A college student with glowing skin working on her laptop

Dr. Pimple Popper’s Skincare Guide for College Students

You've got a glowing future — try these tips to keep you at the head of the class.


2 minute read

College is hard enough — the last thing you need to worry about is acne breakouts. Fortunately, keeping skin healthy and clear can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. To help you work smarter, not harder, we copied all the answers from our founder, dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD (better known as Dr. Pimple Popper).

DON'T be a slacker

We aren’t trying to be harsh, but sometimes you need a little tough love: that face isn’t gonna wash itself. The good news is that keeping your skin healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.

According to Dr. Lee, it only takes three simple skincare steps to get glowing: cleanse, treat, and moisturize. Her other clear-skin tips are to always remove your makeup before bed, and to wear sunscreen every day. To save time, she suggests having two lightweight moisturizers on hand: a nighttime one, and a daytime one with broad-spectrum sunscreen. Try: SLMD Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Dual Defender SPF 30, Facial Moisturizer.

If you’ve got chronic acne, a consistent skincare routine can make a huge difference, says Dr. Lee. She recommends a complete kit like SLMD Acne System and Sensitive Skin Acne System, which is just three steps, twice a day.

DO be prepared

No matter how type A you are with staying on top of your skincare routine, pimples are going to pop up. So keep a variety of spot treatments in your bathroom caddy to shrink them fast. Here’s what to use and when, according to Dr. Lee:

DO avoid all-nighters

We get it: this one’s a big ask. But as often as possible, get a good night's sleep. Not only will it show in your grades, it will show all over your face, too. That’s because night is prime time for your skin to regenerate and repair itself.

Even if you get home super late, wash your face and apply some moisturizer — especially if you’ve had any adult beverages. Alcohol dries out your skin, making it look dull, accelerating the aging process, and increasing redness (exactly what you don’t need if you’ve got acne).

To help skin rebound after a night out, try a face mask. Dr. Lee suggests her SLMD Clear Out Purifying Treatment Mask, which soothes skin and helps unclog pores, too.

Do your laundry

Trust us: you don’t want to know what’s hanging out on your dirty sheets and towels. All the oil, dirt, dead cells, and microscopic critters that get wiped all over your face and body skin can cause breakouts. So do yourself a favor and clean all of your linens (and that hoodie you’ve been sporting 24/7) on a weekly basis.

In between trips home to (have mom) do your wash, spritz your stuff with an acne treatment spray to combat bacteria. If you're experiencing some body acne, spray it on after you shower, or if you have to head straight to class after working out. Try: SLMD Salicylic Acid Body Spray.

Dr Sandra Lee

Dr. Lee's Last Word

I get it…college students have a lot going on, and skincare isn’t always at the top of the list. But it only takes a few steps, and maybe two minutes, to take care of your skin. Your future self will thank you!


Shop the Article