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Your skin changes in your 20s, and there’s no denying it. With cell-turnover rates and collagen production slowing down, fine lines and small wrinkles begin to show, accompanied by discoloration and sun spots. Effects from years of unprotected sun exposure can also start to peek through in between those lingering acne spots. While this can be upsetting, there’s no need to panic—aging is a completely natural process and can even be charming, as wrinkles and sun spots can add character and create a visage of a well-lived life. Even so, it won’t hurt to start taking particular care of your skin in order to keep you from looking older than you are (or feel!). Without further ado, here are some skincare steps for your 20s!

1. The Basic Routine

A basic skincare routine, which many generally establish in their teen years, consists of a cleanser, a toner, and a moisturizer. A cleanser does just what the name states—it cleanses your skin from makeup and outside dirt/pollutants, which helps prevent blockage in pores. Toners are meant to balance the pH levels of your skin and also help with acne control, but nowadays come in many varieties to help with different concerns, such as dullness, dryness, and scarring. Many western toners tend to be alcohol-heavy and are overly drying, so Korean toners may be worth looking into. As for moisturizers, they’re meant to moisturize your skin and prevent dryness. For some, it may be a surprise to know that moisturizing can also prevent oiliness. This is because the skin, in recognizing that it is moisturized, no longer feels the need to overcompensate with oil. This basic routine is essential for taking care of the over health of the skin. If you haven’t yet established one, check out the links at the bottom of this article for some help! 

2. Exfoliation

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. Your skin sheds these cells naturally, but helping in this process can keep the skin healthier and fresher, as well as help in enhancing the effectiveness of other skincare products. This step becomes even more important as you get older due to the gradually slowing cell turnover rate which allows dead cells to stay on the surface of the skin for longer. You can choose to exfoliate with a physical exfoliator or a chemical one—the former uses abrasive physical materials whereas the latter often uses AHA, BHA, or PHA (cleansing acids) to deeply cleanse the skin. Personally, I believe chemical exfoliators may be a better choice as they can be gentler on the skin and even more eco-friendly, as many physical exfoliators (in contrast) can contain sharp beads that create micro-cuts in the skin as well as contain plastics that get washed down the drain. 

3. Vitamin C Serum

When it comes to aging, prevention is always the best and easiest option. Serums, which are like nutrient boosts for the skin, can help with various particular skin issues. A vitamin C serum, in particular, seems to be a constant for many 20-something year old skincare routines, as it can help prevent wrinkles, lighten hyperpigmentation, even out your skin tone, and it’s often gentle enough even for sensitive skin (even so, it’s always a good idea to do a test spot for any new product as a safety precaution). 

4. SPF

Speaking of prevention, one of the biggest factors in aging is sun exposure. We all know that prolonged and unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays can result in skin cancer, but it may come as a surprise to some that the sun breaks down collagen and elastin fibers which promotes premature aging. And here my parents tried to convince me the sun was good for me! In order to protect yourself, it’s necessary to wear some form of SPF every day (SPF 30 is usually a safe bet). I find that a lot of affordable western SPF products are greasy and unpleasant—if that’s been your experience too, not to worry! Check out some Korean products on Amazon. The ones I’ve tried, namely MISSHA’s Essence Sun Milk, are very light and comfortable.

5. Be Gentle

Tugging and rubbing your skin when you’re washing your face, drying your face, or doing anything else to your face can break capillaries, irritate your skin, and cause wrinkles. It’s best to lightly lather in a cleanser, pat dry with a towel, and dab in skincare/makeup. 

In conclusion, the biggest thing to note, with any skincare routine, is that everyone is different. It’s important to do some research and keep your own skin type and skin conditions in mind. While this article provides a general overview of steps to incorporate in preventing premature aging, there are other things you may be more concerned about, such as acne, scarring, or dullness. In which case, you should definitely still check out these steps, but also add in some things specific to your biggest concerns. Additionally, so much more research and information can be found on all of these steps. This plethora of information can be overwhelming, but there are some great skincare sources that deliver a lot of the information in easily digestible doses, such as James Welsh’s YouTube channel and Hyram’s YouTube channel. Additionally, when it comes to anti-aging and staying healthy, eating well and exercising are two of the most beneficial and unbeatable habits, so keep that in mind as well. Stay healthy and take care of your skin! Happy 20s!

Helpful links: 

* Skincare for beginners – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R7EGdTtTe4

* Building a skincare routine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpB0u6zze-0

* Moisturizing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEHEOGDzg_o

* Exfoliation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0grXSkUAvLY&t=185s

* Vitamin C serum – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z41TOKt-6us

* Protecting from UVA rays – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQO9pOYapnM

Anna Karch

UWindsor '20

Anna Karch studies English, French, and Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. In her spare time, Anna enjoys playing piano, journaling, and spending time with friends. As an avid reader and writer, she hopes to continue writing in the future.
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