Simple skincare solutions to get clear, healthy skin

Irene Si, copy editor

1. Sunscreen is the key to blemish-free skin. You should be using sunscreen every single day, regardless of the weather, season or color of your skin. Unprotected exposure to sunlight can lead to hyperpigmentation and premature aging, and can even put you at risk for skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, absorption of UV rays causes not only sunburns, but also wrinkling, sagging and leathering of the skin. 

“UV rays can oxidize your sebum, which can promote acne,” sophomore Christine Cheung said. “When you wear sunscreen, you’re protecting your post-acne scars from getting darker and staying longer.”

Instead of greasy, sticky Western sunscreens you’re used to, try Asian beauty brands, which offer products that are lightweight and leave no greasy feel. Cheung recommends Krave Beauty’s Beet Shield Antioxidant Day Fluid, sold on for $20. 

“The Beet Shield has a condensed milk type-fluid, leaves no white cast and doubles as a great makeup primer,” Cheung said. “I look forward to applying it every morning, and it has never broken me out, so I’m on my second bottle.” 

2. Don’t focus on the brand or price tag; take time to learn what’s good for your skin and its needs. It’s easy to be drawn to big skincare brands like Tatcha, Clinique and GLAMGLOW, but price and prestige should not be a decider when choosing products for your skin. A bigger price tag does not always equal better quality.

“Everyone’s skin is different, so you have to experiment with what to use, how much to use and when to use it,” senior Stephen Hwang said. “A lot of people also think that skincare involves a huge price tag, but it actually doesn’t. There are ways of finding inexpensive products that have the right ingredients and fluids for your skin.” 

That being said, every brand has its own hits and misses, no matter if it’s high-end or drugstore. Look at the ingredient list to avoid damaging substances like alcohol, fragrance, dyes and excessive chemicals, especially if you have sensitive skin. Clean & Clear, Burt’s Bees and Neutrogena are popular skincare brands that have many of these irritants in their products, so users of these brands should look for other options. If you’re looking for something on a budget, CeraVe offers a variety of effective products tailored to each skin type, and if you’re interested in the K-Beauty scene, CosRX is a great brand that blacklists many harmful compounds and focuses on using a minimal number of ingredients. 

3. Make sure you’re washing your face enough. This might seem like a no-brainer, but going to bed with your makeup on is a big mistake if you’re trying to maintain clear and healthy skin. According to the Huffington Post, sleeping in your makeup breaks down the healthy collagen in your skin and clogs your pores, resulting in fine lines, premature aging and acne. Foundation and thick primers are the worst products to leave on your skin at night, since they prevent your skin from naturally renewing itself. Even minor makeup products like mascara and eyeliner can cause eye inflammation and irritation. 

One other important skincare step that many skip is double cleansing, which involves washing your face two times; the initial cleanse is to remove makeup, sunscreen, dirt and pollutants while the secondary cleanse is to clean your skin and prepare it for the following steps in your routine. This is essential for those who struggle with breakouts. 

“Double cleansing is really good for oily, acne-prone skin,” sophomore Alissa Nguyen said. “Since makeup and especially physical sunscreens tend to stick to the skin, a water-based cleanser most likely won’t be enough to get rid of all the gunk.”

4. Skincare requires time, patience and dedication. Finding the right products and developing an effective skincare routine requires patience.

“Many people assume that skincare is an immediate solution to good skin, but that’s not the case,” Hwang said. “A lot of it takes time and information to get the results you want.”

The journey to clear skin is not easy. Getting rid of acne scars and achieving clear skin can take months. Even if you dedicate yourself to a meticulous routine, you will likely encounter occasional breakouts and purging, when your skin reacts badly to newly-introduced products. These common side effects shouldn’t scare you from trying new things. Resist the temptation to use abrasive and drying acne treatments as soon as you see those pimples pop up or feel that you should immediately switch to a different product. Be gentle and patient, and instead try to see if you can change or identify factors in your lifestyle that lead to these breakouts. Remember, water intake, sleep, exercise and diet all play an equally important role in skincare as using the right products for your skin.