DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor nor an expert. I’m just a normal person doing the best I can. I have found skin care to be one of those areas where everyone has different opinions about what works and what doesn’t. If you have already found something else that works great for you, keep doing it! If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
- This first one isn’t just a tip, it’s a rule. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what kind of skin you have, you need to follow this rule. PUT SUNSCREEN ON YOUR FACE. Please, people for the love of god just do it. For the first 21 years of my life, I was one of those awful people who broke this rule. I was that person who said, “It’s fine, I’m probably not going to get skin cancer.” Even worse, I was that awful person that said, “and so what if I do? Skin cancer isn’t even that bad.” Don’t be like me. Use your brain.
- SPF 30-50 is ideal. Anything less than 30 isn’t really making any sort of difference. This is important to note, because a lot of moisturizers advertise that they protect from sun damage, but then only have SPF 15 (which won’t actually protect you from sun damage). As someone who is about to be spending 40 hours a week outside, I want to be sure that the sunscreen I am putting on my face is actually going to be doing its job.
- Chemical sunscreens need to be reapplied more frequently than mineral sunscreens (check the labels on your products!).
- The other golden rule that can apply to any skin type is in regards to fragrance (specifically how you should avoid it whenever possible). Fragrance offers no benefits to your skin, and can potentially cause problems. So why not just stay away from it all together? You would be surprised by how many “sensitive skin” care products have fragrance listed under the ingredients list.
- If you are going to use a product with fragrance in it, it should be a product that gets washed off (such as a cleanser).
- Products that should never have fragrance are the ones you leave on your face all day/night (such as moisturizer, oils, and serums).
- WASH YOUR FACE. If you’re sweating from the second you wake up, to the second you go to sleep your face needs a deep clean at least once a day.
- Use a cleanser with salicylic acid in it every morning and night if you have acne prone skin (specifically cystic acne). Personally, when the climate changes my skin freaks out, and it freaks out extra hard when it’s a humid climate. My personal favorite cleansers to help combat the cystic acne flareups are from Cerave (it’s fragrance free!).
- Back off on the mechanical exfoliants. Mechanical exfoliants are any of those face scrubs that I was always told were great for my face. I felt like the harder I scrubbed the cleaner I was getting. To my surprise, I discovered that these scrubs (such as Kylie Jenner’s walnut face scrub) can actually cause micro abrasions (tiny cuts) on your face. Once you have these abrasions on your face, bacteria can more easily get into your skin and cause problems. As someone who will probably be jumping into pee infested pool water for my job, I certainly don’t want anything floating around in that water getting into my face through micro abrasions.
- The better option is chemical exfoliants. This means that a product can break up dead skin cells on a molecular level rather than a superficial one. The Cerave cleanser with salicylic acid was recommended by a dermatologist as a great chemical exfoliant.
- MOISTURIZE. MOISTURIZE. MOISTURIZE. Not only did I used to be the horrible person who didn’t believe I needed sunscreen, I also was the person who believed I didn’t need to moisturize every day. My face was plenty oily already, no need to slather more slime on top of it to make it even shinier. However, through research I’ve learned that using products that are extremely drying (such as washing my face with salicylic acid twice a day) without counteracting the dryness by moisturizing can actually cause your face to produce more oil.
- Avoid avoid moisturizers with acids in them (salicylic acid, glycolic acid, etc). These can be very drying if left on the face for too long. Acids are better as a cleanser that gets washed off than a cream.
- Check the ingredient lists. Less is more! Think about it like this, when skin care products are diluted with a bunch of ingredients that aren’t actually doing anything beneficial (such as fragrances) it’s leaving less room in the bottle for the good stuff that your skin actually needs.
- Ceramides are an ingredient you want to see in moisturizers. They help retain moisture (important because again, you’re going to want to wash your face twice a day).
- Niacinamide is a good thing to see on an ingredient list. It can brighten your complexion.
- Jojoba oil is good for a moisturizer. It can help keep the skin from looking oily and can help protect from acne.
- Avoid cleansers with oil of bergamot in them. This can clog your pores and cause skin irritation.
- Bentonite clay masks can help with oily skin (this can help save you from the humidity).
- Benzoyl peroxide is helpful with mild acne breakouts.
- Now that we are all adults (or at least college students pretending to be adults), we might want to start combating signs of early aging on our skin. Applying some sort of retinol at night can help smooth those fine lines and wrinkles (worry lines from the stress of the DCP or laugh lines from all the fun we will be having).
My Top 5 Drug Store Skin Care Products (because everyone in the DCP is broke):
- Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser (with salicylic acid and ceramides).
- Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (with ceramides, niacinamide, and SPF 30).
- Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (ultra lightweight, with ceramides, niacinamide, and oil free).
- Clean&Clear Persa-gel 10 Maximum Strength (10% benzoyl peroxide acne medicaiotn).
- Arbonne Rescue and Renew Detox Mask (with bentonite).