Finding what products work for your skin is a huge trial and error process. I don’t even want to know how much money I have spent on skincare products throughout the years, but it’s a small fortune. When I first got into skincare, information was not as readily available on the Internet and the craze behind reading/writing reviews had not quite started yet. Now I can’t even consider buying something as simple as a can opener without seeing the ratings and reviews it got. So, as information/reviews became more readily available and distributed through blogs, YouTube, and sellers…my love and knowledge for skincare grew as well. I want to share some of my biggest mistakes and successes with you guys and hopefully everyone can take away something from this!
Do: Drink a lot of water.
I’ve noticed that people usually add this piece of advice at the very end of their list and I, like most people, shrugged this off for years and was way more interesting in learning about actual products that I could buy. This one lifestyle change helped my skin out so much that I’m going to mention it first.
It wasn’t until I started working that I actually drank the recommended amount of water you should drink per day: 64 oz. I sit at a desk for 8 hours everyday so I made it my mission to finally incorporate this into my life since I finally had the time. I have a giant 64 oz. purple water bottle by Cool Gear and my goal is to finish it by the time I left work. I initially had no idea how hard it would be to actually do this…I mean…it’s water! This was when I realized I truly was not drinking enough water before because 1) it was actually a challenge to drink all that water and 2) I was going to the bathroom all the time, way more often than before.
The easiest way to drink at least 64oz. of water (or 8 glasses) is to buy a water bottle that will allow you to clearly visualize your progress. My aforementioned purple (monster) water bottle is what I would drink at my desk, the water I drank during any of meals would be separate so that way I definitely knew I was getting my recommended amount, if not more. My other favorite is my Contigo 32oz. bottle., which I just have to fill up twice and I know I am getting my 8 glasses. I don’t really like the standard 24oz. size because you have to fill it up 2 times and then some to reach 64oz. And while the math for that isn’t rocket science, I just like to make it easier for myself to track by getting something that I only have to fill up twice.
I highly suggest everyone try this if you know you are skimping out on your water intake. Give yourself a goal like – drink 8oz. every hour, finish half of the bottle by lunch, etc. It may seem challenging if you are not accustomed to drinking so much water and you might be annoyed and how much you have to pee…but holy crap does it do wonders for your body. Benefits to properly hydrating yourself are: flushing out toxins in the body, promoting weight loss, increasing energy, maintaining regularity, and the list goes on!
One thing you don’t want to do is to drink too much water. If your pee is clear, cut back until it’s a light yellow.
Don’t: Use all products marketed for breakout-prone skin.
This one is a biggie. When I first started going through puberty and experienced breakouts for the first time, my immediate tactic was to go to the drugstore and pick up everything (cleansers, moisturizers, toners, treatments, etc.) that was marketed towards oily, acne-prone skin. The most common ingredients in all of these products are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Both ingredients can be effective if used in smaller doses but when literally everything you are using for your face has one of these ingredients in it…it can be WAY too much for your skin. I remember never noticing any real improvements in my skin and even though everything was supposed to help with oil control, I was still really oily! It wasn’t until college that I learned how our skin actually works. Basically, your skin produces oil as a natural moisturizer for your skin. When we continuously strip away that oil, our skin will then overproduce oil to balance out of the skin to replace what you have removed. This overproduction of oil also comes with an excess of sebum, the oil produced by your sebaceous glands. Sebum can cause acne if it is not properly regulated in the skin because it can clog your pores very easily. Therefore, I realized that for all these years I had just created this vicious cycle of having my skin constantly overcompensating for what I was stripping away from it and what I actually needed to do was just make sure it’s balanced.
I decided to take a completely different approach to my skincare. I used hydrating products that are made for people that have sensitive skin (because they are much more gentle) and only used a spot treatment when necessary. This completely changed my skin. I was ecstatic that I had finally figured out the secret to clearing up my skin and now I pretty much only breakout if I’m stressed, my hormones are acting up, or I’ve had a poor diet.
Don’t: Sleep with your makeup on.
I always thought this was a really obvious one but I found out that many of friends do this (you know who you are.) It’s just unacceptable. All that makeup and grime has plenty of time overnight to clog up your pores and cause breakouts. Just don’t do it.
Do: Double Cleanse
I have always subscribed to the double cleanse method of washing your face. Step 1) Remove your makeup. 2) Use a gentle cleanser to actual clean your face. Despite what you may think or what your cleanser claims to do, a cleanser can never effectively remove makeup AND clean your skin. I’ve recently gotten into oil cleansing or using a cleaning balm to remove my makeup vs. using makeup remover wipes. Oil is very good at breaking down makeup and it leaves your skin nice and hydrated afterwards. I’ll follow that up with a gentle cleanser and my face is ready and prepped for treatments or serums that I want to use afterwards. Also, always gently pat your face dry after washing. Do not scrub…you are just irritating your skin.
Don’t: Neglect your neck and hands.
We always tend to put all this care into our facial skincare, but your age will always show on your neck and hands if you neglect them. I’m not worried about getting wrinkly anytime soon but your 20s are very crucial for preventative care. Always properly moisturize and apply sunscreen to those areas!
Do: Wear sunscreen. Every. Day.
I used to be guilty of assuming that I didn’t need sunscreen. For years I brushed that off thinking whatever, I’m naturally tan-skinned and I don’t burn…I don’t need it. But another huge reason I didn’t incorporate sunscreen into my skincare routine was because I hated every single one I tried. They either had a really strong sunscreen scent, were way too greasy, didn’t absorb into my skin, or they straight up broke me out. Drugstore, high end…nothing worked for me. Finally, a friend told me to check out Elta MD Clear and suddenly…I loved sunscreen. After using this daily, I noticed that my skin was brighter and my hyper pigmentation was fading much faster. Not to mention that I was happy knowing that I was preventing sun damage and signs of aging in my skin. You will not regret it!
Don’t: Expect immediate results.
This one is hard. Anytime I’ve picked up a new product or tried a new routine, I would always wake up the next day expecting my skin to be absolutely flawless. You have to give your skin time to actually adjust to the product, meaning you have to use it consistently for any real results. Ideally, 3-4 weeks is a proper amount of time to test a product. Don’t ditch something just because you don’t have Miranda Kerr skin in 2 days. You may also experience purging, which can be completely normal for many products. Purging is where a certain product causes your skin to breakout because you are going through an adjustment period. I would really suggest reading this article that helps explain the difference between purging and reacting. Sticking with a new skincare product is like exercising, you won’t get a six pack from a couple sit-ups.