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The best facial skin care routines for every age, broken down decade-by-decade

The best skin care routine for your 20s

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Twenty-something skin may still be suffering from acne, whether mild or severe. However, this is also when beauty concerns start to arise. While taking care to control outbreaks, you’ll also want to start focusing on hydration, moisture and exfoliation. These are basic habits that will continue to pay off in your later years.

See more on our blog: Dry skin, dehydrated skin and transepidermal water loss (TEWL): what are they and how do they change your skin?

Hydration in your 20s

Hydrating with a topical ingredient like hyaluronic acid can help to prevent excess dryness. Glycerin, Squalane (not the same as Squalene), lactic acid, glycolic acid, panthenol plus cetyl and stearyl alcohol can also be hydrating. This group of ingredients are classified as humectants, because they attract water in the skin.

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Moisturization in your 20s

After using beneficial ingredients to hydrate your skin, you’ll want to lock it in with a moisturizer. Yes, that’s right: hydrators and moisturizers are not the same thing (though these terms can be used interchangeably). Moisturizers go on top of hydrators, to prevent water loss. Or, they are mixed into the same product with hydrators. They are very important to the function of hydrators.

An important label to look for on your skincare products is the word “non-comedogenic.” This means that the product won’t clog your pores. If you opt for oil-free moisturizers, you can avoid the clogging effects that may lead to acne.

Moisturizers are referred to as occlusives in skin care products. Common occlusives include petrolatum (like petroleum jelly), lanolin, dimethicone, silicone and many other oils. For example, when you buy pure argan oil in an eye-drop jar, that is meant to be used on top of your humectants, to seal them in, as an occlusive.

In your 20s, unless you have very dry skin, you will probably want a premixed solution that contains occlusive ingredients in an emulsification (usually containing humectants and emollients too). This can help reduce the leftover, ‘slippery’ feeling that oils can give you. They can also prevent pore-clogging by being properly blended with other ingredients, making them non-comedogenic, as noted above.

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Exfoliation in your 20s

In your 20s, exfoliation can be done once or twice a week, with a scrub or face mask. Many of the AHA and BHA acids you’d use to unclog your pores are also considered exfoliants. They are chemical exfoliants, as opposed to physical (or mechanical) exfoliants.

Physical exfoliants can be very harsh on the skin, so be careful with them. All those brushes and scratchy cloths can do more damage than good. An even worse culprit would be irregular-shaped face scrub ingredients. Stay away from those! They include crushed up seed pits, sugars, shells or rocks. They may feel good at first, but over time, they can lead to micro tears in your skin, causing it to break down and lose its function. You’ll be left with redness and patchy skin, which can be problematic later in life.

If you prefer a facial scrub for an exfoliant, opt for one where the ‘scrub’ part uses something with smooth edges. For example, jojoba beads. Then, be gentle when using it! Of course, be kind to the environment, and stay away from plastic microbeads.

You can also seek professional exfoliation on a monthly basis with treatments like HydraFacial™, carbon peels, microdermabrasion or chemical peels. These are especially useful for keeping acne under control.

Keep reading to “The best skin care routine for your 30s…”

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