Isn’t it interesting that at the same time as the rise of the full face, highly contoured, structured eyebrow look, skincare and wearing as little makeup as possible is also having a moment? Companies like Glossier have built their whole brand on the no makeup, makeup look, and skincare companies are cropping up left and right.
Personally, I used to be obsessed with makeup. But that might’ve been in part because I used to struggle a lot with acne, skin discoloration, redness, and undereye bags. I never had anything extreme, like cystic acne, but it was just enough to make me insecure in my skin and enough for me to not only become obsessed with trying to cover it up or distract with dramatic eye makeup, but also to try any and every over the counter product I could get my hands on to make my skin better.
Over the years, I have cured just about all the above mentions (except the undereye bags, they will haunt me forever), using a variety of products, but the things that made the biggest impact on my skin actually weren’t skincare products at all, they were simple lifestyle changes. And no, I’m not talking about eating veggies and exercising, because I was doing those things even when my skin was bad, I’m talking about even SIMPLER things –
If you’ve ever suffered from acne, you’ve heard the tip to not touch your face with your hands. But have you ever thought about all the other things that touch your face? Pillowcases, towels, other people’s hands/faces can all have an impact.
- Towels in public places like hotels or gyms are usually washed in huge machines with industrial cleaners to ensure their sterilization. However, these types of detergents can sometimes be too harsh on the skin and can cause irritation. Stopping my use of gym towels on my face made a huge difference in breakouts on my forehead and near my eyebrows.
- When was the last time you washed your sheets? Even if you’re on top of this, I’m still betting you don’t wash your pillowcase often enough. Your face touches that thing for up to eight or nine hours every night and even if you wash your face right before you go to bed, it’s still collecting bacteria and germs every day. Once I started washing my pillowcase every three nights, my skin texture improved dramatically.
- This is kind of a strange one, but other people’s oils can affect your skin as well. For example, if you have a significant other and you spend time kissing them, the contact with their skin and/or facial hair can also cause irritation. This was never something I actively tried to change, but it’s good to be aware of nonetheless.
Hormones are a real thing and they really do affect your skin. Hormones fluctuate up and down and those surges or dips can often wreak havoc on your skin. When you’re going through puberty, there’s not too much you can do about this, but I found that when I went on birth control, my skin got markedly better. The hormones in the birth control ended up regulating my skin and now the only thing I have to worry about is what will happen to my face when I finally stop taking it one day…
Last but not least, stress can be a major factor in irritating your skin. Every single time I go on vacation, I stop doing all the ‘healthy’ things. I don’t eat that healthy because I want to try all the new foods of a place, I don’t do any formal workouts, and I don’t sleep as much since I’m trying to cram everything into a few weeks at most. However, without fail, every time I go on vacation, even though I’m sometimes treating my body pretty badly, my skin clears up. One time, I was in France and basically lived off of wine, cappuccinos, and a few hours of sleep, for three days and I fucking glowed. I think vacations clear my skin because of the dual effect of letting go of my typical stress, and of being outside so much more than I am normally. When I go to new places, I love to explore and I think my skin reacts well to being outside, especially in arid climates.
It may seem trivial, but taking care of your skin can be a huge confidence booster for both men and women. You’ve heard it before, but your skin is your largest organ and just like the rest of your body, you’re pretty much stuck with the same skin for life – the least you can do is wash your freaking pillowcases.