If you're anything like me, you've probably been in a few situations where you've finally saved up just enough money to purchase that really cool looking new skincare product that claims to give you the clearest most radiant skin you've ever had...only for it seriously f*** up your skin once you actually get the chance to use it. As a super broke college student, I know first hand how infuriating it can be to waste money you don't have on a product you can't afford. I also know how overwhelming it can be to figure out which kinds of products you should even be buying for your skin in the first place. Thanks to the various retail jobs I've had to work to get myself through school, I've spent a number of years working in skin care specifically. During that time, I learned a lot about what the heck is actually going on with your skin that makes it the way it is, as well as what kinds of ingredients will have specific effects on it. I'm in no way an expert on skin care, nor a dermatologist, but I am one broke binch that's tired of spending their hard earned cash on products that are just going to break me out and give me a rash anyway. That's why I've put together this comprehensive skin care shopping guide to hopefully make taking care of your flesh suit a little bit easier!
1. Oily, breakout prone skin:
During my time working in skin care, the most common complaints I would hear were about people dealing with oily, breakout prone skin. As someone who has had cystic acne since middle school: trust me. I feel your pain. The tricky thing about this one is that there are so many different things that can cause acne (and many different types of acne for that matter) that there really isn't one end all be all solution on how to get perfectly crystal clear skin. That being said, there are some ingredients to look out for that can very much help any current breakouts you have to clear up more quickly, as well as preventing them from happening in the first place a little bit better.
If you have cystic or hormonal acne, anything with gentle, anti-bacterial ingredients are going to be your best friend. Witch hazel, tea tree oil, honey, and citrus are all natural, antibacterial ingredients commonly found in handmade skin care products that are tough on breakouts without overly irritating and drying out your skin. For blackheads and clogged pores, try clay-based masks and cleansers that will pull impurities and excess oil out of the skin. Ingredients like kaolin clay, charcoal, and bentonite clay are a few to look out for. However, my number one ride or die skin care advice for oily skin is: MOISTURIZE YOUR FRIGGIN FACE! I know the idea of putting more oil on your already oily skin is scary, but your skin's natural reaction to being too dry is to overproduce oil to make up for it. Oil cancels out oil, and many oils found in skin care products are non-comodegenic (meaning they do not clog your pores) and can actually help detoxify your skin.
2. Dry, damaged, or aging skin:
Let me start out this section by saying that anti-aging skincare is a scam and there's absolutely no such thing. I think it's a really tasteless way to get people (specifically women) to buy overpriced products by shaming them about getting older. That being said, there are some specific things that do happen to the skin as it gets older, and therefore there are certain types of products that can help keep the skin healthier as it ages. Deep hydration and anti-oxidant rich ingredients are key. Anti-oxidant rich ingredients like myrrh and rosehip oil, as well as different types of seaweed, avocado, and almond oils that deeply hydrate.
3. Combination skin:
Combination skin can be one of the trickiest skin types to take care of because it can be hard to figure out what exactly your skin needs. If it's both dry and oily, how do you keep it hydrated without exacerbating the oiliness? Luckily there are some fantastic natural ingredients commonly found in skin care products that support balancing the skin's natural oil production to keep skin even and healthy. In my experience, the number one thing to look out for is lavender. Lavender is an absolutely amazing thing to have in any skin care product. I'm especially fond of it in toner water and my moisturizers. Lavender is wonderfully calming and soothing to sensitive skin, but it also helps your skin to balance itself naturally. It's also important to look out for moisturizers and facial oils that contain non-comedogenic oils like jojoba, sweet almond, argan, and rosehip oils. These are just a few examples that I see most commonly in facial oils and moisturizers on the market, but really any oil with a comedogenic rating of 0-2 will be unlikely to clog pores on most skin types.
4. Sensitive skin:
Alright, these are my people. If you suffer from itchy, flakey, easily irritated skin or skin that for some reason has an allergic reaction to EVERYTHING you try to put on it I totally feel your pain. I suffer from eczema and getting it on my face is a common occurrence that is torturous as well as embarrassing. On top of that, if anything touches my skin that it doesn't agree with I break out in hives or my skin gets red and starts to burn. Through the ups and downs that have been my skincare journey, there are some things that I've found to be my face's best friends and I now always buy products that contain these ingredients.
First of all: Rose is everything. Roses are incredibly soothing and anti-inflammatory which is great for any kind of skin irritation or redness. If you have sensitive skin of any kind it is my humble opinion that you should have at least one skin care product that contains it. As I mentioned above, Lavender is also super soothing for sensitivity and can help relieve that itchy, burning feeling. My last tip for sensitive skin is to just keep it simple. Don't over exfoliate, don't go too crazy with the face masks, and don't worry about feeling like you need five different layers of serums and what not to have a decent skincare routine. I usually just use a gentle wash, rose toner, serum (at night), and a gentle moisturizer for my daily routine and then once or twice a week I'll use a soothing and deeply hydrating mask to help with the flakiness.
Again, I'm not a dermatologist or a skin care expert, I'm just a young person with really shitty skin who's learned a thing or two about taking care of my skin from the various retail jobs I've worked up to this point. I hope that you found some of this advice useful and hope that it helps you on your journey to beautiful, clear skin.