Focus On: 20s Skin

I’m right in the thick of my 20s. I gotta tell you folks, I really thought my skin would have gotten its, ahem, “stuff” together by now. I still break out, I still have blackheads, I still have oily skin and rough patches. Granted, my career field makes it easier for me to address these problems, but it doesn’t make them any less irritating when they crop up. So what’s the advice I’m giving myself?

Switch it up.

If you’re struggling with a breakout, start by reconsidering your acne-fighting ingredients. Salicylic doesn’t do it for your skin? Try benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur, or colloidal silver. If you’re struggling with dry patches, start by reevaluating your moisturizer. Still stuck on an oil-free kick, leftover from your younger days? You may need something richer. Don’t worry about playing around, because your skin is still young enough to bounce back from a potential misstep, but mature enough that once you find your sweet-spot ingredients, you’ll get some good use out of your products until your skin changes seriously again.

Anti-aging starts now.

Ideally, you’ve been using quality skincare for several years by this point, but even if you’ve been lax, now’s the time to switch it up and start integrating anti-aging ingredients into your regimen. You need sunscreen. You should have a Vitamin C. You should have some kind of nighttime treatment. As I’m sure you read in Angela’s section of our Meet the Staff feature, “In your 20s, you have the skin you were born with, in your 50s, you have the skin you deserve. Deserve good skin….”

Exfoliation should be your jam.

You don’t have to get crazy. (I get crazy.) No need to scrub and do peels and masques and pile on the retinol afterward. I mean, ideally, you’ll still have a face after you exfoliate. If you’re not currently exfoliating, though, your super cool new anti-aging products from number two can’t penetrate and do what they’re supposed to do. Also, if you’re into enzymatic exfoliation (as opposed to a scrub), you will get the extra benefit of increased cell turnover, meaning your products will help your skin produce and shed cells more readily, leaving you with smoother skin for the long haul.

You must wash your face. You MUST wash your face. You must wash your face.

Lots of people slack off on the face washing front. It’s easy to say, “Your face is the windshield of your body!” but harder to really hammer home the point of what that means. Let’s go through a day: You cleanse in the shower, put on your skincare and makeup (that makeup will last all day), and get ready for the day ahead. You spray your hair back (the droplets land on your face). You eat your cereal and a dribble of milk drips down your chin (the milk residue is still there). You kiss your dog or cat’s soft little head on your way out the door (when was the last time they got a bath? That’s on your face, too.). Your head falls against the Metro window when you accidentally fall asleep on your way to work (someone else’s face oils are now on your face). You run a frustrated hand over your forehead when the printer toner cartridge just. won’t. fit, darn it (did you wash your hands right before you touched your forehead? No? That’s still there, too.). People don’t realize how much gunk comes in contact with their skin throughout the day. But trust me, it’s a lot, and if you’re washing your face, it needs to be washed at night, as well as in the morning.


What’s the best skincare advice you received for your 20s skin? Let us know in the comments below! #askingforafriend


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