced non-invasive procedures; and the sky’s the limit.  Amazing support is available.  All we need to do, is value ourselves enough to seek it.

Taking steps to keep skin looking healthy and naturally youthful isn’t selfish or egotistical –it’s one of the most giving things you can do.

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Six Gifts You Can Give Your Skin This Holiday Season

  • A good daily skin care regimen, appropriate for your skin type, will build a great foundation for a youthful, glowing complexion.  Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and protect your skin from the sun.  The younger you start, the better.
  • Eat right and exercise.  Choose foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, drink plenty of water and get in your cardio.   These steps will fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, regulate hormone levels, promote skin cell turnover, and stimulate collagen.  Basically, exactly what you need to keep the signs of aging at bay.
  • If you want to keep skin healthy, read labels and know your ingredients.  It doesn’t matter how much that fancy cream costs – the potent active have to show up in the first third of the label for it to do any good.  Personally, I’m a big fan of retinoids – they are clinically proven to increase skin cell turnover, stimulate new collagen, increase moisture content, increase blood flow, and decrease wrinkles.  Other anti-aging actives to look out for include:  niacinamide, vitamins E and C, and other anti-oxidants; peptides; growth factors; and potent moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic and acid and ceramides.
  • A great way to get potent actives into your skin is to use do-it-yourself recipes, packed with anti-oxidants and beneficial enzymes like those you find in blueberries and pineapple.  And my book, Heal Your Skin, just happens to have a whole recipe list!
  • Your friendly neighborhood dermatologist can also give you a helping hand. In terms of prevention, one can start ‘baby botox’ (small amounts of neuromodulator injections) at the first signs of dynamic wrinkles, and hyaluronic acids injections (fillers), at the first sign of lost volume.  Regular facials to stimulate turnover and circulation are also a great idea.  Other than that, consistency and protection are your best bets for keeping those wrinkles at bay!
  • And, most importantly, put your best face forward.  Each one of us has unique, individual beauty.  Focus on looking and feeling the best you can in your own skin—don’t measure yourself against someone else.