Do you ever have those moments when memories of something stupid you used to do in high school just totally flood your brain out of nowhere? I feel like that happens to me on a near-weekly basis—I’ll just be going about my day, living my life, and then wham, all I can think about are the many, many times I washed my face with a bar of hand soap. Shudder. High school was a strange time.
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to proper skin care, it’s all about trial and error. The following are eight skin care lessons that we all have to learn the hard way.
1. If you’re often too tired to wash your makeup off at night, at least keep a stash of cleansing wipes by your bed.
Everyone has nights when they’re just too tired to fathom properly taking off their makeup, but no one should ever be too tired to use a cleansing wipe in bed.
2. You really do have to wear sunscreen, and you should be wearing it every day, regardless of the weather.
Yes, even when it’s cloudy, and yes, even in the winter.
3. You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on your skincare, but don’t sell yourself short by going in blind at the drugstore.
When it comes to skin care, a little bit of research goes a long way. There are tons of affordable drugstore products that will work wonders for your skin (a few of my favorites are here, here, and here). There are also a ton that won’t do jack shit. Ask your friends what’s worked for them, do a little Googling,and then hit the drugstore.
4. Even oily skin needs moisturizer.
As a teenager, I thought I needed to be using super harsh, drying products to soak up what I considered to be the oil slick hanging out on my forehead. As an adult, I now realize that all skin types—dry, oil, and combination—need to be moisturized.
5. You need to wash your makeup brushes, pillowcase, and face cloth regularly.
Remember those days when you prioritized just about everything over doing your laundry? And remember those weird, “unexplainable” breakouts you used to get back then? Cause and effect, my friends. It’s all cause and effect.
6. If you pick at your face, you will get scars.
Is there anyone on Earth who made it through their teenage years without a battle scar or two? Thank God we’ve all moved on from that phase, right? Right?
7. Go easy on the exfoliating.
When I first learned about exfoliating, I rushed out to the drugstore, bought a huge tub of St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and went to town on my poor skin. After a few days of rubbing my face raw, I had learned an important lesson: you should be exfoliating gently and no more than twice a week (and probably not with St. Ives, because the Internet seems to agree that it’s not good for your face).
8. There is no such thing as a “healthy tan.”
I totally fell for this beauty myth in high school, and I seriously regret it. Thank God my part-time job at McDonald’s paid like crap, because if it hadn’t, I’m sure I would have been a tanning booth regular. And tanning beds are only a tiny part of the problem: I cringe when I think about all of the times I went to the beach without wearing any sunscreen at all, thinking that getting a “natural tan” was healthy. Yikes.
9. And finally… Don’t wash your face with a bar of soap.