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9 Ways Your Skincare Routine Should Change in Your 20s

Your late 20s can be a confusing time when it comes to your skin. You’re at the age where you can no longer drink a couple of margaritas and wake up fresh as a daisy the next day – yet you’re not exactly dressed in a nightie, listening to the oldies and applying eye cream either. (Although the last bit is definitely encouraged.)

You’re somewhere in between, which, as it turns out, is actually the perfect time to start making some necessary tweaks to your skincare routine. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these 9 tips straight from the skin experts themselves. Give them a try and you’ll be well on your way to great skin in your future!

1. Prioritize your skincare routine

Let’s face it: Your skin doesn’t bounce back the way it used to. If you were to pull an all-nighter now like you did in, say, your college days, chances are, it would show all over your face. 

This is why taking such good care of your skin needs to be a non-negotiable. And it all starts with taking the time to create a skincare routine and actually sticking to it.

After all, “your skin is the largest organ in your body. Therefore, you want to treat your skin health just like you would want to take care of your heart health, brain health or mental health,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, MD, Kleenex.

9 Ways Your Skincare Routine Should Change in Your 20s

2. Avoid products that are too over-drying

Once you’ve reached your late 20s, you might notice a few things: You’re tired ALL of the time, you’ve finally learned what a 401(k) is and cancelled plans are the best plans.

You might also notice that your skin has become less oily.

Because of this, Dr. Aimee Paik, Medical Director of Apostrophe, recommends staying away from skincare products that are drying. “I would avoid foaming cleansers and astringents and instead recommend gentler cleansers and richer moisturizers,” she says. 

3. Actually pay attention to what products you’re using

Just like skin doesn’t bounce back the same way it used to when you were younger, you also can’t just slather on whatever product you find (we promise skin in your late 20s isn’t all bad!). 

This all starts by giving your beauty shopping routine a major overhaul. Get label-obsessed. Pay attention to the products you’re using and whether they actually meet the needs of things like your skin type or concerns. At times, this may mean spending a little extra.

“For example, when selecting makeup, don’t use a ton of liquid or oil-based foundations because those can give you acne,” says Dr. Gohara. “Try to stick to CC creams and powder-based foundations.”

4. Refresh your cleansing routine

If you’ve been using the same cleanser since high school, it might be time to break up. That’s because, depending on the ingredients, there’s a chance your cleanser might not be meeting the needs of your adult skin.

What you should be using is a cleanser that is gentle, PH neutral and deposits moisture into the skin, says Dr. Gohara. When shopping, it should say “low PH,” “PH neutral” or “gentle” on the bottle.

9 Ways Your Skincare Routine Should Change in Your 20s

5. Use a retinoid

Your late 20s is the perfect time to start using a retinoid, explains Dr. Paik. This is especially true when you’re looking to keep up a youthful appearance.

Since everyone’s skin is different, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to retinoids, says Dr. Paik. “There are different strengths of retinol (a form of retinoid), so you’ll want to choose a strength that your skin can easily handle and use nightly.”

In addition to this, you might want to ease into using any sort of retinoid or retinol and only increase how often you’re using it per week once you see that your skin is reacting well.

spf lotion

6. Lather on sunscreen

“Ninety percent of what we consider skin aging is actually caused by sun damage,” says Dr. Paik. “Applying a facial sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is incredibly important to preserve your skin’s health ...”

So, make your future self proud by getting into the habit of sun protection now. Apply it before — or even during — your morning coffee. Whatever it takes.

If you’re still having trouble lathering up, sneak in SPF protection by using a moisturizer that contains SPF, says Dr. Paik. “A sunscreen with zinc oxide will provide the best protection against fine lines and hyperpigmentation.”

7. In addition to UV rays, protect your skin against pollutants

With there being so much talk about the dangers of UV rays, the risk of pollutants can fall by the wayside. And no surprise here: They’re not exactly facials for the skin.

To protect your skin from pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead, Dr. Gohara recommends taking an antioxidant every day. 

Her go-to is Vitamin C, but you can also eat your way to better skin health by eating your antioxidants. For this, add plenty of blueberries, kale, dark chocolate and pecans to your diet. It’s a delicious way to do some good for your skin.

glow collagen shot

8. Take your collagen

The body stops producing its own natural collagen — responsible for making the skin appear taut, firm and youthful — at around 25.

Instead of letting this fact get you down, take matters into your own hands by implementing Vital Proteins’ collagen products in your routine. There are so many different ways to do so. A few of our favorites include our Beauty Collagen™, Collagen Beauty Glow and Glow Collagen Shot, which contain beauty-loving ingredients.

9. Gently exfoliate your skin 

Skincare in your late 20s should be all about rejuvenation — as in, making the skin appear youthful again. To help get you there, Dr. Gohara says to gently exfoliate your skin at least once per week. However, the trick is to do it at night: “You lose about 50 million skin cells a day, so gently exfoliating your skin helps you get rid of those dead skin cells before your start applying other products to your skin.”

Remember to be as gentle as possible. This way, you’ll avoid the skin being stripped of its protective barrier, she explains to Lively.

With these simple tweaks, your skin in your 30s won’t know what hit it!

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