Derm Deep Dive: Skin Care Trends and Guidelines for 2024
Guidelines to Follow, Products and Treatments to Use – and What to Leave Behind
We’re back with another Derm Deep Dive, a series where we provide expert advice from one of our board-certified dermatologists about a specific topic in skin care. For this edition, we’re speaking with Dr. Daniel Cuozzo, DO, FAAD, about skin care guidelines and trends to bring into 2024 – and what to leave behind in 2023.
Dr. Cuozzo, who serves patients at our Scarborough, ME practice, was recently interviewed on this topic by Maine news station WGME 13 for its Ask the Expert segment. You can watch the complete interview here!
Skin Care Guidelines You Should Follow in 2024
Although we’re talking about trends, two approaches to skin care never go out of style and should be viewed as more routine practices than trends.
The most important is to conduct skin checks on yourself once each month to make sure you’re aware of any new or changing areas on your skin. I tell patients to follow the “ABCDs” for a skin check:
Asymmetry: Spots on the skin should appear symmetrical (i.e. even on both sides) rather than asymmetrical (i.e. uneven on one side).
Borders: The borders around any spots or areas on your skin should be smooth as opposed to jagged or uneven.
Changing: Have any areas of your skin changed over time or since you last conducted a skin check?
Different: Are any areas of your skin different in appearance, i.e. new spots, discoloration, or lesions? Lesions can be an indication of skin cancer, so it’s especially important to see a dermatologist if you notice pigmented, brown, red, crusting or non-healing lesions.
While it’s excellent to conduct monthly self-exams on your skin to be aware of any abnormalities that fit into the above ABCD categories, I also recommend getting an annual skin check by a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer rates are rising in Maine at a higher level than in other parts of the country, and the best prevention is awareness and early diagnosis.
Here at Optima Dermatology, we can’t say this enough – sun protection is a must, even on overcast days and during the winter months. Sunscreen and other skin protection measures will never go out of style, and is something you should follow daily.
I recommend using a daily moisturizer with an SPF of at least 30, and using a sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher when you’re going to be outside for any extended period. And don’t forget to reapply!
Maine has so many wonderful ways to spend time outdoors, whether on the beaches or in the mountains, and I encourage my patients to enjoy being outside as much as possible but to always remember to protect their skin from the sun at the same time.
Maine (and the rest of New England) is known for its cold and sometimes harsh winters, so regularly moisturizing your skin in the winter months is incredibly important to combat dry skin and protect it from the elements.
I recommend moisturizing all year long, as hot weather can also cause dry skin and our skin naturally reacts to a lack of moisture by producing oil. A regular, light moisturizer can make the difference between dry, itchy, red, or flaky skin and healthy, soft skin that can handle the elements, whatever they might be.
There are also two new trends that you may consider exploring in 2024.
Named with the slimy insect in mind, the practice of slugging is covering your skin in Vaseline or petroleum jelly before bed to help moisturize your skin while you sleep.
I recommend using a thin layer if you choose to follow this trend, and I also recommend skipping your other skin care regimens on nights you are slugging because petroleum jelly on the skin can make those products more potent and can lead to irritation.
This trend is something a lot of dermatologists promote, including the American Academy of Dermatology. Skin cycling is when you turn your skin care regimen into a four-night cycle that looks something like this:
- Night 1: Exfoliation
- Night 2: Apply a retinoid, either over-the-counter or prescription
- Night 3: Moisturize
- Night 4: Moisturize
The idea behind skin cycling is to vary your regimen so you’re adequately spacing out exfoliation and moisturization to result in a healthier approach to your skin care. You shouldn’t be exfoliating every night, but when balanced with other skin care practices, it is an effective treatment that helps promote healthy, glowing skin.
A Skin Care Trend to Leave Behind
We’ve all heard the term “New Year, New You” – well, here is one trend that shouldn’t be included in your “new you” approach to skin care.
Nasal Tanning Spray
If you haven’t heard of this trend, don’t worry – I’m not recommending it to any of my patients. The primary ingredient in nasal tanning spray, Melanotan II, is intended to help trigger a temporary darkening of the skin when this product is inhaled. However, it is a synthetic ingredient and is not FDA-approved and unregulated, so it has the potential to be dangerous to your health.
If you have concerns about your skin or want to discuss the best approach to your skincare, I’d love to meet with you. If you live in the greater Portland, Maine area, schedule an appointment with me at Optima Dermatology’s Scarborough, ME practice for an initial consultation and to get started on a path to healthier, happier skin.