In general, my skin care/shaving routine is fairly simple, and utilizes some very basic but reliable concepts that are time tested and proven. The most common mistake I see by far in patients is that far too many products are being used, causing skin irritation, when really what needs to be done is to simplify their routine.
From a medical perspective, skin care should encompass 3 separate categories, each of which requires its own attention, but may overlap with the use of some multipurpose products. For simplicity’s sake, I'll address each category separately, my specific routine in each one, and options pending your specific skin type.
I find that much like a complicated surgery, skin care can be a very confusing and daunting task. Just like I would for a major operation, breaking things down into much more simple, concrete steps, helps make the task at hand much less intimidating.
This is overall the most simple category, and probably the one that most people struggle with in terms of choosing the most appropriate product for them. The issue here is that skin requires oil to maintain its supple texture, and the face is particularly sensitive to the loss of these essential oils, so to speak.
The more harsh the product, in general, the more it will rob the skin of these oils. Some of us, with acne prone skin, require a harsher product to do the job, such as antibacterial agents, and In doing so, damage the skin as a result if the oils are not replaced after cleansing.
I use the simplest, most hypoallergenic product I can find, which is Cetaphil.
Your skin can be very much compared to the skin of an onion. The top layers are mostly dead cells that serve to protect the healthier, newer, more vulnerable skin underneath. Every few days, our skin sheds the top layer, and exposes more of the fresher skin underneath. As we age, the speed at which our skin sheds slows, and this is one of the reasons we lose that youthful glow that children and adolescents have seemingly effortlessly.
We become more prone to developing brown discoloration, commonly called “age spots” which are really just damaged skin that needs to be “peeled back” a few layers to expose the more radiant skin underneath. There are various ways to do this, from facial scrubs, to retinoid products and chemical peels, to laser treatments, in order of aggressiveness.
It doesn’t just end there however. In those of us with oily skin, lack of exfoliation also allows buildup of dead skin over hair follicles. Why is that bad? All of us have heard of razor bumps, right? That entire process is most commonly due to the hair follicles that have been shaved? down to beneath the skin’s surface being unable to escape due to the excess skin layers “blocking the drain” so to speak. The same occurs with acne, which is essentially the same problem, just a different result. If you exfoliate properly, and prevent anything accumulating under the top layer of your skin, whether it is hair or oil, very often you will minimize both razor bumps and acne as a result.
Over time, you skin will also look fresher, more youthful, and radiant, very similar to the inside of an onion as compared to the outside. This is why I think overall, exfoliation is probably the most important part of any skin care routine, and why I spend the most time on it.
This is also a fairly underrated category, although clearly more attention is being paid to it lately. I went through a fairly long list of the benefits of exfoliation and stressed the virtues of this part of your skin care routine. There is a downside, however, as with almost anything. By removing this dead layer of skin, you are also rendering the fresher, exposed skin somewhat more susceptible to external damage, mostly from UV light.
Does that mean you shouldn’t exfoliate? Absolutely not. It means you should exfoliate, reap the benefits, but also protect your fresher, more youthful skin appropriately. How do you do this? By using moisturizer and an efficient sunblock. Many of us are plagued with what is commonly called “combination skin” which is a catchall term for skin that is often acne prone in patches, yet also susceptible to drying out. Dry skin is analogous to chapped lips – it succumbs to damage, cracks, and subsequently, more irritation and acne as a result. Exfoliated skin is also more susceptible to damage. For this reason, it's extremely important to keep your skin supple and protected with the appropriate product.
Thankfully, many options exist currently in combination products as the industry has seen the massive need for products such as this, making a multitude of excellent choices widely available.
I personally use Elta MD Barrier Renewal Complex.
Workout and Diet
As you may have noticed at this point, I’m a very logical and concrete thinker, and a creature of habit for the most part, but if it works, it works. I take a similar approach to my diet and workout regimen, which also doubles as my relaxation and stress management program for the most part.
OK, so what is the ideal workout regimen? That depends on what you are trying to accomplish. In general, I group objectives into three separate categories: Flexibility, Endurance and Strength/Muscle Mass
All three goals are achieved using different techniques, and all are important. If you noted, I didn’t include weight loss as a category be- cause, in general, weight loss has very little to do with your workout regimen, as I stated prior. Men tend to focus more on endurance and strength/mass, while women tend to focus on flexibility and endurance. Ideally, all should be addressed for a healthy body. If you look at workouts as a way to improve your functional status, and diet as the path to weight management, you will likely have far greater success in achieving your fitness goals.
My cardio/endurance routine fluctuates the most. In general, during the summer months, I prefer to be outside and pick activities such as cycling, running and hiking to get my cardio in. I typically do anything from 2-8 hours a week of cardio, depending if I’m training for a competition or not, or whether I just have been slacking on my diet. While that sounds like a lot, it’s quite easy to do 4 hours on a bike at one sitting, and it all adds up.
In the winter, being that I live in NYC, it’s not really that appealing to be outside, so I take this time to experiment with different programs, classes, and gyms. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and some of my favorite for getting my cardio in include Barry’s Boot Camp, Rumble, Row House, and Flywheel. I never leave any of those places without being drenched in sweat and the energy level at all of them is incredible.
I'll typically lift weights using various routines 2-3 times a week to keep my functionality up, and I’ve become a huge fan of the more rapid fire cross training regimens lately, and it can actually be really fun with the right training partner. If you are new to this, try a trainer to start, but use a reputable source. In NYC, my favorite top tier locales are Dogpound and Tone House.
I hope you enjoyed learning about my routine, and more importantly, the reasoning behind it.
Dr. David Anthony Greuner is the managing director and co-founder of NYC Surgical Associates. He is a double board certified surgeon with over 10 years of experience.
Due to his acknowledged expertise in minimally invasive and cardiovascular surgery, Dr. Greuner is regularly quoted in articles in major magazines and newspapers, and he has made frequent appearances on national television programs such as CBS’s “The Doctors”, the “Dr. Oz” show, Eyewitness News, and PIX 11.
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