College is a time when young adults make decisions that can impact their lives decades down the road. Among the important choices are healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as proper nutrition, exercise… and skin care.
Many people don’t realize how they look at 40 is often determined by how they take care of themselves at 20. Excessive tanning and sun damage, smoking and poor nutrition can age your skin, making you look years older than your true age. And, although the negative effects of bad choices may not show up immediately, they eventually unfold as we age.
Following are 10 proven tips for helping taking care of your skin during the college years and beyond:
1. Embrace healthy lifestyle habits. Drink plenty of water; maintain a proper diet; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep and don’t smoke. How you take care of yourself internally is evident externally. As your body’s largest organ, the skin conveys to the world your lifestyle choices – both good and bad.
2. Start a solid skin care regime. There are many misconceptions about caring for the skin, so get informed about what works. For example, using bar soap strips the skin of its natural oils, so reach for an effective cleanser for your skin type. Never wear makeup to bed; it clogs the pores and causes puffy eyes. And, always clean your face after waking up, since oil builds up on the skin while you sleep.
A skincare regime includes:
Washing with a quality cleanser. A good cleanser should not contain fragrances or dyes that can irritate skin.
- Using a moisturizer with sunscreen – even for oily skin types. Look for products that wick oil off the face, while keeping skin hydrated.
IMPORTANT! This includes the eye area (a specific eye cream is preferable), neck and decollate – because even in the early years, these areas have fewer oil glands and will age more quickly if not addressed.
Cleanse and moisturize before going to sleep. Even people with oily skin need moisture to maintain proper hydration. Many acne control/acidic products that dry the skin naturally can cause “rebound oiliness,” making the skin feel stressed and causing it to produce more oil to compensate.
To know which are the best products, seek advice from a dermatologist or a trusted skin care specialist.
3. Get a professional consult for a facial. Meet with a respected aesthetician to evaluate your skin and design a custom skin care program for your face. Skin type, allergies and other medical factors should be discussed. Remember to include a thorough review of skin care products and medications.
4. Know how to treat acne and acne scarring. If you’re not being treated by a dermatologist, remember that drying a pimple or a lesion is not the best action. It’s important to use products that will clear the acne and not just dry the skin. Look for products that contain alpha hydroxy acid to clean out pores, or salicylic acid to clear blackheads. Professional skin care treatments, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels or LED Light Therapy, are also effective.
5. Address other skin issues. Be aware of skin sensitivities and dryness during the winter months. Run a humidifier and add extra hydration with a stronger/more intense moisturizer.
6. Make sunscreen a part of your daily routine. Sun damage is the number one cause of aging skin -- creating wrinkles, brown spots, facial spider veins and a coarse, “leathery” texture. Not to mention the more dangerous aspect of UVA and UVB rays: skin-related cancers. Avoid tanning beds period. The sun you soak in today not only shows in your appearance tomorrow, but for years to come.
IMPORTANT! Be sure to cover your face, neck and decollate, and wear sunscreen year-round, not just during the summer months. Don’t be fooled by wearing a t-shirt, which only has an SPF of 2; try to protect your shoulders and arms when you’re outside.
7. Skin repair: limit the damage when you’ve treated your skin badly. Whether staying too long at the beach, pulling an all-nighter, or overindulging on fast food, know how to make amends to things that can take a toll on your skin.
When you’ve overdone it, find a clarifying facial mask that will help pull impurities from the skin and clear blemishes. Drink plenty of water to flush toxins from your system, and make sure to get plenty of rest and exercise.
8. Wear quality cosmetics. Mineral makeup is preferable, because the minerals are unable to grow bacteria like traditional cosmetics can.
IMPORTANT! Wash your application brushes weekly with a gentle soap and dry them on their side to prevent bacteria from getting into the brush.
9. Keep your lips kissable. Dry, cracked lips can lead to infection, so keep lips moist with a lip balm that includes an SPF factor.
IMPORTANT! If you want to wear lip gloss, be sure to wear a lip balm with SPF underneath to protect lips from harmful rays. Lip gloss acts like cooking oil on your lips and absorbs more UV rays. Consequently, healthcare professionals are finding more skin cancers on the lips.
10. Laser Hair Removal. As hormones rage, hair growth increases. If considering laser hair removal, research which laser machines work best and find someone with a solid reputation for performing this treatment; otherwise, you could end up with a burn or a scar. Typically, darker skin types are not treated because of the risk of hyperpigmentation.
NOTE: Laser hair removal ONLY works on darker hair. It doesn’t work on blonde or light-colored hair.
About the Author:
Chrissy Thomas, RN, BSN, owner of About Face Skin Care, has worked in the field of skin care for more than 15 years. A graduate of Georgia Baptist College of Nursing in Atlanta, she served as a charge nurse of plastic surgery for Egleston Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta), and director of adult plastic surgery and director of skin care services for Plastic Surgery Consultants in Atlanta. Chrissy launched About Face Skin Care in 2002 and is considered one of the leading experts in her field. Considered a pioneer of the non-invasive facelift, Chrissy has mastered a nonsurgical program, consisting of a combination of services that achieve the most tightening benefits without the risks, expensive costs or downtime associated with surgery.
About Face Skin Care provides professional skin care services using the highest quality products and latest technology in skin therapy, including Microcurrent facial toning, (non-surgical face lift), microdermabrasion and Botox® treatments. Launched in 2002, by Chrissy Thomas, RN, About Face is overseen by a medical director, which enables access to the most advanced skin care training and technology, and medical-grade products -- which traditional spas cannot offer. For information about the med-spa, visit www.aboutfaceskin.com.