Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, health care professional, or dermatologist. However, I have been fighting crime and breakouts since puberty!

It’s that time of year again – Finals. Other than an insane amount of studying (I have to make a WHAT on my final to get an A!?!?), the one thing I know I can always count on is breaking out. The stress and destroyed routine, season change; oh alright, and a bowing down to bad habits during that last week of classes (ahhh!), and dead week (ughhh!), and finally finals (^&#$%^hh!) always gets to my skin. Now that I’m finally an upperclasswoman, I thought I’d compile a list of the things that I’ve learned to help out with my skin.

Before you do anything, wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap. This will help with your skin routine but it will also help keep your skin clear throughout the day!

Wash that face at the end of the day!!! If you’re not going to wash it for real with soap and water then AT LEAST, for the love of your skin, use a face wipe! You’ve touched it with your oily and, let’s face it, not-always-the-cleanest hands all day.  Dr. Erin Mears says that the average person touches their face three to five times every waking minute. Needless to say, that’s a lot. Not to mention the air pollution, and whatever else gets onto your face—allergens in the air, whatever spores are growing out the A/C, your hair products, etc.  It is worth the extra few minutes to wash and gently pat dry your face at the end of the day. Moving on!

Face wipes! They make removing the daily grind from my face easy. I like that I can also use them to remove my makeup by adding a little water to the wipe, and then wringing it out.

These are my favorite because they are gentle, effective, and inexpensive! ( #collegebudget #helpmeImpoor ) You can use whichever you prefer, as long as you use them!

Tea tree oil! Look for the word “melaleuca” in the ingredients list. That is just part of the scientific title for tea tree. It has healing properties, and it helps to ward off the icky bacteria that are the root of all evil: blemishes. Lastly, and  my absolute favorite part of tea tree oil, after all the cleaning you’re doing to keep your skin sanitary, it is easy for it to become dry and flakey—which is just as unattractive and uncomfortable as a breakout! So, tea tree oil does a great job rehydrating the skin with the right kinds of oil! Be very careful anytime you use tea tree oil that you do not get it in your eyes—you’ll survive, but it feels like someone threw an ice-cold peppermint milkshake directly into your retinas! Also, use sparingly until you build up a tolerance, since it is an oil, it is very strong. You may even want to test try it on an area of your wrist before putting it on your face. Every night before bed, I cover any breakout areas (recently my chin and the area around my eyebrows, yuck) with tea tree oil. I also try to get my whole nose. It smells good, and most of us are susceptible to blackheads and white heads and excess oil on our noses. Since I have done this, even my blackheads have lessened up!

I like this one well enough, but your local health food store probably carries a few different brands that work just as well!

As for some other tips & tricks…

Neosporin! The off-brand will not suffice. The magical blend of this formula is perfect for break outs. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use sparingly! Spread the goop on any breakout area. You can also put it on any wrinkle-prone areas or sunburns. If your skin is really angry at you (aka is breaking out a lot), then use a q-tip to apply Neosporin (and tea tree oil as well). I usually apply the tea tree oil, and then put the Neosporin on right before I go to bed. Then, in the morning, I use a face wipe to remove whatever leftovers and dead skin (as well as whatever oil my face has produced in the night) from my face before heading out the door. Some of the products wind up on the pillow, but for the most part, I see amazing results. My breakouts aren’t as gross, dry, and peeling as usual and they heal much faster. My acne scars also disappear faster and shrink in such a way that they’re not even as noticeable! In addition, the lifespan of my pimples has been halved. If nothing else, try applying Neosporin to help heal your acne.

Drink more than the recommended amount of water! And drink more than the daily recommended dosage. Remember that the recommended daily dosage does not take into account any dehydrating environmental factors (examples: anytime you sweat, allergy medications, many skin products, alcoholic beverages.) All of these things dry us out. Our bodies were made to handle this—but even a Ferrari can’t run on an empty tank. Help clear your skin out by drinking at least one extra glass over the recommended limit.

Read the ingredients list! If it says “alcohol” in ANY of the ingredients list, especially near the beginning of the list of ingredients, then avoid that product and/or discontinue use at all costs!!! It will probably say something like “cetyl alcohol.” Alcohol is a dehydrating agent; it sucks the moisture out of your skin and hair. The use of alcohol in cosmetics, skin, hair and nail care products is a cheap ploy on the part of those looking to make a profit. For instance, if your skin is dry, you will reach for some lotion. Well, if the lotion you apply to moisturize your skin only moisturizes temporarily, and then dries your skin, then you will need more moisturizer! Meaning, soon you will need to buy more lotion. You can practically hear the cackling of the capitalists back at headquarters now. Well, don’t fall for that ploy. We deserve quality products made from quality ingredients for quality lives. Avoid alcohol in your products. Bath and Body Works and Victoria’s Secret are two stores that tend to have some kind of alcohol in their lotions; beware, dear ANON reader! So, what does this mean for your breakouts? Essentially, what happens is that the product with the alcohol in it will dry out your skin, then your skin freaks out and goes into over-drive, then it starts to panic and produce way more oil to compensate for the dryness. That excess oil traps dirt and dead skin, and the next thing you know, you have three new zits to add to the family portrait.

At this point in the year, a full night’s sleep seems not only unrealistic, but a total fantasy. However, even if you can’t get enough sleep, you can be sure to change your pillow case every few days. When you’re taking those mid-studying naps in the library, or you are at the coffee lounge, try to be cognizant of what you’re resting your face on. Aim for something sanitary, and not some dirty table top!

Hopefully, these little tips that I use everyday will help you make it through finals, so that in all of your end-of-year celebratory activities, you look your absolute best! Good luck, and welcome to summer!

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