7 Ways you should graduate your skin care routine out of high school

These skin care habits would have horrified your teenage self, but now you need them more than ever.

Part of being a teen is learning how to take care of your skin, doing anything to avoid a massive breakout. But just like your style, your skin care routine should evolve as you get older. With the help of Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C., and Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection, we’ve rounded up the best beauty habits you need to have right now.

Stop stripping your skin

Woman applying face lotion

You may have used astringent toners in high school to help degrease and unclog pores, but those toners are way too irritating to use past the age of 20. They strip the skin of healthy oils. “Instead, use gentle products with a low percentage of salicylic acid to help unclog or a hand-held device (like a Clarisonic) to gently dislodge debris without stripping the skin of its much-needed natural oils,” says Dr. Tanzi.

Use facial oil

Facial oil

During your teenage years, you probably avoided any facial product with oil. Like me, you were probably afraid that adding more oil to your skin would result in pimples popping up all over your face. Have no fear, however, because oil is your friend. “The best solution is always fight oil with oil,” says Vargas. The right oil will not only properly hydrate your skin, it will banish dark spots and even prevent acne. (What? Yes.) Vargas suggests, “Look for products that contain jojoba oil, which monitors the skin’s natural oils and actually signals the skin to stop producing so much oil.” I use Bio-Oil twice a day, applying it immediately after I use a toner and before I massage a moisturizer into my skin. As a result, my skin is even-toned and I no longer fall victim to a super-shiny forehead.

Stick to what works

Woman applying face cream

Long gone are the days where you would rush to the drugstore to try the latest facial cleanser or cream. Now that you have your skin care routine down, you don’t need to check out every single new product that comes out. You know your problem areas, and you know what you need. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try new products. You absolutely should, but now there’s no need for you to seek out the newest product in hopes that it will cure your facial problems. There’s no one product that’s a miracle in a bottle. It takes a combination, which you now know from experience.

Change your body wash

Woman showering

Back in the day, an anti-acne body wash like Neutrogena was your best friend. Now, you need to steer clear of these types of products. They also strip your body of its natural oils and will make your skin extra dry. Dr. Tanzi suggests, “A gentler body wash is more appropriate.” Think Dove Go Fresh Cool Body Wash.

Wear more sunscreen

Woman applying sunscreen

“The number one thing to do if you are serious about anti-aging is to start wearing a moisturizer or makeup with sunscreen every day,” says Dr. Tanzi. Forgo the tanning at the beach or salon. You no longer need to “look healthier for prom.” Proper skin care for the sun will help combat aging quicker. Do it now and you won’t regret it 20 years down the line.

Test new products in patches

Woman spot testing beauty product

Remember that time you thought you discovered the cleanser that would minimize your acne in days? And then you found out you were incredibly allergic to it, resulting in your face looking like it was riddled with more zits? Stop that. Now that you’re older and wiser, you know you should test products in patches. Got a new dark spot corrector that you think will do wonders? Test it on your neck or on a spot on your face for a week before you decide to apply it to your entire face. Doing this will save you time and an embarrassing how-do-I-explain-this moment.

Don’t cake on the acne cream

Woman applying acne cream

Back in the day, putting cream or lotion on your face in an excessive amount seemed like a bright idea. However, a dab of moisturizer goes a long way. In fact, the less you use, the better. Dr. Tanzi advises, “The best moisturizers to use are lightweight.” No giant amount of product will make your pimple go away quicker or your skin less shiny. It’s about putting just enough on your skin so it can work with the creams and lotions. If you put too much moisturizer on, you run into the chance of having oily skin when that’s not the case. You just needed to slow down on the amount of product you applied.

More skin care tips

Minimalist’s guide to skin care
Sensitive skin problems and how to solve them
Dermatologists share: Anti-aging tips that work


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