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How I Figured Out My Foolproof College Skincare Routine

I’ve had skin problems pretty much since the fourth grade.

I always thought that was way too young to start worrying about my skin, and I’m not sure why it started then, but I remember my battle with acne began once I turned about nine years old. So, for years (literally, years) I was desperate to find something to clear up my skin. And YouTube, the friend we all turn to for advice on solving many of life’s issues, was basically no help at all with this one. I watched so many videos – countless product reviews, people telling me what masks to use, what exfoliating brushes and active ingredients to use – and I spent all my coins trying it all. I tried every active ingredient out there, every home remedy, every kind of skincare regimen under the sun, sadly, to no avail.

Everything seemed all too complicated, and no matter what I did, my skin never saw any improvement. 

It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college, pretty much ten years into this skincare foolishness, when I finally realized that finding the right products wasn’t my issue.

I was doing everything all wrong.

First, I learned, I was just doing too much. Thinking I was solving the issue by “treating” my face with things meant to help or heal my skin, I was actually making my face worse. Exfoliating too often, drying my face out with cleanser after cleanser, and facemask after facemask two to three times a week was overwhelming for my skin. My face just couldn’t take all of that.

Second, I realized I needed to stop trying to figure it out on my own, and I finally broke down and went to see a dermatologist. I don’t know why I was hesitant to go before then, but everything changed once I did. I spent too much time following what other people claimed to work for them, rather than going to an expert who could tell me, and prescribe for me, exactly what I needed. 

Now, in my twelfth year into this thing, I think I’ve got it figured out (for the most part, at least).

I keep my regime very simple, which is why I think this routine is also perfect for any busy college student. It doesn’t take a bunch of time and a million steps to get it done, and it’s a regime that works year-round for me – no need to switch out products depending on the season anymore. Since I generally stick to only four products, it’s easy to pack up and take everything home with me so I’m not lugging a huge bag of products around when I’m traveling between school and home. 

So here it is:

All I do is first, remove any makeup I’m wearing with a makeup wipe. Then I cleanse my face with whatever cleanser I’m using at the moment and lukewarm water (too hot or too cold and it’s too much, my face can’t take it). Next, I dry my face until it’s damp, put some moisturizer on, and then once that’s absorbed into my face, I just apply my acne treatment and I’m done. During the day, I just make sure I’ve got my SPF on and I’m good to go. Nice and simple. 

Everyone’s skin is different, so there’s no one combination of products or skincare techniques that will work for everyone. However, focusing on yourself and what your skin needs and asking an expert for advice could be the first step to truly healing your skin and getting it to where you want it to be.

Jayda Lawlah is a senior at Loyola University Maryland studying Psychology. In addition to her interest in Psychology, she also has a love for all things studio art and graphic design. On campus, she is an RA and peer mentor, and she is also currently the Vice President of Loyola's Black Student Association.
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