Ah, college—some of the best years of your social life are also some of the worst years of your skin care routine. From cheap skin care products to sleeping in our makeup, there is a seemingly endless list of things we wish we knew about taking care of our skin back in our early days of adulthood. Thankfully we have learned a thing or two since then, and we want to share our skin care hacks with you so that you can avoid the horrors of using old mascara, spending way too much money on products that never work quite right, and simple hygiene habits that make a huge difference.
Wash Your Face Often
There is nothing quite like washing your face after a long day to feel relaxed and prepared to go to sleep, but life has not always been like that. It can be tempting to crawl into bed after a long day (or night) without properly cleaning your skin, but those poor decisions will come back and haunt you when dirt and oil build up manifests in the form of unsightly acne later on. Get in the habit of starting and ending each day with your face over the bathroom sink, and you will reap the benefits for years to come. Hydropeptide makes a great exfoliating cleanser that can help keep your skin clear by sloughing off dead skin cells while cleansing, making it convenient and easy to keep your skin clean.
Always Remove Your Makeup
Speaking of good cleaning habits, sometimes it just seems like way too much effort to wipe your makeup off before falling asleep. Sleeping in your makeup, though, will always do more harm than good to your skin (and pillowcases). Keep makeup wipes in your purse or nightstand so that you never have an excuse not to take your makeup off at night. Even if you skip out on cleaning your face every now and then, this little bit of effort will go a long way—especially in times of stress when your skin is already working overtime.
Paws Off Your Acne
If you have ever gotten a facial you have probably heard that you should never try and pop your zits on your own. This is true, as popping your zits can inflame the skin and create painful red spots in their place that take much longer to go away than if you had left the zit alone—potentially scarring in some cases. Not only that, it can also spread the bacteria that caused the zit in the first place, potentially leading to even more acne later on. Instead of popping your zit on your own, stick a Mighty Patch on it before you go to sleep and wake up the next day to a clear face. Seriously, we wish we had known of these hydrocolloid patches ten years ago.
If you had tried to tell our oil-slicked faces at the age of 18 that all we needed was a good moisturizer to help combat our skin problems we probably would have laughed in your face. But trust us when we speak from experience that this is true. Often, when you suffer from oily skin, it is actually a sign that your skin is lacking moisture and feels that it needs to work overtime in order to keep itself healthy. Start by washing your face with a cleanser before applying a layer of moisturizer. Try doing this in the morning before you put your makeup on and at night before you go to bed, that way your skin is never lacking in nutrients to keep it moist and supple.
We recommend a product like Waterburst from Glamglow for the day and Elta MD’s moisturizer for the night. Both contain great ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help hydrate and moisturize your skin to prevent the over production of oil. If you still feel as if your forehead is a bit oily, blot throughout the day or use a finishing powder, like this one from Jane Iredale, to soak up excess oil without drying out your skin.
Never Use Expired Makeup
Well—never may be a bit dramatic. If your mascara expired last week you are probably fine to continue using it for a bit longer, but do try to pay attention to how long you have had each of the products in your makeup bag or skin care shelf. Over time, germs and bacteria can build up in your makeup and skin care products and cause tons of problems once you put the products on your face. This rings especially true for anything that goes near the eye area, where sensitive and delicate skin is especially prone to infection and problems. If your skin care and makeup is expired it can cause acne problems, at the very least.
We recommend tossing your mascara or eyeliner once every six months and getting a new tube or stick. Most beauty products will have a little symbol on the packaging to signify the expiration date of the product. It looks like a little pot of makeup with the cap coming off of it and is accompanied by a number next to the letter M or Y (which is rare) to symbolize how many months the product will stay fresh after opening. For most skin care and beauty products, this is around 6-12 months. Some natural products may expire in a shorter amount of time because they contain no preservatives (often listed as parabens on ingredient lists), so be wary of that when purchasing.
Invest In Your Skin
Whether it be talking to a dermatologist to address your acne concerns or buying products that contain high quality ingredients, investing in your skin can only pay off in the long run. We get it, student life is all about budgeting, but think about your skin with the “less is more” mentality when addressing skin care products. Instead of buying a handful of cheap, ineffective skin care products, invest in one or two that will address the biggest concerns you have right now. This will also help you feel better when your bathroom counter is not overflowing with products you never use. K-beauty blogs may make it seem fun to try 15 different types of serum at a time, but you really only need a couple of products to keep your skin healthy.
Protect your skin and your living space by keeping it simple and clutter-free, and try not to let your skin stress you out too much during a time of your life when things like that are often truly out of your control. If you spend too much time worrying that your skin is not as clear as Instagram makes it seem like you should be, you will end up spending too much of your time trying to achieve something that no one—not even a Kardashian—is able to achieve: perfection.