The Skin Care Advice We’d Give Our Younger Selves
People have a tendency to take the good things in life for granted and not realize it until, well, it’s just too late. Not everyone lives with regret hanging over their shoulders, but most people can find truth in the phrase, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” whether it describes a failed former relationship or—in our case—the porcelain, wrinkle-free skin of our youth. Sigh. Fast-forward to today, we follow strict skin care regimens, read product labels, and never (ever!) skip a dermatologist appointment. It got us thinking: If given the chance to travel back in time, what—if anything—would we do differently with our skin? Based on what we know all too well now, what bad skin habits would we curb sooner? Below, five important skin lessons we wish we knew as teenagers.
1. WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY…EVEN WHEN THERE ARE CLOUDS.
Looking back on the sunburns we endured in our youth, it’s cringe-worthy; even one sunburn is one too many! We foolishly assumed that SPF was only necessary ahead of a beach trip or vacation with our pals. Boy were we wrong. The sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays penetrate skin (even through clouds!) and can lead to skin aging over time, like fine lines and wrinkles. We wish we knew that broad-spectrum SPF of 15 or higher was necessary every day—rain or shine—ahead of any and all time spent outdoors. Sun damage may not be visible right away, but dark spots, freckles, and wrinkles can catch up to you later in life…promise. Apply SPF liberally, and consider wearing a large-brimmed hat and seeking shade where possible.
2. ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE GOING TO BED.
Removing makeup ahead of shut-eye is so crucial to help keep clogged pores (and subsequent breakouts) at bay. Our teenage—and let’s face it, early twenties—selves were too lazy to bother on some nights (gasp!), but today we’ll always walk over to the sink. As a back-up plan on nights when we’re extra tired and tucked into bed, we keep some makeup remover wipes handy on our nightstand.
3. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR NECK, CHEST, AND HANDS.
There’s a reason the neck, chest, and hands may show signs of aging sooner than the rest of your body—they’re the most neglected areas of skin! Always extend the love—from cleansing, exfoliating, and (duh) applying SPF—to these delicate areas, as well.
4. THERE’S MORE TO CLEANSING THAN JUST SOAP AND WATER.
Cleansing your skin every day is a non-negotiable in a skin routine. Gone are the days of working some basic bar soap into a lather. There are just so many better options out there that can work double, even triple, duty to remove makeup, purify pores, and refresh skin. Some formulas can even help tackle some of your skin concerns, like discoloration, acne, or dryness. Invest in a good facial cleanser—formulated for your skin type—early.
5. STOP PICKING AT YOUR ZITS.
This is one we struggle with, even in our adult years. The truth is, we all touch and pick at our skin a little bit every now and then. But it’s really a bad idea, as it can lead to cross-contamination, skin discoloration, and permanent scarring. Follow these tips to help keep your hands off your face! If only our younger selves could do the same...