Getting through college can be challenging on many fronts. Often times, health can take a backseat to partying, late-night study sessions, binge drinking, unhealthy eating and exercise habits brought on by a busy lifestyle, and a general lack of sleep. How we care for our skin in our late teens and early 20’s can set the stage for our appearance much later in life. This is not the time to skimp on a solid skin care routine. Here are some skin care tips for the busy and, often financially challenged, college student.
Hydration is crucial to healthy skin and college students are at a particular risk of dehydration. Busy schedules make it easy to forget to drink water throughout the day; frequent trips to the keg dehydrates the skin like nothing else. Invest in a water bottle that you can fill up and take with you throughout the day and into class. The majority of your body is made up of water, and it uses this beneficial substance to transport the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells and helps flush out waste—two processes that are particularly beneficial for the skin. Inadequate water intake can slow healing of acne lesions and accelerate the aging process. Furthermore, the more water you drink, the less you will consume beverages linked to increased acne, such as sugar-rich sodas and other beverages.
Use Multi-Purpose Products
Lack of time is a common reason college students give for skimping on a skin care routine. You can chip away at this excuse by opting for products that perform multiple purposes. Choose skin cleansers that also exfoliate. Use moisturizers that also double as sunscreens.
Do not Wear Make-Up to Bed!
After a late night of partying or studying, the last thing you may feel like doing is trudging to the bathroom to perform your skincare routine; but, at the very least, make sure you wash the make up off your face every night. During sleep, your skin works to rejuvenate and produce healthy new skin cells—if it is suffocating in foundation, it will be that much harder to accomplish that task. You might consider investing in some quality facial cleansing cloths or pads for moments like these—all you need to do is wipe it across your mug and voila…your face is clean in seconds! To prevent late-night skimping on the face washing, consider doing it a bit earlier in the night before you hit the books or settle down to watch television so it is all taken care of with nothing to worry about.
Find Ways to Manage Stress
Managing stress is paramount to managing breakouts during the college years. Stress has been linked to increased incidences of acne and completing your studies certainly brings its fair share of this insidious force. In fact, one study found that students in Singapore experienced significantly more acne during a stressful period in their life (which happened to be around exam time) compared to a low-stress period (which happened to be their summer vacation.) While you may not be able to eliminate the sources of stress in college, you can choose how to handle them. Finding stress reduction techniques that work for you will do wonders for your complexion.
Eat Junk Food in Moderation
While in an ideal world, we would never touch any sort of junk food, the reality just does not play out like that; this is especially true in college, where late-night snacking and busy schedules pave the way for pizza, chips, sugary treats and other foods that are not really the best for us. So, if avoiding these things altogether is off the table, the goal becomes eating them in moderation.
If you are a college student concerned about your skin, you should know that not only do these foods lead to the all-too-common college weight gain, they will increase breakouts. Numerous studies have linked consumption of sugar and processed carbohydrates to acne flare-ups; these foods all cause the body to produce large spikes of insulin, a hormone that is very important for our health, but can wreak havoc on our bodies when produced in large amounts. High levels of insulin trigger a host of processes that lead to inflammation and increased oil production—both of which set the stage for nasty pimples.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about various health topics and enjoys sharing tips for college students looking to stay healthy while pursuing their degree.