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4 Skincare Staples to Nab if You’re Travelling to the U.S.

If you find yourself vaccinated and hopping on a plane to visit your snowbird grandparents in Florida or your bestie at NYU for the Holiday winter break, there are some skincare staples to nab while you’re in the US.

In Canada, Health Canada is responsible for all federal health-related agencies and regulations, including drugs and skincare products. The list of ingredient restrictions is far more strict in Canada than in the United States, where the FDA dictates what may be used in cosmetic products. This means that the products that contain these prohibited ingredients in Canada cannot be sold and purchased here, but may be purchased in the US where the ingredients are not restricted. All the products I am listing are safe to use, as long as you read the instructions carefully and always perform a patch test, as with any new product you introduce into your routine. 

1. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

This is chemical sunscreen with high purity niacinamide (an amazing ingredient for reducing inflammation and breakouts, according to Healthline’s Dr. Cherney) and transparent zinc oxide. This ingredient is key, as this sunscreen does not leave any kind of white cast, which makes it ideal for every skin tone and colour. The EltaMD site claims that this sunscreen is especially great for skin types that are prone to acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. 

2. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% 

Not only will this product brighten your skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes, but it also won’t break the bank. This lightweight cream is great for all skin types and stays matte on your skin before you add your moisturizer. It’s also fragrance-free, but it still has a nice light scent. This product can be used in your morning or night routine. 

3. Differin Gel Adapalene 0.1% 

According to the Differin site, this gel is an acne treatment that uses adapalene (a third-generation topical retinoid) to help clear and prevent breakouts. This is a great product for treating that pesky ‘maskne’ we’ve all been struggling with since COVID-19 struck. Differin Gel used to be a prescription topical acne treatment, but now you can get it over the counter at the nearest Ulta Beauty in the state you’re visiting. It may take a couple of weeks to start seeing results, but consumers swear by it. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully.

4. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution 

A controversial yet effective product, this peeling solution uses alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA) to exfoliate skin and clear congested pores, according to the Deciem site. But, heed The Ordinary’s warning that this product is not ideal for sensitive skin and is meant for experienced users of acid exfoliation. There is a slight stinging sensation when this product is applied to skin, but if you follow the instructions carefully and perform a patch test 24 hours beforehand, the results are incredible, showing a radiant and even skin texture that’s free of blemishes.

Come back from your holiday with glowing skin unlike any other Canadian! Just remember that like any day, no matter what products you’re introducing into your routine, never skip the SPF. 


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Nicole is an Arts and Humanities Western alumna who graduated with a BA (Hons) in English, Women's Studies, and Italian. She is currently a Western MA student in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. When she is not writing essays or fulfilling her duties on student government, she is reading, writing poetry, and funding her addictions to skincare, tea, candles, and all things food.
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