Don't pack the rest of your bags for college until you have read this post about having a solid back to school skincare. You have your bedding, television, computer, books and everything else you consider essential for dorm living, but do you have what you need to take care of your skin?
I remember my college days quite clearly -- and I also remember that it was easy for me to develop poor skincare habits. Establishing a solid skincare routine is important.
Even though you're young, it is never too early to start getting your skin in shape. Years down the road, you will be thankful you did. College students tend to be in a hurry and don't always take the best care of their skin. I can say that from my own experience.
If you follow our 5 simple steps, your skin will be in tip-top shape without taking too much time away from your studies or your social life.
1. Never ever go to bed with your makeup on.
This is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Your pores will become clogged and the environmental toxins, debris and excess oil will sink in. Over time, this will result in a dull skin tone, acne breakouts and skin looking older than it is. After you brush your teeth, take off your makeup. I promise that when you are in your 30s and 40s, your skin will look better if you do this now at 18.
Choosing the right facial cleanser is key. Don't just reach for the same bar of soap you used on your body. Choose a gentle gel cleanser to wash your face. This will gently, yet effectively, provide a deep clean that balances your skin’s natural oils without removing them. It can help keep excess oily at bay without stripping the skin.
2. Don't share makeup or makeup tools.
It can be tempting, but do not do this -- ever. When I was in college, I shared a bathroom with four other girls. Makeup brushes were openly shared and it seemed as if the contents of our makeup bags were communal property. I can vividly remember watching my friends share mascara before going out at night. The same happened with lipstick.
Do not -- I repeat, do not do this.
Sharing makeup is opening up the potential for serious infections down the road. You could get pink eye, herpes infections on your lips, staph infections, impetigo and other serious infections from the simple act of sharing makeup tools and makeup products. Products formulated with water are especially susceptible to being a breeding ground for bacteria. Do not share your makeup. It is simply not worth the risk to your health.
3. Apply sunscreen daily.
This is, perhaps, the best preventive action you can take. It should be a non-negotiable step to your skincare routine. Not only will you help protect yourself from skin cancer, but your skin will look younger years down the road because it won't be as damaged by UVA and UVB rays.
You may not see an instant benefit to your skin by using sunscreen now. Think of sunscreen as insurance for your skin. While you may not reap the visible benefits now, it is worth the long-term payoff. At your age, you most likely be able to use this in the morning as your sole moisturizer. Using an oil free sunscreen is a wise choice.
4. Eat a balanced diet.
We've all heard about the "Freshman 15." I gained about 7 pounds freshman year. I can tell you that I had many choices in the dining hall, but my mom wasn't there to make sure I ate my fruits and veggies. I loaded up on macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I drank soda pop instead of water. Eat as many fresh, whole foods as you can and drink lots of water. Your skin will benefit from this. I recommend eating lots of berries and carrots.
Why? Berries are thought to help the skin boost collagen production. Plus, many berries are packed full of antioxidants to help combat free radicals. They also contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are beneficial to the skin. Carrots are rich in beta carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. They are also rich in Vitamin C.
Eating abundant fruits and vegetables is not only healthy for your body, but it's also something you can do to make your skin radiant and healthy. Drinking water rather than sugar-packed drinks also will benefit your skin. When you drink water as your primary beverage each day, you are flushing out toxins. This is good for your skin, too!
When you have papers due, it can be hard to relax. When there are deadlines and midterms, students easily get stressed out. Stress, though, can wreak havoc on your skin. In fact, we recently shared a blog roundup featuring news on medical research linking stress to inflammatory skin conditions such as Rosacea, psoriasis and acne.
Try lighting vegan friendly soy candles made with lavender essential oil. Your dorm will smell great and you will experience the benefits of aromatherapy. Chamomile also soothes the senses, so try substituting chamomile tea for your coffee in the evening.
You don't need a complicated routine to maintain skin health while away at college. Just remember that you are worth the couple extra minutes of pampering! Have fun and enjoy a safe year away at school.