Dermatologist-recommended skin care for your 20s

  1. Use these two skincare products every day: To keep your skin looking its best, dermatologists recommend using these two skincare products every day:

    • mild cleanser: When choosing cleanser, please choose one according to your skin type. “For example, if you have acne-prone skin, use a gentle oil-free cleanser,” says Dr. Katta. Dry skin works better with a moisturizing cleanser.

      To get the best out of your cleanser, wash your face twice a day – when you wake up and before bed. Wash your hands after sweating too.

    • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum, and water-resistant): Anytime you plan to go outside during the day, even for a walk or drive to work, your skin is being exposed to harmful sun rays.

      Protect your skin if you will be going out during the day. Apply sunscreen to your face and any skin that cannot be covered by clothing, 15 minutes before going outside. Be sure to wear sunscreen after other skin care products—and under makeup.

      Just like your cleanser, you need to use a sunscreen that’s right for your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for products that say “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores.” Women with darker skin tones may need to use a tinted sunscreen. Most tinted sunscreens won’t leave white marks on your skin.

  2. Add skincare products that address your major skin concerns: “Women’s skin care concerns can vary greatly in our 20s,” says Dr. Katta. While some women have acne-prone skin, others notice fine lines and other signs of aging. Dark spots can be a top concern for some people.

    The best way to address your concerns is to use skincare products with science-backed ingredients, says board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Baxt, FAAD, MD. She recommends the following ingredients:

    • Vitamin C Serum or Cream: Science shows that this ingredient can reduce skin aging and dark spots.

      As with other skin care products, you need to use products formulated for your concerns and skin type.

      When to Apply Vitamin C: Dr. Baxt tells her patients, “Use it in the morning after washing your face and before applying sunscreen.”

    • Retinoids: The term “retinoids” is a collective term for a range of vitamin A products used on the skin. Treats mild lines and wrinkles, acne and dark spots. It also improves skin texture.

      If you want to treat uneven skin tone, dark spots, or skin texture, look for the word “retinol.” It is a retinoid used for these purposes.

      Retinol keeps your skin looking younger by speeding up the turnover of new skin cells, which starts to slow down in your 20s.

      To treat acne, a dermatologist will prescribe one of these retinoids — adapalene, tazarotene, tretinoin, or trefarotene. You can also find adapalene in over-the-counter acne products.

      When applied to acne-prone skin, retinoids work to unclog pores. This leaves your skin clearer and allows other acne gels and creams to work better.

      When to use tretinoin: Dr. Baxt recommends using retinoids at bedtime. After washing your face, wait 20 to 30 minutes before applying.

      If you find that the retinoids are too drying, apply moisturizer immediately after washing your face, and use a moisturizer that won’t clog pores. Then apply retinoids 20 to 30 minutes later.

  3. Make your skincare routine Adaptable, Consistent and Tailored (ACT). To help her patients remember this, Dr. Katta tells them to incorporate ACT into their skin care. that’s why.

    “For a skincare routine to meet your needs, it has to be adjustable,” says Dr. Katta. For example, you may need to use moisturizer in winter when the air is dry. As the years pass, you also need to adjust your skin care. If you choose a product that irritates your skin, you’ll want to stop using it immediately.

    Consistency is also key when creating a skincare routine. Unless a skincare product is irritating your skin, you need to keep using it. It takes at least 30 days to know if it worked.

    With so many skincare trends and products to choose from, it can be difficult to follow a routine. The results you see on social media may entice you to add another product or two. This is understandable.

    Keep this fact in mind when the temptation to try a new product or routine strikes. To get results, you need to use the product consistently. It takes time to see results.

    If you try new skincare products too often, you may not see any progress. In fact, all you may need to show is skin irritation.

    As mentioned above, you also want to create a skincare routine that suits your needs.

    your dermatologist knows banner image

    What can women in their 20s do to keep their skin youthful?

    Headshot of Rebecca Baxt, MD, board-certified dermatologist, FAAD

    Protect your skin from the sun! Wear sunglasses and a hat, a wide-brimmed hat works best. Seek shade. Your future self will thank you!

    ─ Rebecca Baxt, MD, FAAD

    Headshot of Rajani Katta, MD, board-certified dermatologist, FAAD

    Wear big sunglasses! Large lenses help protect the delicate skin around the eyes, preventing the fine lines that many people start to see in their 30s.

    ─ Rajani Katta, MD, FAAD

  4. Create healthy habits to keep your skin looking its best. PhD. Baxt and Katta stress that keeping your skin looking its best requires more than just a skincare routine. Here are the key skin-healthy habits they recommend:

    • Stop tanning. “A tan is 100 percent bad for your skin and your health,” says Dr. Baxter. Dermatologists tell their patients every day that it causes wrinkles, brown spots, and skin cancer. Dr. Baxt’s advice: “If you use a sunbed or any other indoor tanning equipment, stop immediately.”
    • Protect your skin from the sun. To protect your skin from the sun, the AAD recommends that you seek shade, wear clothing, and use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum protection, and water resistance. “

      Protecting your skin from the sun every day when you go outside is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking healthy.

      For most of us, a busy day can expose you to the sun’s harmful rays. “Without sun protection, you’re constantly damaging your skin through everyday activities like walking around your neighborhood, riding the train, and going to and from outdoor car parks,” Dr. Baxter said.

      “I see a lot of women in their 40s bemoaning the damage they did to their skin in their 20s because they didn’t protect their skin from the sun,” she added.

      Dr. Baxt has seen many women believe that cosmetics with SPF will protect them. To reap the benefits of SPF, you must use makeup with SPF 30 or higher. You also have to reapply your makeup every two hours.

    • Do not scrub skin. “Scrubbing often irritates your skin and makes it harder to tolerate a product that works,” says Dr. Baxt.
    • Make sure to remove makeup before going to bed. Wearing makeup while you sleep can age your skin faster and lead to breakouts.
    • Limit sugar. Dr. Katta tells her patients that sugar is an ingredient to limit.

      “The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that we consume no more than six teaspoons (about 25 grams) of sugar a day,” she says. That’s not a lot. “A cup of sweetened iced coffee can contain up to 15 teaspoons of sugar, while a can of ginger ale can contain more than 6 teaspoons,” she says.

  5. Be cautious about the skincare trends you see on social media. Some skincare trends you see on social media can do more harm than good.

    One skin problem that dermatologists often treat is damage from overuse of exfoliating products that people see on social media. Exfoliators are designed to remove the top layer of skin, leaving you with radiant skin.

    When overused, exfoliants can damage the protective layer called the skin barrier. A damaged skin barrier can make your skin rough and irritated. “You may have an allergic reaction to a product that didn’t cause a problem before,” says Dr. Katta.

    For helpful skincare advice, Dr. Katta recommends following board-certified dermatologists on social media.

    You’ll find plenty of advice from board-certified dermatologists on the American Academy of Dermatology’s social media platforms. To find us, type #AADskin into your browser’s search box.

  6. If you have a skin condition, see a dermatologist. “Anyone with a skin condition that affects quality of life, such as eczema or rosacea, should see a board-certified dermatologist,” Dr. Baxt says.

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