Congratulations on making it out of the acne stage! From here on out, it’s just about having perfect skin.
Riiiiight. These days most of us are finding breakout issues lasting well into the adult years, ceasing only when the wrinkles start setting in. There's hope, though. Here’s what you need to do to get your skin into a good place during your 20's:
Have a Daily Defense
Yep, the odd spot still pops up…. Quite frequently. The trick is to add acne-fighting ingredients into your daily products. “Use a gentle gel cleanser that contains ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acids to exfoliate and destroy acne-causing bacteria,” says esthetician Renee Rouleau, who works in Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles. “Make it sulfate free so it won’t over-dry the skin.”
Start Up With An Eye Cream
Eye creams are a controversial product; some experts say you need one, some say you don’t. Rouleau advises using a lightweight eye cream as early as age 20. “Since the eye area is the first to show the signs of aging and gets a lot of wear and tear from smiling and squinting, it’s important to give this area some TLC.” NYC-based dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek says that a lot of eye creams have similar ingredients to what you should already be putting on your face, but if you start noticing dark circles, it can be beneficial to start using a brightening eye cream in your early 20’s.
The sun kind. “The most important thing you can do to prevent premature aging is to use sunscreen every day,” says Dr. Chwalek. “Using products that have sunscreen in them, like your moisturizer or foundation, is fine for going to and from work, but if you are going to be outside, you should be wearing an SPF 30 or above.”
Go Easy on Exfoliation
Rouleau says that cells reproduce easily on their own in your 20’s, yet most anti-aging products focus on stimulating cell turnover by exfoliation. “Many people will use serums, scrubs and cleanser that are too aggressive, damaging the skin’s barrier function, resulting in irritation,” she says. Plus, “add in a twice daily use of a electronic cleansing brush, and your skin will definitely be over-exfoliated.” She advises waiting until your cell regeneration slows down in your 30’s and beyond before increasing exfoliation. Right now? Twice a week is sufficient.
Stop Applying Serums
“A serum can dramatically increase how you skin looks and behaves, but those in their 20’s and younger need to be careful with them,” Rouleau says. “Many serums have active ingredients in them that are designed to increase the metabolism of cells.” Sounds good, right? Rouleau says that they can be too active for younger skin and those prone to breakouts because young skin already has an active metabolism.
Load up on Antioxidants Instead
You shouldn’t need to worry about wrinkles yet, but this time is all about prevention. “Antioxidants like vitamin C help to prevent the breakdown in collagen over time that causes wrinkles,” Dr Chwalek explains. “Retin-A is another great ingredients to use because it deals with acne breakouts as well preventing fine lines over time.”
Change Your Lifestyle
Ultimately the quality of your skin is not so much about what you are putting on your face as how you are taking care of it. “Our lifestyle factors will affect skin appearance over time: not getting enough sleep, smoking, or not eating well,” says Dr. Chwalek. “At this age there’s also a greater tendency to go to bed with your makeup on. So making sure you are washing your face every night to remove makeup so it doesn’t clog pores is really important.”