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Your Skin: The College Years

School your skin and perfect your complexion with these smart moves (even if you just party like a college student)..

| August 15th, 2011
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Your Skin: The College Years

This week we are unveiling the best skincare strategies for different stages in your life. Today, we focus on the college years. Check back tomorrow for tips on how to tackle your career-climbing twenties and thirties.

Managing midterm-induced breakouts and surviving your party years with minimal damage is no easy feat. With some smart skin-saving strategies, you can tackle common trouble zones like acne and get the flawless complexion you’ve dreamed of (while nodding off during class, naturally).

ACNE Whether you’re freaked out about exams, pulling all-nighters or subsisting on a diet of pizza, Doritos and candy bars—stress, lack of sleep and a high-glycemic diet can all exacerbate acne. Pounce on the occasional pimple by using products that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, suggests Joel Schlessinger, M.D., an Omaha dermatologist and founder of Lovelyskin.com. If your acne is severe, head to a dermatologist who might prescribe you retinoids like Differin or topical antibiotics to help clear up your complexion. Also, don’t crash in your makeup: If you’re too tired to wash your face at night, keep makeup remover wipes on your night stand for a quick, pre-snooze swipe. Wiping down your cellphone with a disinfectant like Lysol, washing your pillowcase regularly and cleaning your makeup brushes also help reduce breakouts.

MORE: Decode Your Acne

PARTYING TOO HARD Newsflash from the Institute of Obvious: Alcohol and cigarettes are bad for your skin. “Even if you can’t see the damage right away, make no mistake that drinking and smoking are accelerating the aging process,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “There’s really no way to offset the damage while you’re doing it—and it’s so much easier to prevent premature aging in your teens and 20s than to reverse the signs later in life.” (Interesting irony: A recent study at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland found that college students who are most likely to binge drink are also the most afraid of aging.

That said, gulping down plenty of water—always have a bottle at your desk or in your backpack—helps combat the dehydrating effects of a keg party. A serum that contains antioxidants like vitamin C or green tea, as well as a light-reflective moisturizer, will also give partied-out skin a healthy, I-stayed-in-last-night glow.

QUIZ:
How Healthy is Your Skin?

PULLING ALL-NIGHTERS As long as you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, downing coffee until dawn may not be so bad. “It may even fight future skin damage since it has antioxidant properties,” Dr. Schlessinger says. As for puffy eyes that come courtesy of sleep deprivation, caffeine is also your friend. In an eye cream, it’ll help reduce swelling by boosting circulation.

SPRING BREAK You’ve been told about a thousand times to wear sunscreen whenever you step outside (insert eye roll), but slathering it on saves your skin now—and when you strut into your college reunion 10 years down the road. “I don’t care how many times I have to say it—there is no healthy tan,” Dr. Schlessinger insists. “Tan skin equals damaged skin.” If you’re hell-bent on bronzing in Cancun, the best way to reduce the risk of skin cancer, as well as future damage like wrinkles and brown spots (aka hyperpigmentation), is to wear a broad-spectrum sunblock with SPF 30 or higher and get out of the sun before you burn. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting just five sunburns in your life will double your risk of skin cancer.

MORE: New FDA Sunscreen Regulations

Thinkstock
Your Skin: The College Years

This week we are unveiling the best skincare strategies for different stages in your life. Today, we focus on the college years. Check back tomorrow for tips on how to tackle your career-climbing twenties and thirties.

Managing midterm-induced breakouts and surviving your party years with minimal damage is no easy feat. With some smart skin-saving strategies, you can tackle common trouble zones like acne and get the flawless complexion you’ve dreamed of (while nodding off during class, naturally).

ACNE Whether you’re freaked out about exams, pulling all-nighters or subsisting on a diet of pizza, Doritos and candy bars—stress, lack of sleep and a high-glycemic diet can all exacerbate acne. Pounce on the occasional pimple by using products that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, suggests Joel Schlessinger, M.D., an Omaha dermatologist and founder of Lovelyskin.com. If your acne is severe, head to a dermatologist who might prescribe you retinoids like Differin or topical antibiotics to help clear up your complexion. Also, don’t crash in your makeup: If you’re too tired to wash your face at night, keep makeup remover wipes on your night stand for a quick, pre-snooze swipe. Wiping down your cellphone with a disinfectant like Lysol, washing your pillowcase regularly and cleaning your makeup brushes also help reduce breakouts.

MORE: Decode Your Acne

PARTYING TOO HARD Newsflash from the Institute of Obvious: Alcohol and cigarettes are bad for your skin. “Even if you can’t see the damage right away, make no mistake that drinking and smoking are accelerating the aging process,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “There’s really no way to offset the damage while you’re doing it—and it’s so much easier to prevent premature aging in your teens and 20s than to reverse the signs later in life.” (Interesting irony: A recent study at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland found that college students who are most likely to binge drink are also the most afraid of aging.

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