No one can deny that taking care of your skin in your 20s is one of the most important things you can do. What you do when you're young affects how you age, so it's important to start as early as possible, but if you don't seek out professional help, then you may not know everything there is that you could be doing to better or protect your skin. Bustle spoke with Dove's head dermatologist to find out what every 20-something should know about their skin to make sure you're doing everything you can for healthier skin in your future.
A wash-and-go routine might have worked when you were a teenager, but as you get into your 20s, you have to take skincare far more seriously. Skin cancer, hydration, and aging are real concerns, and there are plenty of things you can do to minimize any negative effects. If you haven't had the chance to speak with a professional about your skincare routine, no worries — Bustle's West Coast Fashion and Beauty Editor, Sara Tan, chatted with Dr. Mona Gohara at Create & Cultivate's LA conference on Saturday to find out exactly what it is you need to know about your skin in your 20s. Trust me, there are a lot of things on this list you've been missing, so take notes.
1. Beauty Should Be A Source Of Confidence, Not Anxiety
It's all too easy to stress out about beauty. You have a zit, your skin is oily, you're flaking — whatever it is, just relax. We all have imperfections, and you should feel confident about yourself rather than anxious. "Skin is your largest and most accessible organ. Everybody has their cross to bear when it comes to their skin and the good news is that it’s treatable and reversible, so it’s something that can change your sense of self-confidence and your sense of self," Gohara says.
2. There Is No Uni-Dimensional Approach
There isn't just one thing to do for better skin — it's three-pronged. "[Skincare is] three-dimensional. Sleeping is really important for your skin. Getting enough water is really important. Eating the right foods is key, which can be hard when you’re young and you’re out and you're partying," says Gohara.
3. 90 Percent Of Aging Comes From The Sun
Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid for Face; $29.99; amazon.com
"You should be wearing sunscreen every day, regardless of your skin color, regardless of the weather. Even if it’s a cloudy day. The minimum should be SPF 30 or higher," says Gohara. Sun is one of the most damaging things to young skin, so make sure to protect yourself.
4. Use An Antioxidant
Vitamin C Serum; $19.95; amazon.com
If you don't have an antioxidant in your skincare routine, it's time to add one. Gohara says, "It’s really important for young women to be using an antioxidant on a daily basis to fortify your skin against further ultraviolet damage. My favorite antioxidant is a vitamin C serum. They’re cosmetically elegant, they’re highly concentrated, they’re easy to layer under your makeup. The ideal thing would be to use the serum, put on the sunscreen, and then go on your merry way.”
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5. Wash Your Face Every Night
Don't skip washing your face at night — no matter how tired you are. "Not washing your face at night can create enlarged pores and acne," Gohara says.
6. Use A Retinol
Retinol Cream Moisturizer; $18.95; amazon.com
Since they're drying, not everyone can tolerate retinol, but if you can, absolutely use one. Gohara says, "you just need a pea-sized amount, once or twice a week, and it increases collagen production and decreases collagen breakdown."
7. It's Never Too Early To Start A Skincare Regimen
Think you're too young to start worrying about aging? Think again. "As far as I’m concerned, if you’re doing all this stuff with your skin when you’re in your 20s, it’s going to be so healthy, you’re really going to ward off the aging process when you’re older, as well as more important things like skin cancer," Gohara says.
8. Taking Care Of Your Skin Doesn't Have To Be Expensive
Dove White Beauty Bar, $1.27, target.com
Skincare doesn't have to be synonymous with high-maintenance or high-price. "There’s so many products, so many claims, so many things to know — and so I actually want people to bring it back to the basics and remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your skin look healthy and beautiful and young. If you stick to those basic tenets, it won’t be overwhelming. That’s really important, because people spend tons of money that you can get very reasonably and they do the exact same thing," Gohara says.
Images: Fotolia; Pexels; Amazon; Target; Isla Murray/Bustle; Mona Gohara; Create & Cultivate