Along with the typical college stressors, many college students also eat a lot of junk food, drink soda, stay up late, and party. All of these create the perfect storm for developing bad habits that can have a detrimental effect on the skin, therefore taking care of skin in college is crucial.
Pimples, acne, and psoriasis are a few of the skin conditions that can develop from stress, poor diet, etc. And they can develop while at college. It’s common for most college students not to think about skincare unless they already have a skin disease. However, being aware of how college life can affect your skin and developing healthy habits can help you to avoid getting a skin condition.
Reason to Take Care of Skin in College
The skin is the body’s largest organ and is intertwined with the rest of the body. Often what is forgotten about the skin is that because it is interconnected, it’s a reflection of what is happening inside the body. For example, a vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy, with one of the symptoms of scurvy being sores on the skin. So, a skin condition can be a heads up to something happening deeper in the body including your emotional and mental health.
Another reason to take care of the skin while in college is that it sets the stage for when you are older. Your skin will hold up better against the signs of aging, such as premature wrinkling. Also, beginning skincare at a young age gets you into the habit so that it becomes second nature.
One of the most important reasons to start being aware of your skin and health is to prevent becoming a cancer statistic. Melanoma rates according to the University of Florida have swollen to 800% in women and 400% in men in the last 40 years. And college students are the largest group that expose themselves to harmful skin cancer-causing UV rays.
Taking Care of Your Skin in College
The few suggestions below are easy to incorporate into your busy school life. They will help to offset less healthy choices, such as eating too much pizza and drinking coffee.
Drink water throughout the day. Drinking water is especially important if you drink caffeinated beverages for late night study sessions. Caffeine dehydrates the skin which can lead to dry skin. Dry skin is prone to premature wrinkling. Buy a reusable water bottle and carry it with you all the time.
Eat fresh vegetables and fruits daily. Citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables are especially beneficial for skin health. One of the easiest ways to get your greens is to drink them. There are many cold-pressed green drinks. Just be sure there aren’t unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar or corn sweetener in them.
Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Omega-3s are an essential nutrient which the body doesn’t make. You need to get them from food sources such as fish, flaxseed, and nuts. You can get omega-3s by taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements. Carry a bag of nuts in your backpack to snack on.
Incorporate probiotics into your diet. Probiotics are healthy bacteria found in fermented foods that are lacking in many people’s diet. Yogurt with live cultures is an easy way to get probiotics. Try to buy yogurt with little or no sugar. Kombucha, a fermented tea, sold in the cold beverage section of stores is popular for its probiotic benefits. Probiotics can also be purchased in tablets and capsules.
Get in the habit of cleaning your skin twice daily. It may be tempting to go to bed after a late night without washing your face, but don’t do it. Skipping on washing your face at night can develop into a bad habit which can lead to breakouts. All skin types need to use a gentle cleanser, even skin with blemishes. After cleansing your face, rinse it with cold water several times.
Apply moisturizer after washing your face. Blemish prone skin also needs to be moisturized to balance skin oils; choose one made for acne prone skin.
Use sunscreen when outdoors and never use a tanning bed. Studies show that the risk for developing melanoma was 25 percent higher for people who used tanning beds compared to those people who never used one. If you want a tanned look, try a high-quality spray tan.
Incorporating just a few healthy habits into your busy college life such as the ones mentioned above along with exercise and reducing stress can help not only your skin but also your body.
Merten, Julie Williams, MSH, et al. An Examination of Skin Cancer Prevention Behaviors Among College Students. Retrieved from http://www.unf.edu/uploadedFiles/aa/brooks/public_health/2014%20Skin%20Cancer%20Prevention%20Behaviors%20Among%20College%20Students.pdf
Probiotics Send Signals From Your Gut to Your Skin (November 11, 2010). Retrieved from Mercola.com “Probiotics Send Signals from Your Gut to Your Skin”
Nutrition for Healthy Skin: Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Biotin, and Sulfur (August 31, 2012). Retrieved from https://chriskresser.com/nutrition-for-healthy-skin-part-2/.
Risk of skin cancer doesn’t deter most college students who tan indoors, study shows (January 10, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170110120552.htm.