When you’re in your 20s, you’re probably starting to think about how you can step up your skincare routine. And the need to overhaul your routine is for good reason. For starters, you might be thinking that your acneic days are behind you, but unfortunately, that’s not the case: “Now more than ever, with the stressors of life, we are seeing more and more cases of adult acne — even in patients who never had acne before,” says Dr. Kenneth Mark, cosmetic dermatology expert. “The reality is, adult female acne tends to strike many in their mid-20s. This can be attributed to menstrual cycles regulating, starting or stopping birth control, and pregnancies,” adds Dr. Fatima Fahs, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dermy Doc Box.
Many other life changes happen during your 20s, like graduating and starting a new job in the real world, that can contribute to stress that affects your skin.
Studies show that collagen (which helps skin look and feel healthy and supple) production starts to diminish in your mid 20s, so this decade is also the prime time to start thinking about prevention in terms of aging, like wrinkles and lines. “The decisions we make in our 20s will impact how quickly our skin ‘ages’ later in life,” says Fahs.
But if you’re unsure of how to start taking better care of your skin, turn to these dermatologist-approved tips to revamp your routine. And if you’re already past yours 20s, don’t fret: It’s never too late to start treating your skin to TLC.
Incorporate an eye serum
“The eyelid skin is the thinnest of the entire body and also one under constant movement from eyelid muscles. It is often the first sign of aging when one hits their late 30s or early 40s,” says Mark. Yours 20s are the ideal time for preventing fine lines and discoloration. Start by nourishing the eye area with the new Sunday Riley 5 Stars Eye Serum. It strengthens and supports collagen production with retinoids and niacinamide, plus hydrates and soothes with Asiatic acid, madecassoside, and asiaticoside.
Find the best skincare routine for your skin type
Still using the same ol’ bar soap from your teens? It’s time to upgrade to a routine that’s tailored to the unique needs of your 20s. “Start the morning off with a brightening cleanser that includes exfoliating acids to assist in skin cell turnover and brightening. Use a high-quality vitamin C serum as an antioxidant to protect your skin against environmental pollutants, oxidative damage, hyperpigmentation, and boost the efficacy of your sunscreen. Use a face moisturizer that contains niacinamide to assist in brightening, reducing redness and locking in hydration,” says Fahs.
Always top off your a.m. routine with sunscreen
Let’s hone in a little more about that SPF: Even if you’re mostly working from home at your computer, UV light can still penetrate through a window. “Daily use of sunscreen will not only protect you from developing skin cancer later on, but it will also work to preserve your collagen. Our collagen begins to rapidly plummet in our 30s and on. We see this on our face in the form of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Wearing sunscreen daily will slow this process down,” says Fahs.
Properly cleanse off the day
Gone are the days we relied on a makeup wipe at our bedside table to do the job of “cleansing” our face. “Don’t be lazy about removing your makeup at night before going to bed. Use a double cleanse routine or incorporate micellar water to gently but effectively remove makeup on the face and around the eyes. Pat your skin dry and incorporate a retinol into your routine at night. This will help with brightening the skin, improving skin texture, reducing the appearance of pores and also boosting your body’s collagen production. End your routine with a rich moisturizer that contains ceramides to restore your skin barrier overnight. Don’t forget to hydrate your lips and around the eyes, for a refreshed and smooth look by the morning,” says Fahs.
Get serious about exfoliation
Though physical exfoliators (a.k.a. scrubs) were compelling to use as a teen thanks to the squeaky-clean feeling you get afterwards, it’s easy to overdo. “On nights you aren’t using a retinol [as it might be too irritating for a new routine], use a chemical acid to smooth your skin and lift any dullness,” says Fahs. An alpha-hydroxy acid like glycolic or lactic sloughs off dead cells sitting on top of your skin. A beta-hydroxy acid like salicylic gets underneath the skin’s surface to scoop out clogged pores and treat breakouts.
Commit to a healthier lifestyle
A bag of chips and cold pizza might have felt like an acceptable go-to during late-night study sessions in college, but as you graduate from school, it’s also time to graduate to a healthier lifestyle. “That involves eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding high glycemic index foods, not smoking, and keeping a basic skin care routine will have your 30-, 40-, and 50-year-old self thanking you,” says Fahs.
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