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A Survival Guide To Dealing With Acne As A Student

05 October 2018 10:36

You know what they say: university will be the best years of your life. For the most part, this is true.

You’re finally doing your own thing. Living with your best friends. Discovering who you want to be with zero obligations (well, except turning up for lectures). There’s no doubt about it, uni will reshape you completely.

But what about the other part? You know, the 8am lectures, deadlines on top of more deadlines, exam stress, housemate drama, the whole trying to live off a tenner for a week thing…

This part isn’t so much fun. Especially when it’s accompanied by, yep you guessed it: ACNE.

When did achieving clear skin become harder than getting a degree?

Whether you struggled with breakouts during high school or if this is your first time, there are steps you can take to clear your skin.

Here’s our survival guide to dealing with acne during university and how to conquer breakouts for good

1. First things first, why is this happening to me?

 When you’re in your late teens and early twenties, your skin goes through a transition period. Lifestyle changes, an active social life, late nights and stress can throw your hormones off balance and cause breakouts.

Before you come to the conclusion there is something wrong with you, know this: it’s completely normal to experience skin issues like blemishes, acne and uneven skin tone during this time in your life.

Sure, being a student is an exciting, care-free time but it can also come with a lot of new pressures. Walking the tightrope between deadlines and your social life will, at times, bring on stress.

2. Take control of stress before it takes control of you

If there’s one thing acne thrives on, it’s stress. When you lose your cool and start to freak out, hormone levels change. The body overproduces oil from the sebaceous glands, resulting in clogged pores and inflammation.

We know what you’re thinking: “How am I meant to calm down when I have five assignments due, the laundry hasn’t been done in weeks, and I’ll have to ask my parents for money, AGAIN?”

Sorry to be the one to tell you this but managing stress is a part of life we all struggle with, and it’s not going to magically vanish after university. Work on it now and it’s possible to get under control.

Stress less by following these steps:

Get organised

Create a simple schedule for your day or week. Do this and you’ll realise how much more time you have to accomplish tasks. When you break down your assignments and daily to-do list into manageable chunks, you stay focused with a clear mind. Personally, we love staying on top of everything in our heads using the Actions app by Moleskine.

Get your beauty sleep

Pulling the occasional all-nighter goes with the territory of student life. The issues begin when you make it a habit. Messing around with your sleep cycle causes harm to not only your skin but your mental health too. Get into a routine during the week to ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep every night.

Take time for yourself

With all the constant running around of campus life, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. This is why some self-care from time to time is SO important. Take a step back from the craziness of life and do something for yourself. Go for a run, hang out in your favourite coffee shop, take up a new hobby or sport, finally finish that book you started last summer – focus on looking after yourself first and your skin will thank you.

3. What you put IN your body is just as important as what you put ON your body

Say goodbye to processed foods.

The late night munchies of oily chips and sugary foods may not directly cause acne, but they certainly don’t help your skin.

Eating excess amounts of takeaways and ready-meals can cause your hormones to surge, leading to excess oil and sebum production. Pay careful attention to what you eat, and if your breakouts flare up after indulging in a few too many Ben & Jerry’s, you know it’s time to cut back.

Since acne is an inflammatory condition, stay away from foods that promote inflammation. Eliminate processed foods from your daily diet and replace them with an acne-fighting diet filled with everything your body needs to beat the blemishes.

What to avoid:

  • Saturated fats from animal products like meat and dairy
  • Excess amounts of alcohol and caffeine
  • Vegetable oils high in omega-6 (sunflower, corn and palm oil)
  • White flour
  • White pasta and rice
  • Processed foods


What to eat more of instead:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Oily fish like salmon and tuna
  • Chia seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Almonds
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Brown rice and pasta
  • Turmeric, burdock root and ginger (these ingredients are powerful in fighting acne and can be used in any dish, smoothie or juice)

Need some ideas on what to cook? We love Deliciously Ella’s easy and healthy, plant-based recipes. Check them out here.

4. Follow a simple skincare routine

Last, but definitely not least, follow a strict skincare routine

Making sure your skin is clean is the most important aspect of your journey to clear skin.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, we’re firm believers in keeping it simple. This is why we’ve stripped back our own skincare routine here at skin:genius to only three products that take a few minutes to use. Adopting a 10-step skincare routine because you’ve read about its miracle overnight superpowers doesn’t mean it’ll work for your skin. It may even end up making the situation worse and cost you a fortune in the process.

Avoid products containing alcohol, astringents, exfoliating particles and fight the urge to excessively wash your face. This will only increase irritation and make the problem worse.

Opt for our gentle face wash, moisturiser and spot treatment gel you can use twice daily to fight bacteria and soothe inflammation without over-drying your skin.

Remember, consistency is key.

In other words, follow this routine no matter what. Even if you get home late and don’t feel like it. A consistent skincare routine aids the healing process, and you’ll start to see and feel the benefits immediately.

This leads us to the next important piece of advice:

Stop touching your face during lectures (and generally...)

Hey you, keep those germ-ridden fingers away from your face.

This is a big NO-NO in our books.

The same rule applies for picking and popping your pimples. Just. Don’t. Do. It.

Sure, it may feel sooooo satisfying at the time, but just don’t. Rest assured, you’re sabotaging the healing process and causing scars. Your breakouts will return with a vengeance.

Finally, be patient and remember to have fun.

Acne doesn’t define you and it sure as hell won’t ruin your best years as a student. Right now, it may feel like there’s no way out but, trust us, follow the steps above and you’ll be on your way to saying bye-bye to acne for good.    

If you have any questions about acne and how our natural skincare solution helps clear your skin, send us a message, we’d be happy to chat about it. We’re here to help you on your journey to clear skin.