Hello, friends. We’re knee-deep in exam season right now, which means the sweats are on, hair is tied back, eyes are fashionably accessorised with dark circle eye-bags and the stress-induced breakouts have reared their heads. If you’re anything like me, you might not be too concerned about the state of your skin when your GPA is at stake. However, your skin is an indicator of what’s going on in your body, and the habits we slip into during exam season are often the same things causing our skin to act up. If your skin is breaking out, it’s a sign that your body needs some extra TLC. Exams are important, but your health is paramount.
Luckily for you, I moonlight at a cruelty-free cosmetics company, so I get paid to talk skincare. Here’s a few tips to help prevent exam season getting the best of your skin – and the rest of you.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a dermatologist. Do not hold me accountable if these tips don’t give you flawless skin, as there are often deeper issues or causes at play. Don’t @ me.
- Caffeine. Judging by the lineup at the campus Tim’s alone, it’s clear that we’re all relying on coffee, tea, and sugar to get us through gruelling study sessions and looming deadlines. Even if cutting down your caffeinated drinks is an unrealistic goal, try and drink a glass of water for every caffeinated drink you have. It’ll help to keep you hydrated, focused, and spot-free. RECOMMENDATIONS: Coconut water and rooibos tea are both high in electrolytes, which help to hydrate and replenish the body.
- Sleep deprivation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Sleep is so important for students! We’ve all pulled the odd all-nighter, but the long-term effects of sleep deprivation include memory loss, anxiety, and trouble concentrating. Not exactly conducive to being a good student. Try melatonin tablets if you have trouble falling asleep naturally, and building a study routine that allows for a good night’s sleep. It’ll help minimise dark circles and heal existing blemishes too. PRODUCT RECOMMENDATION: Full Of Grace solid serum. It gave my skin the glow I’d always dreamed of and faded my puffy dark circles.
- Skipping laundry day. You can always tell that I’ve got a lot of uni work to do by how long I’ll avoid doing my laundry for, but not washing pillowcases, scarves, and hats regularly enough is a great way to trigger breakouts. Take a quick break from the books to make sure you get your washing done, or do some readings while your clothes are on the spin-cycle. RECOMMENDATION: an eco-friendly, extra-gentle laundry detergent. Switching to one worked wonders for my sensitive skin!
- Stress. This one’s a little harder to fix. I’m probably not the best person to give advice about stress, as a person with two conditions exacerbated and triggered by stress, but here goes. Apps like Stop, Breathe, Think and Youtubers like The Honest Guys have been lifesavers for me this year, especially during or after an anxiety attack. I’ve noticed that the more I use these resources, the easier it gets to control my stress levels. Breakouts are often attributed to stress, so if you tend to get spots around stressful periods it might be worth trying to dedicate some time each day to mindfulness exercises or meditation. RECOMMENDATIONS: Saje diffuser oils and Quick Study spray really help me regulate my anxiety and poor concentration. Mask of Magnaminty face & body mask: best mask to ever go on my face. Try the self-preserving version for sensitive skin.
- Touching your face. This is a habit that isn’t necessarily isolated to exam season, but I notice myself touching my face a lot more often when I’m studying more than usual, in class, pondering how to connect the points in an essay, or having a moment of despair in front of my laptop at 3am. Typing or texting and then touching your face are great ways to transfer bacteria to your skin, so make sure you disinfect your keyboard and phone regularly, and wash your hands often throughout the day. RECOMMENDATION: hand sanitiser and a toner that’s suitable for your skin type, or a spritz of diluted rosewater and tea tree oil. Trust me, toner actually does work.
Stay strong, study hard, and hopefully these pointers will help you have a healthier exam season. If you would like a more in-depth conversation about skincare or products to use, tweet me at @JasminELGL or visit your local cruelty-free cosmetics/skincare store.
Some useful ingredients:
- For breakouts: tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe vera, rosemary, peppermint.
- For dark circles: rose, arnica, portobello mushrooms.
- For redness/puffiness: calamine, aloe vera, rose, cucumber.