Health Column: How to have healthier skin when you’re stressed, broke and broken out

Makeup products. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

In college, it can be hard to take care of yourself at times. With constant papers, tests and homework, one might be liable to shirk some self-care regimens, which can result in a lot of harm to our skin. If you find your skin to suddenly be worse when you step foot on campus, I’ve got some easy, cheap and healthy tips to keep your skin happy – and it might save you some time, too!

1. Drink some water

Drink more water. You don’t need to drink a full gallon a day, but you should try to at least have a glass every morning. Not only does water intake keep your skin hydrated, it also has health benefits like benefiting your organs, digestive health and general good feelings. I’m really bad about drinking water, so I suggest trying a sugar-free flavoring to add to a bottle so you can sip without thinking about it.

2. Stop using harsh sulfates on your skin

Your soaps really don’t need to have harsh sulfates in them to get you clean.

Sulfates break down lipids and oils, so when you put them on your face, you’re basically stripping off the first layer of skin. The more you strip your skin, the more likely you are to break out because you’re depriving your skin of needed oils and nutrients. Sulfates aren’t really bad for your health, but people with sensitive skin will experience bad effects of the chemicals. I suggest using an all natural bar soap.

My twice a day facial routine is as follows: I wash my face using an oats and goats milk face bar, wipe my face with a salicylic acid toner to clear pores and then use an organic marula oil based face cream.

Within a week, I can tell my skin is more hydrated – which surprisingly means less oily – and looks smoother.

I get both my face bar and the face cream from Bittersweet Apothecary here on the Liberty Square, and the products are affordable and last me months. I do use Clinique brand toner, mainly because it has a fairly low salicylic acid concentration and is good for sensitive skin. Reminder: bar soaps when kept too moist can grow bacteria, which is gross, so keep your soap on the sink with a pored soap dish to let it air dry after use.

3. Use a moisturizer

You should seriously be moisturizing your face. Everyday, twice a day. Maybe more if you’re feeling it, honestly. Use a moisturizer free of parabens and chemicals, and get it as organic as you can. You shouldn’t feel greasy after using it – I recommend using something olive oil or marula oil based. It may not always smell great, but most things that smell great that you’re putting on your face contain a lot of chemicals. My face cream is $14, and lasts me between three and four months.

4. Take vitamins containing Vitamin E

Everyone knows that most vitamins are a bit of scam, considering most of them come out in urine as waste, but vitamins containing Vitamin E, biotin and collagen are super healthy for your skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in most plant-based fats – including peanut butter and avocado – and if you’re on a diet skimping on fats you’re hurting your skin more than you’re hurting your waistline. Technically, you don’t need to take a Vitamin E supplement, but if you aren’t eating enough veggies, it can’t hurt.

Biotin and collagen are another couple skin-happy vitamins, but since they’re contained largely in the liver and animal tissues – especially biotin – – unless you’re eating organ meat, you’re probably missing out on these. I recommend taking a hair, skin, and nails vitamin, which are easy to take, and fairly inexpensive if bought in bulk. Not only will your skin thank you, but you should see differences in your hair length and nail healthiness.

5. Stop buying super cheap foundation

This is the only time I will recommend not hunting for a bargain. If you wear makeup, stop buying super cheap foundation. I know it can be easy to just pick up a cheap drugstore alternative, but a lot of cheap foundations contain a ton of oils, chemicals and pore-clogging materials. They also, in my experience, don’t last as long. I currently use a Dior foundation I bought for $65 at Sephora during my senior year of high school for prom, and there’s still plenty left in the bottle. It’s been two years, people.

This foundation doesn’t break my face out, isn’t oil based, and a little goes a long way, obviously. Another good, and cheaper, option is Clinique foundation. You can buy this in a foundation-concealer combo that is moderate coverage, oil-free and moderately priced. This also lasts about two years, which is great. And hey, you honestly don’t need foundation if you take care of your skin.


This tip is capitalized because it can pretty easy to forget to do both of these things.

If you’re not washing your sheets and towels regularly, or at least switching them out, you’re getting oils, soapy build-up and bacteria all up in them. If you put your body in them, wash them. I wash my sheets every other week, and switch out towels every week. Trust me, your skin and body will thank you.

7. You don’t need makeup

Listen, you don’t need makeup. You really don’t. I like makeup, and wear it for no one other than me – and it’s great to love makeup – but you don’t need to feel pressure to cover yourself up every day if you don’t want to.

Taking steps to healthier skin will help relieve some of those little insecurities we all feel, but odds are, most people won’t even notice if you have a breakout. Trying for clear skin just means you’re taking care of the body you live in and love, and that doesn’t mean you’re insecure. If you do wear makeup, make sure you’re taking it off before sleeping, especially foundation, so you don’t clog your pores.

Hopefully some of these little tips can help when you’re having a stress-breakout, a random breakout or just feel like giving your skin a little TLC!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.