Skincare in our 20s should be centred around prevention and creating good habits with a few simple and well-placed products to support the skin for optimal health. Often leaving your teens behind and moving into the chapter of adult skin is when we see the complexion begin to balance itself out and become more stable, however common concerns experienced in adolescence like excess oil and acne can carry over into early adulthood, or even begin for the first time.
The significant lifestyle changes that take place during our 20s – such as changes in living environment, diet, sleep, exercise and stress levels – all affect our skin. Your 20s is a time for learning about who you are, and this extends to finding out more about your skin type; what it needs and what it responds best to. Adding in a few more targeted products is essential to support the skin throughout this decade and will make a huge difference to the complexion for years to come. In saying that, be careful not to overdo it, the key is to keep things simple and purposeful. Your skincare routine should rest on gentle, nourishing formulations that don’t compromise the skin’s natural barrier.
A basic 20s skincare routine
In the morning
Step 1: Cleanse
Use a gentle and calming cleanser that’s suited to your skin type to remove any sweat and oils produced throughout the night and prep the skin for the products that follow.
Step 2: Antioxidant Serum
Everyone in their 20s can benefit from incorporating an antioxidant serum into their morning routine. I recommend using a product with Vitamin C as your antioxidant serum, it’s a true powerhouse ingredient that will help fight free radicals and when paired with SPF it helps to combat sun damage. Vitamin C is also a melanin inhibitor which means it works to brighten the skin for a more even and radiant complexion. It’s important to invest in a good quality formulation when it comes to serums as they aren’t all created equal, so do your research and select a Vitamin C specifically formulated for your skin type.
Step 3: Moisturise
Supporting the skin’s barrier by ensuring the skin is sufficiently moisturised is crucial for those in their 20s, as this helps to prevent inflammation and dehydration. Moisturising is vital for every skin! Don’t skip this step even if you’re prone to blemishes or have an oily complexion, just make sure you are selecting a formulation that is suitable for your individual skin type, such as a lightweight gel moisturiser for oily complexions or those with acne-prone skin.
Step 4: Sunscreen
By starting the practice of wearing a broad-spectrum SPF50+ daily in our 20s, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble (and expensive treatments!) later down the track. Sun damage is cumulative, so taking this preventative approach early on is only a good thing.
In the evening
Step 1: Double Cleanse
Double cleansing is vital to ensure all the dirt, grime and impurities built up throughout the day are gently removed from the skin. For the first cleanse I recommend using an oil or balm to really break down and remove make-up and SPF, and for the second cleanse go in with a targeted cleanser suited to your skin type to deep clean the pores. After late nights, it can be tempting to go to sleep without removing your makeup (we’ve all been there) but I can’t emphasise how important this is in attaining a clear complexion.
Step 2: Treatment-based serum
For those in your early 20s look for a hydrating or corrective serum with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. For those with an oily, congested complexion an AHA or BHA serum can help to unclog pores and even skin tone and texture. For those approaching the end of the decade, a low-dose retinol can be slowly incorporated into your evening regime before becoming a mainstay of your 30s routine.
Step 3: Eye Cream
From 25, you can add in an eye cream or serum to nourish the delicate eye area and prevent signs of dehydration and ageing.
Step 4: Night cream
A night cream will not only moisturise and hydrate your skin it will also seal in all the products applied prior. A night cream is typically a thicker version of your morning moisturiser, however, if you like you can simply use your daytime moisturiser again in the evening.
Step 5: Face Oil (optional)
Face oils are a great way to add an extra dose of antioxidants, vitamins and skin-boosting ingredients into your skin, they can also be used to give yourself a lymphatic drainage facial massage. Apply either neat onto the skin or add a few drops into your night cream to boost its lipid content. A face oil should be tailored to your skin type so select a product formulated with your unique complexion in mind.
Weekly add ons
Incorporating a product containing a gentle chemical exfoliator such as glycolic or salicylic acid into your routine two to three times a week will assist with cell turnover and can help to shift those last traces of adolescent acne and prevent adult acne from forming. I suggest using your exfoliant in the evening and always incorporate a broad spectrum of at least SPF 50+ during the day as chemical exfoliants can make the skin photosensitive and more prone to sunburn.
Using a face mask a few times a week in your 20s is a great way to provide the skin with some additional antioxidants, nutrients and minerals. Find a mask tailored to your skin concerns that is a pleasure to use. Masking can also be a relaxing and sensorial experience that really helps to unwind after a long day.