Alas. Summer is coming to an end and school is, once again, upon us. Back-to-school time is great. You’re older, smarter, wiser, and better equipped to deal with all that education they’re going to throw at you having hit the big RESET button over summer. You’ve slept in, you’re relaxed, and your skin is glowing. How do you make that summer glow last? Here are five back-to-school skincare tips from our very own skin guru, Stacy Wu.
1. Picking your poison.
We know instinctively that we should eat healthy and drink lots of water, but let’s be realistic. It’s tough to make healthy choices when you’re surrounded by cafeteria food, junk food, and unlimited university buffets. The trick is to make it easier to grab for healthy options. Some of our favorites at VHB include walnuts, almonds, apples, blueberries, veggies with hummus, and frozen grapes. Make a conscious choice and pick fresh foods over processed foods. In fact, pick these skintastic foods:
- Fish, like salmon, mackerel and herring, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and zinc – all of which are essential for healthy skin function, help to reduce inflammation and protect against free radicals.
- Avocados have a ton of good fats, vitamins E and C. Go ahead, get the extra quac.
- Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, C and selenium, an antioxidant that helps lower oxidative stress on your body, reduces inflammation and enhances your immunity. They also happen to be high in protein so they'll keep you full longer.
- Sweet potatoes are an amazing source of beta-carotene (vitamin A). One ½-cup serving provides almost 400x the recommended daily value of vitamin A!
- Broccoli is like a miracle vegetable. It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals essential to skin health, eye health, and just general body health.
This is probably obvious, but drinking enough water is also important. Skip the sugary, over-caffeinated drinks and opt for water or green tea, which has a powerful antioxidant that can protect your skin from sun damage, reduce redness, improve hydration, thickness and elasticity.
If you must drink alcohol, try following every alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
Hangover Tip: Choose Pedialyte or coconut water over sugary sports drinks. They’ll hydrate you without the sugar crash.
2. Deal with stress head on.
Stress affects your entire body, including your skin. The chemical reaction caused by stress makes your skin more sensitive and reactive, aggravating existing conditions like psoriasis, rosacea and eczema. It can also trigger dormant and underlying conditions, like herpes breakouts and autoimmune disorders! When you’re stressed, your body creates more hormones, like cortisol, that increases oil production in your glands leading to breakouts and delayed healing.
Stress is literally the worst, but it is also an unavoidable part of life so it’s important to figure out the best way you deal with stress early on. Your skin, friends, loved ones, roommates, literally everyone (including yourself) will thank you for it. Here are some things that work for us:
- Meditation. Paired with deep breathing exercises, this could be the cure for everything.
- Dog Cuddles. 100% effective, but doesn’t last very long. This should be obvious, but I’m still going to put it out there. Ask before you hug a stranger’s dog. Getting bit in the face is guaranteed to cause more stress.
- Physical Activity. Walk, run, do yoga, pilates, go to the gym, etc. The options are endless. Personally, I like to clean my apartment with music blasting. To each their own.
3. DO NOT touch your face. Repeat. DO NOT touch your face.
The crazy thing is you don’t even notice you're doing it. Do you rest your chin on your hand or rub your eyes? Chances are you're transferring insane amounts of bacteria onto your skin and into your eyeballs. Read the below at your own risk.
- Your phone packs 10x as many germs as a public bathroom’s toilet.
- Studies show that keyboards have been linked to influenza, mold, coliform, staph, yeast, and a ton of other legitimately gross things.
- Your mouth is home to over 700 different species of bacteria.
- The list goes on: pillowcases, doorknob handles, refrigerator handles, dirty bathtubs that can cause yeast infections, dirty shower heads that can cause meningitis, etc.
- I’m just going to stop here.
4. Wash your face.
Well, wash your hands first, and then wash your face. Try not to nap or gym with makeup on, but if you must (like I must), wear light, non-comedogenic makeup that’s not going to clog your pores and wash your face immediately after. NO hanging out and chatting with the cute trainer. NO “let’s go grab coffee” after. NO let’s sit on our phones outside checking Instagram. Go straight to the bathroom and wash your face.
Expert Tip: Wash your face for 60-seconds. Cleansing your face for 60-seconds allows the ingredients in the cleanser to actually work. Bored after 15-seconds? Give yourself a face massage. Massaging your face while washing it will also increase blood circulation and give you that glow. Don’t believe us? Look up #60secondrule.
5. Simplify your skincare routine.
If you’re going back to school, chances are your skin is still naturally producing enough collagen and self-healing goodness to warrant this tip. Simplicity over complexity if consistency is key.
Step 1: Remove your makeup.
Step 2: Wash (or double wash) your face. We’re fans of double washing. Try our Enzyme Powder Wash. Gentle enough for double washing and it brightens your skin.
Step 3: Moisturize. Try our STASS Clarifying Cream – that disinfects, moisturizes and protects all in one bottle.
Optional: Serum before moisturizer or pimple cream after. Your call.
Step 4: Mask Weekly! We love #MaskMondays, and think you should try these favorites:
For oily, problematic skin:
Or these from Sephora:
Dr. Jart+ Clearing Solution Sheet Mask
Sephora Collection Green Tea Face Mask
For normal skin, we love our Dr. Ellyan 2-Step Bio-Barrier Mask
or the BMB Biocellulose Hydrating Mask
or iStelle's Hydrogel Post-Procedure Mask