I love trying out new beauty products.  For most of my life, I have had very few skin concerns.  I have always had relatively "normal" skin, meaning that I wasn't prone to breakouts, oiliness, dryness, etc.  The most I ever had to worry about maybe a little redness, which meant I was fortunate enough to bounce from product to product with little to no reaction from my skin.

Fast forward.

The summer after I turned 21, I was at my families lake cabin on the first day of our annual family reunion.  It was also the first summer after I had moved to Montana, and it was the first time I had been back home in a year.  It was gorgeous outside, and I was so busy catching up with everyone, that I was fairly negligent applying sunscreen.  I ended up with a mild sunburn on my forehead, keyword: mild.  I had had far worse sunburns in my life, and I didn't think much of it; threw some aloe on it and went to sleep.

You guys, I woke up the next morning, and my forehead had blown up.  Seriously, swollen like a balloon.

It took me awhile to figure out what had happened.  A bug bite maybe?  But, a trip to my dermatologist informed me that a change in my hormones over time had resulted in a sun allergy.  A sun allergy.  I was a 21-year-old girl, who basically lived on the water and I was now allergic to the sun. Awesome.

Along with my new allergy has come increased skin sensitivity, dryness, rashes, breakouts, etc.

The reason I tell you all of this is because, though I still love trying out new products, I am far more particular when it comes to skincare products.  I'm now to the point of obsession, especially during the warmer months when I know I will be outside more often.  So... these are my tips for choosing the very best products for your skin.

1. Know your skin type - Whether your skin is normal, dry, sensitive, oily, etc.  Could significantly impact how your skin interacts with the products.  Do some research ahead a time (or ask your dermatologist) to find out what qualities you should look for based on your skin type.

2. Have product diversity - There are thousands of products out there, and if they are effective, great!  There is actually no harm in using numerous products on your face if they are effective, in fact, I've spoken with several skin care specialists who recommend using a lot of products for a variety of different purposes, but there is no benefit if all of your products are all doing essentially the same thing.

3. Look for products that contain SPF -  SPF is crucial to maintaining healthy and youthful skin. Nearly everything that goes on my face has some level of SPF.  Layering SPF does mean protection, but contrary to popular belief, layering SPF products does not equal "total SPF." Meaning, if your daily moisturizer has SPF 10 and your sunscreen has SPF 30, your total coverage doesn't equal 40.  Rather you take the average of the SPF's in each product (in this case the total SPF would be 20).

4. Consider your lifestyle - Do you spend a lot of time in the sun?  Are you a smoker? Your lifestyle and daily habits can have a great impact on your skin and, therefore, affect the types of products you should be using.

5. Address your concerns - Do you hate the redness in your cheeks?  Do the circles under your eyes drive you insane? If yes, look for products that address these concerns! That may mean adding another product to your daily routine, but if it will make you feel better when you look in the mirror it's totally worth it!

What is your skin care routine?  Do you have skin care products that you can't live without?  Let me know in the comments!

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