Attending college is a source of pride not only for the student but for the parents and everyone else who supports the student. But a person’s time in college can also be busy and stressful due to classes, studying and taking exams. It’s easy not to eat the right foods, not get enough sleep and not take care of one’s skin. Taking care of one’s skin is essential not only for the health of the skin but also the appearance. Having good skin is not only good for the body, but it’s good for one’s appearance and self-esteem. So avoiding the most common skincare mistakes is wise to do.
What is Skin?
Our skin is our largest organ and is made of three layers that include the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. It is a protective layering that helps to keep germs out of our system and helps to prevent damage to our internal organs. Our skin regulates our immune system and our body temperature, protects us by detecting pain, and produces Vitamin D, good for our bones and our teeth when we are out in the sun.
What is Skincare?
Skincare is what we do to support our skin. For example, when we apply sunscreen to our bodies, we do so to protect it from the sun.1
What are the Most Common Skincare Mistakes that Affect College Students?
The most common skincare mistakes are committed by lots of people, especially busy people, such as college students.
You didn’t apply sunscreen
Attending college doesn’t mean you’re indoors in class or indoors in your dorm room 24/7. There are many times when you’ll be outside whether it be walking to class, studying outside or unwinding at the beach party with your college friends. When you’re out is when you’re exposed to the sun.
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It doesn’t matter if the sun is behind the clouds or if you’re not out at the beach or a pool, protecting yourself from the sun is important whenever you’re outside. The sun produces ultraviolet radiation or UV rays that can damage your skin. You can get a sunburn, you can increase the rate of developing age spots and wrinkles, you can initiate problems with your vision, and in the worst scenario, you can get skin cancer.2
Apply sunscreen to all parts of your body that are not covered with clothing including behind your ears, on the back of your neck, and your scalp. Use a spray-on sunscreen for easier application. The sunscreen you choose should have an SPF of at least 30, and it should have UVA and UVB protection.3 UVA, UVB, and UVC are the three forms of radiation. UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer and is not a threat to humans. The ozone layer does not absorb UVA and UVB is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer. Therefore UVA and UVB are the forms of radiation that contribute to things like skin cancer.4
So whenever you go outside, apply sunscreen to the exposed areas of your skin to protect it from sun damage.
You’re picking your pimples
As we mentioned, college can be stressful. Perhaps you’ve been studying extra hard, not getting enough sleep and eating junk food. Then, lo and behold, there’s a pimple and then another pimple. The first thing you do is pick at them. Not getting enough sleep and eating junk food are bad for the body, but so is picking at your pimples.
When you pick at your pimple, a rupture can happen below the skin’s surface that can lead to a breakout or more pimples. Furthermore, when you pick at your pimples, you increase the risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation or dark spots. These are blemishes that will take away from the appearance of your face far longer than a pimple will.
One way to natural treat pimples without picking at them is with essential oils. Essential oils are the pure substances sourced from plant stems, leaves, flowers, bark and roots. Because these substances are pure and potent, you should always dilute them with a carrier oil. Examples of carrier oils are coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil, for examples. Coconut oil is an excellent first choice for pimple use. For every tablespoon of coconut oil, add a few drops of an essential oil. Apply the mixture to your pimples with a clean cotton ball.5
Here are examples of three essential oils that treat pimples and combat the spread of more pimples:
Tea tree oil
Lavender oil is one of these fun essential oils that has many uses. It’s suitable for your pimples, and it has a pleasant scent that many people enjoy. Lavender oil is sourced from the lavender plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. This oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties. It’s useful for reducing the appearance of pimples, reducing the spread of pimples and it’s also great for reducing the appearance of oil if you have oily skin.7
Rosemary oil is another essential oil that’s good for treating pimples. This essential oil is sourced from a Mediterranean plant, and it is full of vitamins, essential nutrients, and antioxidants that work to fight sebum, or oil, production. It’s also suitable for a natural toner as opposed to a commercial toner, and it won’t dry your skin.8,9
Not removing your makeup before bed
You’re out partying with your college friends, and you’ve come home late, or you’ve been to classes and studying all day, and now it’s 2 a.m., and you can no longer keep your eyes open. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, never sleep with your makeup on. This goes double if you have oily skin or if you are an acne sufferer. When you leave your makeup on, you don’t remove the pollutants that your makeup has attracted. You need the proteins collagen and elastin to benefit the quality of your skin. However, the contaminants create free radicals, and these will destroy both the collagen and the elastin of your skin. You need to remove the makeup so that the skin on your face has a chance to recover.
Essential oils mixed with carrier oils are a natural way to remove your makeup that’s gentle on your skin and good for your skin. For example:
- Acquire a two oz glass bottle with dropper
- Add two ounces of almond oil
- Add four to five drops of lavender essential oil
- Shake well
- Apply the mixture to your face with a clean cotton ball. The mixture is gentle enough to remove eye makeup as well.10
Letting your body get dehydrated
Now that you’re in college, have you been drinking more soda and other sugary drinks while you’re in class or studying? They may taste good, but they aren’t the kind of hydration your skin needs. How about coffee? Are you drinking a ton of it as you manage your classes and your studying? Coffee can contribute to dehydration not to mention the alcohol that you may be drinking while you hang with your college friends.
Have you been drinking water? If not, you need to start. When you’re dehydrated, it can seriously affect the state of your skin, not to mention your overall health. You want not only youthful looking skin, void of pimples, outbreaks, sagginess, and skin conditions such as acne, but you also want a healthy liver. Water flushes out the toxins and regulates your system. Go for at least six to eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. A good way to get that water in is to carry a 32-ounce water bottle with you wherever you go. Drink the water throughout the day. If you fill the bottle up twice and consume all of the water throughout the day, you’ll get your eight glasses in. Be sure to choose a water bottle that is bisphenol A (BPA) free. BPA is a chemical that has been shown to be harmful to humans.
Using the wrong skincare products
When you’re in college, there may be a chance that you’re watching your money. You may go for cheaper skincare products. That’s fine as long as the products are not filled with toxins or are the wrong combination for your skin. Skin types come in four categories: normal, oily, dry and combination. It’s essential that you not only choose skincare products that are not filled with toxins but that are also appropriate for your skin type.
As we have seen, conventional products are not the only way to go when it comes to skincare. You can choose essential oils and carrier oils to treat your skin naturally and without the side effects. Furthermore, D.I.Y. skincare mixtures are often cheaper than their conventional counterparts.
You’re not exfoliating
What is exfoliating? It’s the process of removing the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, encouraging circulation and leaving your skin softer and more radiant. No matter how busy you are, exfoliating your skin is a step you shouldn’t skip, and you should do it at least twice a week.
A common way to remove dead skin cells is with a scrub. This is a product that you can make yourself with natural products and no harmful additives. Here’s an example.
To make a DIY scrub:
- Choose a clean BPA free small plastic container with lid.2. In the container, mix sea salt, olive oil and a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender or tea tree oil.
In the shower, rub the mixture over your body, excluding your face, and then rinse off with warm water. As an added benefit, you can dry brush massage your body before you exfoliate. Dry brushing does the same thing as exfoliation, it removes dead skin cells and improves the surface of your skin.
To dry brush:
- Choose a natural bristled brush with a long handle.2. In the shower, with the water off, brush your naked dry body (excluding your face) starting at the bottom of your feet and working upward. Use small circles as you brush and do not brush any areas that may be infected.
- Shower off with warm water.11
You’re tugging at your face
We all have habits that we do to ourselves, sometimes without even realizing it like biting our nails or tugging at our face. Pulling at the face, out of stress or nervousness or being overly aggressive with makeup, etc., is bad for the skin if done too aggressively. When you’re touching your skin, especially the skin on your face, it’s important to be gentle. Don’t tug, rub or pull too aggressively. Otherwise, you can harm the elastin of your skin, creating sagging and fine lines.
So when you’re removing makeup, exfoliating, or putting on your makeup, be sure to do it with gentle strokes, especially on your face and around your eye area. Never use scrubs that are too harsh or washcloths that are too harsh. Your hands are useful tools for applying scrubs and applying makeup. Cotton balls or cotton pads are also excellent tools to use.
These common skincare mistakes are committed by a wide range of people, not just college students. However, chances are you’ve committed one or two of these mistakes. You’re not too young to start taking care of your skin as good as you can. So protect your skin when you go outside; don’t pick at your pimples; remove your makeup at bedtime no matter how tired you are; drink six to eight, eight-ounce glasses of water; exfoliate your skin on a regular basis every week, and don’t tug or pull at your skin.12,13 All of these tips, in combination with other relieving factors like MONQ’s Zen R refillable personal diffuser, will do wonders for your skin.
PhotoCredits: SofiaZhuravetc/shutterstock.com, TierneyMJ/shutterstock.com, AmyLv/shutterstock.com, DaniVincek/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com, Maridav/shutterstock.com, DaxiaoProductions/shutterstock.com