5 Back to School Tips for Teens and College Students

5 Back to School Tips for Teens and College Students

This is for all of you heading back to school this fall.  As you gear up to hit the books again, don’t forget to give your skin some TLC too. Here are five practical skincare tips that will have you looking fresh and ready to conquer the new school year.

1) Choose the right cleanser for your skin type (and wash your face twice a day!)

The trick here is finding your perfect match. Just like finding the right study group, finding the right cleanser for your skin type is essential. Oily skin? Opt for a gentle foaming cleanser. Dry skin? Cream-based cleansers are your go-to. Choosing the right cleanser can make all the difference in limiting irritation and keeping those breakouts at bay.

Here are some great options:

Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser

Gentle Foaming Cleansers if you are prone to acne or have oily/normal skin.  Enriched with plant extracts, this helps to soothe and protect your skin.  Aloe vera calms the skin while coconut oil derivatives gently wash away impurities. (Available for purchase only in our office).

Evolve Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Sugar and Coconut Foaming Cleanser

Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser

This gently cleans surface impurities including makeup without leaving the skin feeling tight, dry or stripped; cleanses without irritation; helps smooth and refine texture; leaves skin feeling hydrated.

Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Epionce Lytic Cleanser

For a little extra exfoliation, this spa-like cleanser contains salicylic acid to remove impurities and calm problem skin without unnecessary irritation or dryness; refreshes and calms problem skin; and removes stubborn dirt, oil and makeup.

Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

Nutriance Organic Cleansing Milk

Cream Cleansers for dry/sensitive skin: This is a silky emulsion enriched with marine and botanical ingredients to gently remove impurities, dirt, surface oils and makeup residue.
(Available for purchase only in our office)

Nutriance Cleansing Milk Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Nutriance Cleansing Milk

Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser

This soothing cleanser is effective without harming, irritating or causing unnecessary dryness in the skin. It helps calm redness and scaly texture; leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized; and non-foaming formula for sensitive skin.

Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser

2) Moisturize Day and Night

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.

Imagine showing up for a pop quiz without studying – that’s your skin without moisturizer. Moisturizing twice a day after cleansing keeps your skin’s hydration game strong. Repairing your skin barrier with moisturizer can keep wrinkles in check and irritation at bay. Even if you are acne prone, moisturizer is important.

Here are some suggestions:

Acne Prone

Evolve HA Serum

This serum draws moisture into your skin with no oils, and contains squalene, coenzyme Q10, and peptides to repair your skin barrier.

(Available for purchase only in our office)

Evolve HA Serum made my Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve HA Serum

Cetaphil Gentle Clear Mattifying Acne Moisturizer

This lightweight moisturizer with acne-fighting salicylic acid, helps breakouts while soothing acne-prone, sensitive skin. Hydrates for 48 hours, and improves skin tone and texture

Cetaphil Mattifying Acne Moisturizer recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Cetaphil Mattifying Acne Moisturizer


Evolve Peptide Moisturizer

This contains hyaluronic acid, shea butter and non-comedogenic jojoba oil in addition to botanical actives to help promote elasticity and firmness to your skin.

(Available for purchase only in our office)

Evolve Peptide Moisturizer Made By Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Peptide Moisturizer

Dry/Sensitive skin

Nutriance Organic Rejuvenating Rich Cream

A luxuriously nourishing marine botanical-based cream with antioxidants to improve skin firmness and decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (Available for purchase only at our office)

Nutriance Organic Rejuvenating Rich Cream Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Nutriance Rejuvenating Rich Cream

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

Ultra hydrating facial cream with 4.5% Squalane has a unique lightweight texture and lasting 72-hour hydration to leave skin softer and visibly healthier. Formulated with Squalane, Glacial Glycoprotein and Pro-Ceramides, this non-greasy, lightweight moisturizer is clinically demonstrated to hydrate 15 layers deep for softer, smoother, and healthier looking skin.

Kiehl's Ultra Moisturizing Cream Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Kiehl’s Ultra Moisturizing Cream

3) Use an Eye Cream

Say goodbye to panda eyes with a good eye cream.

Late-night study sessions can leave you with dark circles that resemble panda eyes. Enter eye cream – your sleep-deprived savior. Bid adieu to those bags and welcome a fresher look.

Evolve Brightening Probiotic Eye Cream

This is moisturizing with probiotics, kojic acid, botanicals and caffeine to reduce puffiness and dark circles. (Available for purchase at our office only)

Evolve Probiotic Eye Cream Made By Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Probiotic Eye Cream

Epionce Renewal Eye Cream

This product is great for adding moisture and antioxidants around your delicate eye area.

Epionce Renewal Eye Cream Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
Epionce Renewal Eye Cream

4) Make Sunblock a Daily Non-Negotiable Habit

Consider sunblock getting your face dressed every morning.

Just as you wouldn’t go to class without a backpack, don’t step out without sunscreen. The best way to use it is applying it every morning – in fact it can be what you use for your moisturizer. Rain or shine, sunscreen is your shield against premature aging caused by the sun. Trust me, your future self will thank you.

Here are some great choices for your face and neck that are not pore clogging and are easy to use:

COOLA: Rōsilliance® Tinted Moisturizer Organic Sunscreen SPF 30

Mineral tinted moisturizer! A lightly hydrating formula with antioxidants and mineral blocking zinc and titanium dioxide.

COOLA Rosilliance Tinted Organic SPF Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder, Colorado
COOLA Rosilliance Tinted SPF

Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 Sunscreen

This one offers more moisture, a sheer tint, with zinc and titanium dioxide for Broad-spectrum SPF 50 UV protection; Light, quick-absorbing anti-oxidant rich sheer formula; Water Resistant (80 minutes)

Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50 Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
Epionce Daily Shield Tinted SPF 50

If a tint is not your thing:

COOLA Mineral Sun Silk Crème Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30

This is not your usual white zinc sunblock. It is much more sheer, oil-free, and great for every day.

COOLA Sunsilk Mineral SPF 30 Available at Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
COOLA Sunsilk Mineral SPF 30

5) Consider a Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum – your skin’s BFF.

Want that lit-from-within glow? Vitamin C serum is about to become your skin’s best friend. It fights dullness and dark spots like a pro. It is a powerful antioxidant that can both repair and protect your skin. Start a habit of beginning your day with this serum after washing. You won’t regret the resulting healthy glow!
Choosing the right vitamin C serum is important to make sure the active ingredient is stable and it is able to appropriately penetrate your skin without irritation.

My favorite vitamin C serums:

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum

This serum has been a gold standard for years, the only setback is the price tag (usually around $180). 🙂

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum Recommended by Evolution Dermatology in Boulder Colorado
SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum

Evolve 20% Vitamin C Serum

This potent antioxidant contains ferulic acid, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to repair the effects of sun exposure, lighten age spots, and smooth and brighten skin. (Available for purchase only in our Boulder office)

Evolve Vitamin C Serum from Evolution Dermatology in Boulder CO
Evolve Vitamin C Serum

So, as you embark on your academic adventure, remember that taking care of your skin is just as important as acing your exams. Incorporate these tips into your routine, and you’ll strut through the halls with confidence.

Happy studying and happy skin-caring!

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Why Sunscreen is the Secret Sauce

Can you believe that the best tool out there for ageless skin is inexpensive, easy to use and is probably already sitting in your bathroom?

This fabulous secret sauce is sunscreen! Not only does sunscreen prevent sunburn and skin cancer – It can preserve and may even reverse the visible signs of sun damage. A whopping 90% of the visible signs of aging (including hyperpigmentation, broken blood vessels, sagging skin and wrinkles) are caused by sun exposure.


Sunscreens combine several ingredients to help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching your fragile skin. The SPF label only indicates how much UVB protection you are getting.  UVB is what can lead to sunburn, while UVA rays penetrate the skin on a deeper level and can cause leathery skin, wrinkling and brown spots and increases the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays – leading to an increased risk of skin cancer.  Look for the label “broad-spectrum” to make sure it has ingredients that protect against UVA and UVB.


Sun Protective Factor.  It is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB rays from damaging your skin.  Here is how the number of SPF is determined:  If it takes 10 minutes for your skin normally get sunburned, using an SPF 30 sunscreen theoretically prevents sunburn 30 times longer — about 5 hours.  The only problem is that sunscreen does not stay effective longer than 2 hours.  So during that 5 hour period, you would need to be reapplying the SPF 30 every 2 hours.  Another way to look at the SPF is what percentage of rays it is blocking.  SPF 15 filters about 93% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 is 97% and SPF 50 can keep out about 98%.  But keep in mind the time of day you are in the sun.  The sun is stronger in the middle of the day compared to early morning and early evening hours. That means your risk of sunburn is a lot higher in the middle of the day. The sun’s intensity is also related to geographic location, with greater sunburn risk at higher altitudes.  So with Boulder, CO at 5430 feet elevation, the sun is much more intense!


So you don’t end up like this guy:

clear trucker.jpg

This is a 69 year old truck driver. He has left sided sun damage from driving a truck for 28 years.  No sunscreen was used here!

Sunscreen is not just for the beach.  Sun damage is cumulative and each minute you get (even driving down the road or walking to lunch) adds to destruction of healthy cells in your skin.

-Sunscreen decreases your risk of skin cancer.  Skin cancer is the #1 form of cancer in the US!

-Using sunscreen sets an example for your kids.

-No excuses, it’s more convenient than ever!  You can choose between creams, sticks, sprays and even powders.  And now that the zinc particles are micronized – there is less of that white mask look.

-It will keep your skin looking youthful and decrease wrinkles and leathery skin



Mineral sunscreens contain either zinc or titanium or both.  The minerals create a barrier between skin and the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them (like the chemical SPFs).  Many brands realize we don’t want white faces and have micronized the mineral particles (sometimes called nanoparticals) to reduce chalkiness.  BTW – if you have heard that the smaller particles are a concern because they might enter the bloodstream and cause harm – this theory has been disproved.  Experts agree that these mineral small particles are safe. Mineral sunscreens are great if you have sensitive skin or worry about absorbing the chemicals in non-mineral SPF.  Zinc is actually a natural anti-inflammatory and believe it or not is the main ingredient in diaper cream for this reason.

Chemical sunscreens use UVB absorbers like homosalate, octisalate or octocrylene in addition to avobenzone, which absorbs UVA rays.  One of the UVB absorbers, oxybenzone, has had a bit of controversy.  It is a chemical that interfers with our hormones and may actually increase our risk of skin cancer.  So read those labels!


The simple answer is a broad-spectrum (to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays) that is an SPF 30 or higher.  However, on days that you are mostly inside wear its okay to wear a moisturizer with SPF 15 or 30.  But when you are not inside all day and running around, make sure to wear an SPF of close to SPF 50.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t leave the house without sunscreen on my face, neck and chest…everyday.


The one you will use!


Easy to apply and good for squirmy kids.  Make sure you use a lot to fully get coverage and try not to breath it in.  Watch out if you have sensitive skin – a lot of these can be irritating and cause rashes.

Moisturizer with built-in sunscreen:

This is great for everyday and when you are indoors most of the day.  They tend to be lighter and easy to apply with SPFs around 15 and 20.  You will need additional SPF if you plan to spend time outside.

Mineral/Physical Blocks:

These contain zinc or titanium and are perfect for sensitive skin.  They sit on top of the skin and act as a blocker with little to no irritation.  These are especially great if you have melasma.

Sweat/Water Resistant:

The FDA no longer allows the terms “waterproof” or “sweat-proof”.  So you will find only “water-resistant” on the label.  These are made to stay on the skin if you are wet or sweaty – but know that they still have to be applied every 2 hours to be effective.  They are usually formulated with a bit more oil, silicones (like dimethacone), or a film polymer (like sodium polycrylate) to give them the staying power when water is involved.  Interestingly, a study came out recently that found water-resistant sunscreens were less effective in chlorinated pools than in salt water.  The chemicals in the chlorinated water can disintegrate the active ingredients.  Best to reapply after every swim session!


These are the BEST for reapplication.  You can leave one in your purse and reapply before that afternoon hike.


Yes.  They are required by the FDA to last about 3 years.  Check the label for an expiration date.  But realize that they can breakdown with heat.  If you have been leaving the sunscreen in your hot car all summer, it probably needs to be tossed.


Vitamin D is important for strong bones and a good immune system.  It’s fine to get some of your vit D from the sun’s UV radiation – but limit it and keep your face and chronically exposed areas out of the mix.  The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that you get your recommended daily 600 IU of vit D from food sources like fish and cereals or from supplements.


  • Apply at least 20 minutes before getting into the sun (the chemical ones take that long to absorb).
  • Reapply, reapply and reapply… every 2 hours and after chlorinated pool swims.
  • With sticks, you need to apply 4 passes to get effective protection – so rub that stuff all over!
  • If you have sensitive skin – stick to mineral sunscreens to avoid chemical irritation.
  • Keep sunscreen somewhere convenient – by the front door, in your gym bag or purse.  But avoid keeping in your car so that the heat doesn’t degrade the active ingredients.
  • Make sure to cover your lips – especially your lower lip because it is 12 times more likely to be affected by skin cancer.
  • By the way – I have heard some chatter from sunscreen skeptics and natural-types who feel you can skip sunscreen altogether and use more “natural” oils like coconut, raspberry seed and carrot seed.  But know that these only provide a small protection (about SPF 4) against UVB rays and no protection against UVA.  So best not to count on these when out playing in the sun.