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The rise of academic skin care


The growing popularity of skincare products and influencers is prompting students on campus to revamp their routines. Low-cost brands like The Ordinary, CeraVe, and The INKEY List make a simple routine accessible to students on a budget.


JOANNE HANER: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Joanne Haner, and this is Podculture, a podcast about arts and culture on campus and beyond.


JOANNE HANER: Everyone has skin. While skin care concerns can vary from person to person, an increased awareness of simple and affordable products has enabled Gen Zers to begin taking care of their skin with the help Internet from an early age.

ABHAV SONI: My morning skincare routine is in five steps. And then my evening skincare routine is four. The only difference is the sunscreen.

KEVIN FOLEY: It’s kind of a healthy obsession, at least the way I see it. It’s just something to focus on taking care of myself and stuff like that.

JOANNE HANER: Brands like The Ordinary, The INKEY List, and Good Molecules – offered in popular beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty – market products with transparent ingredient lists and a low price. Other affordable brands on offer at Target, like CeraVe, Naturium, and La Roche-Posay, also make it easy for students to grab a few quick skincare products during a grocery run.

EMILY STEVENSON: I think number one for what a student should be looking for is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money. There are some great brands that you can get at a drugstore.

JOANNE HANER: It was Dr. Emily Stevenson, assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. As current skin care trends and influencers raise awareness about skin protection practices, she says there are caveats against the hype.

EMILY STEVENSON: Obviously all of these brands are trying to sell you something. So there is a big marketing effort to have more. I have a lot of patients who have very complicated diets like a 10 step diet from an expensive skin care brand that they think they need to buy all of these products. Sometimes this can be harmful, as many of these products can be irritating. And then I think there’s some misinformation out there, too.

JOANNE HANER: Weinberg freshman Kevin Foley got into skin care after his 40s watching videos of famous influencer Hyram Yarbro, better known as Skincare by Hyram.

KEVIN FOLEY: It used to be just a cleanser and moisturizer, like anything I got my hands on; I never really thought about it. After watching all those YouTube videos and learning more about what is needed in a skincare routine, I was like, “Okay, I need sunscreen and I need to start exfoliating. my skin.”

JOANNE HANER: Another popular trend in skin care is chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliators, as opposed to physical exfoliators like scrubs, are applied once a day several times a week to gently remove dead skin and unclog pores. Foley’s current routine ranges from five to six steps, but to get there, he’s gone through a process of trial and error. Skincare by Hyram primarily focuses on product and brand reviews, but also helps fans create their skincare routines through social media. Hyram product recommendations work whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge.

HYRAM YARBO: I’ll create a complete skin care routine that has everything you need for under $ 50 – it can. I don’t think it’s fair that people don’t have access to skin care based on the money they make. This is seriously messed up. Everyone should have access to skin care, and I remember when I started my skin care routine. I think back to college, and my daughter, I had no money.

JOANNE HANER: However, Hyram is not a dermatologist and as a result some creators have criticized its content and the scope of its platform.

KEVIN FOLEY: I would get something that was recommended. And then if it really didn’t work for my skin, I would stop using it. But if it was good enough, I would just use it until the end, just because I don’t want to lose it. And then when I was done, I was like, “Okay, did that work? Maybe it was something like the ingredients were too strong or just too hard on my skin. I was trying to find something with a lower concentration of anything like the hard ingredient was.

JOANNE HANER: While Foley’s routine includes more advanced steps like chemical exfoliation, Dr. Stevenson says a good, simple routine starts with a gentle cleanser and protective sunscreen in the morning. There are two types of sunscreens: chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens. Both provide protection from the harmful rays of the sun by using different active ingredients.

EMILY STEVENSON: When looking for sunscreen, make sure it has at least SPF 30 or higher. And another important thing that I think a college age person might not realize is if, if there is SPF in their makeup, they probably don’t have enough because you should really toughen it up enough. hard. You need a fair amount of a dime to a quarter to put all over your face. And for the sunscreen on your body, if you are going to the beach or the pool, you need about a shot glass.

JOANNE HANER: In terms of improving your routine, specific products and ingredients can target specific issues, including anti-aging, fat, texture, and hyperpigmentation. Since two people do not have the same skin, this process looks different to everyone.

EMILY STEVENSON: First of all, I would say going to a certified dermatologist to assess your skin and make recommendations is a great idea when we go to the next step. After sunscreen, I think the next best step to getting on board is something with a retinol or a retinoid in it. And in the simplest terms, they are derivatives of vitamin A. They have a lot of benefits. They return the collagen to our skin. They’re anti-aging, they’re anti-acne.

JOANNE HANER: With the large selection of products and brands available, it can be difficult to sort through marketing campaigns and determine what works best for your skin. SESP freshman Abhav Soni first took an interest in skin care during his freshman year of high school to try and reduce his acne.

ABHAV SONI: I think when I think about it, I was doing way too much. I felt like I needed to do 10 different steps in my skin care routine. I exfoliated too much, I damaged my skin. A lot of the steps I was doing weren’t even appropriate for a freshman in the shoes of a high school kid.

JOANNE HANER: Since then, Soni has reduced her routine to a four- to five-step cycle, transforming her skincare journey from an insecurities-driven journey to a self-care journey.

ABHAV SONI: Practicing a skincare routine, especially in college, is just a routine that you can do on your own. And I think it’s honestly therapeutic because after a long day it’s like washing your face, like putting all your stuff on, it’s kinda nice.

JOANNE HANER: Above all, Dr. Stevenson stressed the importance of applying sunscreen daily. Sunscreen can prolong the youthfulness of the skin, but also prevent skin cancer. Ultimately, she recommends turning to the professionals, even if it’s through social media.

EMILY STEVENSON: I’m not the “skin influencer” other than the certified dermatologists, and this is an extremely important message, I think, for the students: follow the certified dermatologists, they are there. There are a lot, a lot of them on Instagram, who are on TikTok, putting out really good information.

JOANNE HANER: Some dermatologists on Instagram that Dr. Stevenson recommends are @ dermdoc.jen, @dermguru, @ derm.talk, and @dermy_doctor.


JOANNE HANER: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Joanne Haner. Thanks for listening to another episode of Podculture. This episode was reported and produced by me, Joanne Haner. The Daily Northwestern’s digital editor is Jordan Mangi and the editor is Jacob Fulton.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @joanne_n_h


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