(Photo Illustration by Devin Puente)

Before last year, my skincare routine consisted of wearing sunscreen at the beach, and even then, I only applied sunscreen if I remembered to pack it. Things have changed this past year, and I realized that taking care of my skin is as important as brushing my teeth, and my journey to a sleek skincare routine helped grow my self-confidence.

My skincare journey started about a year ago when my partner at the time watched videos of the music and fashion icon, Pharrell Williams, talking about his skincare. 

About a month later, I suddenly became very uninspired, and I didn’t have the energy to do any of the activities that would usually cheer me up. During this time, I remembered the videos of Pharrell talking about skincare and started to think about my own nonexistent routine.

I credit this moment as the point of my realization— skincare is a crucial part of a daily routine, and I was going to start giving it the attention it deserved. 

I was naive to think that skincare was a gender-specific task. I learned that it’s important for everyone to take care of their skin, regardless of gender. In an interview with Gayle King, Williams pointed out the stigma around skincare, ultimately deciding that proper skin hygiene supersedes gender expectations. 

“For us as men, people don’t think we pay attention to our skin like we have to. You have to exfoliate like a crazy man,” Williams said. “Take care of your skin. That’s a good thing.” 

Taking care of your skin is equivalent to washing your hair. If you show that much love to your hair, it makes sense that you should show that same love to your skin.

It took some time to come up with a skincare routine I could commit to. The first step was to determine what my skin type was, and I quickly learned that there were specific products for each type. My skin is oily, meaning that it  produces excess oil and when left untreated, pores can become enlarged and clogged.

Learning about this part of my body was concerning because now I knew I needed a skincare routine, and I neglected it for a long time. I began researching the best products that were available.

After finishing my research, I settled down with a three-step routine for the morning —  a cleanser, face scrub and drying with a clean cloth. This was my routine for about two months until I noticed that my skin looked noticeably worse than before.

I ditched that routine and started looking for key aspects that would help my skin. While researching, I came across Hyram, a content creator specializing in skin care. His content helped shape the routine I use today.

Besides Hyram’s content, I also started using websites such as GQ and Esquire to find recommended products and the effectiveness of certain routines. From every source, I noticed my routine was missing a crucial component —  sunscreen.

Sunscreen is much more versatile than I ever imagined. The different sun protection agents can affect skin types differently. Picking a sunscreen that worked with my skin was hard because each product presents its pros and cons. 

Students looking to start their skincare regimens should be mindful of the products they choose and put in the necessary effort to find what works best for their skin type.. 

After a month of research and testing, I chose a mineral sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30. When I applied it to the skin, it did not make my face look oily. I use sunscreen and apply it twice a day when I am in areas with sun exposure.

The next significant change in my skincare routine was eliminating products that had fragrances. All of the previous routine products had an aroma, which could have been why my skin looked worse than before.

My current routine starts with washing my face with cold water and using a powdered cleanser that starts working when mixed with water. The next step is a fragrance-free exfoliator — my favorite step of the routine. 

I use the exfoliator three times a week to avoid over-exfoliation, which can cause breakouts and dry skin. I use moisturizing face cream before applying the final step of sunscreen. This whole routine is done in the morning. Before bedtime, I apply the moisturizing face cream again.

My skin has never felt better since I started my current daily routine. I finally feel like I’m giving my skin the care it has always deserved. For students who do not have a skincare routine, my advice is to start learning about this essential physical health aspect. Skincare has made me feel more invested in myself and given me more self-confidence than ever before.


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