New Year's resolutions get a bad rap. People often make grandiose promises to transform themselves on January 1, but too many of these plans fizzle by March. Still, that doesn't have to be the case—especially when it comes to taking better care of your skin, a resolution you can set any time of the year.

The secret to sticking with any New Year's or skin care resolution is starting small. And with skin care goals, it's the minor tweaks you can make to your everyday life that get the biggest results. To help guide you, take a look at these five realistic skin care goals for the new year that are easy to achieve and will make a world of difference for your skin.

1. Find Your Skin Type

You can't create the right routine until you figure out your specific skin needs. Everyone has a skin type—dry, sensitive, oily, mature, or a combination of those four—and each skin type requires certain ingredients to keep it healthy.

To find out which skin type you might have, pay attention to the following signs:

  • Oily skin: Having a shiny complexion, dealing with acne, or finding that makeup melts off too quickly.

  • Dry skin: Having dry, itchy, or flaky skin, and skin might feel too tight with a rough texture.

  • Sensitive skin: Feeling any stinging or burning sensations to products, or frequently getting rashes, bumps, redness, peeling, or itchiness.

  • Mature skin: Noticing fine lines and less firmness in your face.

  • Combination skin: Having an oily T-zone area with some dry patches elsewhere, or having sensitive skin and dealing with breakouts.

Once you figure out which category you fall under, you'll be able to look for which ingredients to use and which to avoid. For example, if you have sensitive skin, niacinamide and ceramides are going to be your go-to choices. If your skin is oily, you'll want to avoid pore-clogging ingredients like petrolatum and mineral oil.

2. Wash Your Face Before Bed

Washing your face at least once a day is always a good idea. But if you're only going to wash your face once, it should be right before you go to bed. New York City-based board-certified Dermatologist Dr. Rachel Maiman explains that cleansing your face at night is a greater priority because you don't want to go to bed with dirt, oil, and makeup sitting on your skin while you sleep.

A product like the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser is perfect for getting the dirt off your face while still being gentle on the skin. Sometimes, you might be too tired to go through an entire routine before sleep, but even if you can't muster the energy to do it one night, keep at it as best you can. In the end, you'll be thankful you stuck with this habit.

3. See a Dermatologist

If you're able to, look for a Dermatologist you can go to for any skin concerns and regular exams. You can do all the research you want, but it's important you don't self-diagnose—always see a professional for any skin or health needs. Derms are your number one resource for any questions you might have, as they'll catch things that you won't be able to, and they'll be able to help you personalize a routine for your skin.

4. Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Derms preach it all the time because the benefits of sunscreen are undeniable. Even if you plan to stay indoors, you should be wearing sunscreen every day. But if you still need some convincing, here are some of the major benefits:

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, everyone should be using a broad-spectrum sunscreen after applying a moisturizer. It may be one extra step in your skin care routine, but it really is worth it.

5. Love Your Skin

This is the most important goal. If you have a blemish, scar, or fine lines, it's okay. Rather than stress over these so-called "imperfections," give yourself some grace and know that these things happen. Everyone breaks out from time to time, and nobody is immune to aging. If you go into a skin care routine already hating your skin, you'll be less likely to want to take care of it. Caring for your skin can be a soothing ritual if you let it, so embrace your whole self the way you are.

Start 2021 on positive vibes by loving the skin you're in and trying these skin care goals, and watch the rest of your life unfold in beautiful ways.


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

    View all posts