15 Skincare Mistakes You're Probably Making In Your 20s, According To An Expert

In our teenage years, we can usually get away with not taking our makeup off before bed. But in our 20s, it can feel like we're supposed to magically know everything about beauty. In reality, our skincare mistakes can follow us from our teens into adulthood. As Oscar Wilde once noted, “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone."

Truth be told, it's fairly easy to fall into the trap of holding onto teen skincare routines during our 20s. However, acne prone, adolescent skin — and the accompanying hormones that go with it — usually calms down by the time we're all grown up, so it doesn't really make sense to stick to skincare that suits young faces as we age.

The same can be said for following a family member's skincare regime: You might have adopted the same practices as your mom or older sister — never mixing things up because you weren't sure how to put your own spin on it all. It's tricky not to get bogged down in this quagmire of sticking to what we know, especially when most of us aren't experts in the crazy fields of beauty and skincare.

With that in mind, I spoke to Vanda Serrador, Facialist and Body Care Expert at The Body Shop, regarding common skin mistakes people usually make in their 20s. Let's finally put an end to these bad habits.

1. Not Removing Makeup At The End Of The Day

Although this may seem like a golden rule, I'd bet my last dollar that we're all guilty of it, even in our 20s. Maybe you ended up falling asleep after an exhausting day, forgetting you had makeup on. Perhaps you were a little too tipsy to remember what happened at a party, let alone remember to take your makeup off.

However, Serrador explains via email what happens when we don't remove our makeup. Basically, we leave ourselves victim to a whole host of less-than-ideal side effects, including an accumulation of build-up that can lead to clogged pores, potential bacteria formulation, uneven skin texture, and gray skin tones. "This also stops the next products from working at the level that they would if they were applied directly on clean skin," Serrador adds. So take those extra few minutes each night to remove your makeup and leave your skin feeling fresh and ready for the next morning.

Try: Neutrogena Oil-Free Make Up Remover Pads, $6, Amazon

2. Not Using SPF Correctly

Serrador tells me that many 20-somethings are guilty of not applying SPF, not applying it as often as required, or not using the level of SPF needed. She warns, "This will result in premature aging, skin discoloration, and potential serious skin damage." If you're hoping for flawless skin well into old age, you'll want to take this advice and begin using SPF as it should be used.

Try: Beauty by Earth Natural Facial Sunscreen, $16.99, Amazon

3. Applying Makeup Directly To The Skin Without Moisturiser

When you're in a rush in the morning, cutting out a moisturizing step might give you a couple of extra minutes. However, if you want smooth and acne-free skin, you best reevaluate some things. "The formulation of makeup is not designed to be absorbed by the skin, but to sit on the surface of the skin," Serrador says. "Not moisturizing before will result in the uneven application of makeup and doing this regularly will clog the pores way deeper into the skin." By missing out your moisturizer, you're probably causing yourself a whole host of hassle later down the line.

Try: Skin Laundry Moisturizer, $25, Amazon

4. Exercising With Makeup On

We've likely all been there: You decide to go to the gym on the way home from work or after meeting up with friends, with a full face of makeup on. In fact, I'm sure many of us have seen girls at the gym who always wear makeup whenever they work out.

Serrador warns against exercising with makeup on, though. "This can potentially create an infection on the skin since toxins are released during exercise. Underneath your makeup, your pores will be breathing in toxins so skin must be free of makeup prior to any physical activity," she tells me. Pack some makeup remover in your bag, so you don't get caught without the next time you hit the gym or go for an impromptu run.

5. Not Exfoliating Or Over Exfoliating

"Over exfoliating can remove the natural oils of the skin, causing it to be too exposed to the elements and also weaken the skin’s natural protective barrier," Serrador explains. The key here is hitting the correct balance for your own skincare needs.

6. Using The Wrong Products For Your Skin Type

If you've reached your 20s and you still don't know what skin type you have, now would be a good time to find out. "Choosing the correct products without the knowledge of your true skin needs can be difficult and affect your skin in the long run," Serrador says. "For example, some oily skin types can actually be very dehydrated, lacking water." So make it your mission to find out your skin type and invest in the products designed to suit you best.

7. Not Understanding That Beautiful Skin Starts From The Inside Out

Whatever you put into your body is bound to create some results on your skin. If you eat lots of sugar or drink a ton of sugary drinks, for example, your skin is likely to suffer. Serrador tells me that there's a "lack of understanding of the importance of a balanced diet and its benefits on the skin," when we're in our 20s. But as Fitness Magazine noted, there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, teas, and even chocolates proven to benefit your complexion.

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8. Applying Too Much Product Or Not Following The Product's Instructions

I know what it's like when you get some new makeup or a new beauty product: You just can't wait to use it, so you crack open the seal and begin applying it ASAP. However, Serrador tells me that instructions are there for a reason.

"Not following the product instructions won’t allow you to get the full results of the product," she says. She adds that saturating or overloading the skin can lead to clogged pores, as well as uneven skin texture and tone.

9. Not Cleansing Thoroughly

If you don't cleanse your skin thoroughly enough, Serrador says that residues left on it can "turn into build-ups and bacteria on the surface of the skin, uneven skin tone and texture, [an] unhealthy skin look, and potentially lead to blemishes." Don't do half a job: Cleanse well to avoid skin issues later on.

10. Washing Too Often Or Over Cleansing

Although it's important to give your skin a good cleanse, make sure you don't over do it. "Interfering with your skin’s natural barrier by removing its protective oils [can lead] to that tight itchy skin feel [...] the pores find themselves more exposed to the elements," Serrador says.

11. Changing Products Too Quickly

Some companies advertise their products as the next beauty miracle on the market that will change your life forever. Sure, these products might work wonders, but you've got to give them time to do their thing. Serrador tells me that it's common for folks in their 20s not to wait the needed time for the results. Much like anything in life, "patience is a virtue" when it comes to awaiting desired results.

12. Picking Blemishes & Blackheads

I know it's super hard to leave a huge, yellow pimple alone, especially when you have something important in your calendar like an interview or a party. However, Serrador explains that picking blemishes and blackheads "can lead to the spread of infection causing skin inflammation, potential scarring, or pigmentation." You might want to just grin and bare it next time your skin is hit with a monster zit.

13. Not Appreciating Your Skin

Serrador informs me that folks in their 20s may have a "lack of appreciation for their skin." She describes this as not being mindful when taking care of the skin, and not taking the time to see what said skin might be saying about one's lifestyle or diet. This could include not having a regular sleep pattern.

14. Lack Of An Efficient Hygiene Routine

Serrador says that sharing makeup brushes, not having your own towel, and not washing your hands properly can all lead to cross infection. Ensure you've got these hygiene basics down before complaining about breakouts or poor skin.

Try: e.l.f Daily Brush Cleaner, $7, Amazon

15. Not Drinking Enough Water

Water is the liquid of life, after all, so if you're not getting enough of it, you could be harming your body in a number of ways. Serrador says that if you don't drink enough water, "Your organs will not detoxify efficiently," which in turn could lead to dehydrated-looking skin. Keep a bottle or glass of H2O with you throughout the day and make sure to refill it whenever it's empty, just to make sure you're giving your body and skin what they need to thrive.

You only get one face and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to repair skin damage. So ditch these skincare mistakes and give yourself some much needed TLC.

Images: Unsplash (3); huyhoang2001200220030, Lisy_, shabbysgd, kerdkanno, Foundry, ivabalk, Bessi, RyanMcGuire, kaboompics (2), saibo, JimmyDominico/Pixabay