Brighter skin for a brighter you

Alyson Furstenau ‘21, Photo Editor

A person’s confidence starts with their skin. For teenagers especially, it is often a constant battle trying to fight off stubborn acne and blemishes. With the addition of a mask that harbors bacteria and produces breakouts, getting clear skin seems like an impossible feat. 

The primary targets in most skincare commercials are teenagers, and there is a new pressure to buy products that will supposedly eliminate all imperfections. Dr. Shannon Humphrey, a cosmetic dermatologist and clinical researcher at Humphrey Cosmetic Dermatology, said, “I think one of the dangerous things, more from an ethical perspective, is that companies are marketing to a group that is highly suggestible. Adolescents as a group are easy to target and easy to influence, particularly as a mass group.” 

There are hundreds of skincare companies, each with thousands of skincare products; it can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect routine that does it all. Even more difficult: getting to know your own skin and finding products that correspond with your skin needs. A product that is made for dry skin may not actually cure your dry skin. It is important to read product reviews, but it is also important to recognize that everyone’s skin is different. No product is universally effective (even if it claims to be). Most dermatologists would agree that finding a routine and sticking to it is the most important part of taking care of your skin. These routines do not have to be extensive, just enough to cleanse the skin of any dirt, oil, and bacteria: the culprits of breakouts. Senior Kate McCollum said, “I wash my face twice a day: in the morning and at night. I also try to stick to my routine and not use different products because it sometimes affects my skin.” 

Washing your face twice a day is an effective way to combat any skin issues, and it is also a very manageable routine. You may be sitting here thinking, I wash my face twice a day, and I’m still not getting the results I’m after. The truth is, millions of teens are feeling the same frustration. An online survey conducted by Cision PR Newswire concluded that, “body shape or weight (38 percent) and skin type (21 percent) are common insecurities among teenagers.” If washing your face twice a day is not giving you the results you are looking for, the problem may be your selection of skincare products. 

Regardless of the repetitive commercials and advertisements promising life-changing results, not every product is going to do what it says it does. Finding the products that are designed to meet your skin concerns is arguably the most important part of a skincare regimen. Skincare product production is chemistry, and paying attention to the ingredients in specific products can potentially save you from a bad reaction.

 Here are some companies worth investing into: 

The Ordinary

The Ordinary is an affordable brand that can be found online, at Ulta, and at Sephora. Although product names such as “Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%” and “Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG” may be confusing, there are descriptions of what each product does on The Ordinary’s website as well as how often they should be used. The website can also be utilized to see which products should not be used together to prevent irritation from conflicting chemicals. Katherine Morris, a writer for Best Reviews, said, “The Ordinary skincare products are all about simplicity. From the ingredients to the product names to the packaging, the brand puts its formulas front and center.” There is a product made for nearly every skin concern, and by combining various products together, you can customize your own routine that addresses all of your skin needs. The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 10% is made to regulate sebum production in the skin, but it can cause dryness. To counteract this, you could use the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed RoseHip Seed Oil for an extra boost of hydration. 


CeraVe is slightly more expensive than The Ordinary, but it is still a great affordable option for skincare products. Senior Cade Person said, “My dermatologist recommended CeraVe products to me a few years ago, and I have had great results! Sometimes my skin is really oily while sometimes it is really dry. It’s nice that CeraVe has a variety of cleansers and moisturizers for different skin types.” Dermatologists at CeraVe have created a skincare line that uses a blend of ceramides that help strengthen and repair thes skin’s natural barrier. Person claims to have combination skin, and luckily for him, CeraVe has a line of salicylic acid products targeted towards consumers with the same skin type. Pairing the SA Lotion with the SA cleanser could be the right choice for consumers who need to exfoliate and moisturize at the same time. You can find CeraVe at Target and select pharmacies. 


In a perfect world, you could have your own licensed dermatologist that makes custom products catered towards your skin condition. Curology is making this perfect world into a reality with their monthly subscription boxes made for your unique skin concerns. McCollum, a loyal customer of Curology, said, “You send in pictures of your skin and they send you a treatment layer, a moisturizer, and a face wash customized to meet your skincare needs.” No more reading product claims that are filled with false promises; no more guessing about what products are right for you. Curology allows you to have products that were made for you and your own skin specialist that you can consult whenever you have questions. It is a bit of an investment, but if it provides you with skin that makes you feel more confident, it may be a price worth paying. 

First identify what your skin needs: do you have oily skin? Dry? A combination of the two? Do you have acne? Blackheads? Dry patches? Assessing your skin will help you find a range of products that will improve your complexion. 

There are millions of products available to you, though, and it is important that you do your research and start with a brand that you trust. Although finding a good skincare routine can be a long process, confidence for many starts with the skin. Give it the attention it deserves!

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