Dear 16 year old me, here’s what you need to know about skincare
September has got me reminiscing. Sure, it’s not the normal September I’m used to but lockdown or not, it will always remind me of school. Crisp new pencil cases, fresh stationery and subtle butterflies in my stomach (probably a combination of excitement and dread). But perhaps the most defining part of my school years is all the stupid things I did as a teen, which frankly, is a rite of passage. I like to think that sneaking out to drink Strongbow in the park was character building and that queuing up for hours on end to see a boyband (spoiler alert, it was McFly) was an investment in my future. How else was I going to become the future Mrs Dougie Poynter? That being said, whilst I’m definitely not ashamed of my cringe behaviour of yesteryear, I do shudder when I think about how I used to treat my skin.
If I was talking to 16 year old Saoirse now, here’s what I would tell her.
Put down the walnut scrub! I know you’re getting breakouts, but trust me, you absolutely do not need to be scrubbing your face to an inch of its life twice a day. I promise. It’s just going to make it worse and cause microtears.
Toothpaste isn’t going to get rid of your spots. I know your mum says it works, but it doesn’t. Sure it might dry it out, but then what? Now you just have a big flaky spot on your face instead of a juicy one. Leave your spots alone, don’t pick them, be gentle with them.
Don’t sleep with your makeup on. The winged eyeliner and Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse isn’t going to magically disappear. Clean your damn face.
Makeup wipes won’t clean your skin. Whilst we’re here, makeup wipes won’t cut it. They don’t clean your skin. You need to remove your makeup with an oil cleanser like Swipe Clean and then cleanse the skin with a gentle, clarifying cleanser like Crystal Clear.
Moisturise your skin every day. Yes, even if you have oily skin. Moisturiser doesn’t just help dry skin, but it will help stave off the wrinkles and fine lines when you’re older. Moisturised skin is healthy skin. Just like you drink water every day, your skin needs moisture every day too.
Wear SPF. You’re going to get bored of hearing this, so you might as well get one step ahead. Imagine how smug you’ll feel at the grand old age of 28 when you can tell people you’ve been wearing SPF daily for 12 years? Not only is it going to help protect you from burning and skin cancer (as if that wasn’t enough) but it’ll help prevent skin damage, premature ageing and hyperpigmentation. I know it sounds weird now, but getting ID’d into your twenties is a thrill. You’ll miss it when it stops. Try using a moisturising SPF in the morning like Day Defence.
You don’t need to go on the pill to clear your skin. If you need to go on the pill and it’s the best option for you then fine, but don’t just go on it for your skin. There are other ways to bring your skin back to equilibrium. Be gentle with it and maybe cut down on the dairy and sugar. I know you’re growing, but the pack of Mr Kipling Lemon Drizzle Slices probably isn’t necessary every day. I know having breakouts is really shit but messing around with the pill so much in your teens is just gonna send your hormones even further out of whack. Trust me, you’ll still be feeling the effects of it as you approach your thirties otherwise.
Finally, go easy on yourself, have fun, you’re doing fine and at the end of the day, nothing matters. It’s not that deep.
Saoirse, from the future xoxo
Written by, Saoirse Senior Social Media & Content Executive