The skincare routine you have in your 20s could have a big impact on how your skin looks in the future. Research suggests that the ageing process in the skin starts around 25, thanks to the gradual depletion of certain proteins. “Collagen is the main structural protein in your skin, which gives it support and strength, and levels start to fall by 1% every year after your mid-twenties,” says consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto. Other key proteins also start to deplete at this age.
“Levels of hyaluronic acid, a key hydrator that skin cells retain water and elastin – responsible for skin’s flexibility – start to fall at the same rate as collagen.”Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, a medical and cosmetic doctor.
Acne: not just for teenagers. One study found that adult acne affects up to 50% of women in their twenties. This is down to hormonal fluctuations that are common in your twenties, explains Dr Jane Leonard, a GP and cosmetic doctor. “You start having surges in oestrogen and progesterone because the hormone prostaglandin is at its highest level of production.” Why? Regardless of how you feel about parenthood, your body is in its baby-making prime. These imbalances can spur on excess sebum production, which – when mixed with dead skin cells – can lead to acne.
Skincare Solution For Your 20s
This is a good time to carve out a routine that will support your skin in the years to come. Skincare expert Caroline Hirons recommends that a good eye make-up remover, cleanser and moisturiser should form the backbone of your routine; together, they’ll keep your skin healthy. You’ll also need to deploy an SPF, like stat.
Say hello to salicylic acid, a.k.a acne’s kryptonite. It’s oil-soluble, meaning it can infiltrate the pore lining to flush out dirt, dead cells and trapped sebum. Like an excellent plumber, this quickly restores oil flow out of the pore, so it’s less likely to get clogged with the debris that leads to acne, blackheads and whiteheads.
If breakouts are more persistent than the sales team at your local gym, cosmetic surgeon and skin doctor Dr. Jonquille Chantrey suggests retinol, a vitamin A derivative. “Retinol seeps into the skin and binds itself to skin cell receptors, encouraging them to make new skin cells that push up through the epidermis, making the dead cells fall away,” says Dr. Ukeleghe. Add retinol to your routine slowly, as it can cause irritation. And don’t forget the SPF.
Your Basic Skincare For Your 20s
Maintaining healthy skin later in life begins with a skin-type-specific cleanser, toner, serum, hydrating moisturizer, and broad-spectrum sunscreen. Below are some products you should be adding to your routine in your 20s.
Cleansers For Your 20s
The Ordinary Squalene Cleanser
Quick lesson: Squalene is an ingredient that helps increase hydration and also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with acne and eczema. This cleanser contains lipophilic esters that will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft. The formula is non-comedogenic and soap-free so it’s gentle enough for daily use.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
This one is for all those 20-somethings who have normal to dry skin. This cleanser has a gentle foaming gel action that deeply refreshes skin while removing excess oils, dirt, and make-up without disrupting the protective skin barrier. Sounds perfect.
Novexpert Milky Cleanser Hydro-Biotic
This cleanser contains omega 6 and 9 that help rebuild the skin’s lipid barrier, probiotics to strengthen the skin microbiota and magnesium to relax overexcited skin nerves. A nourishing start to the day.
Neutrogena Cleansing Water Gel Hydro Boost
Not dealing with major skin issues in your 20s? This one is an excellent option for general maintenance. A lightweight gel formula that activates with water to lather away dirt, oil and make-up impurities, while replenishing and nourishing your skin with a much-needed boost of vital hydration.
Eucerin DermoPurifyer Oil Control Cleanser
Got uneven skin tone, dark spots and an overall lack of radiance? Try this one out. This gel effectively yet gently eliminates excess sebum while removing dirt and make-up thanks to its soap-free formula with 6% ampho-tenside. It leaves the skin feeling clean, fresh and supple.
Toners For Your 20s
Dr Hauschka Clarifying Toner
Dark marks, pigmented skin, oily skin and scarring are no match for a toner. This clarifying toner is specially formulated to nourish oily or blemished skin. It balances excessive oiliness, soothes redness and irritation and minimises the appearance of blackheads and enlarged pores.
La Roche-Posay Physiological Thermal Spring Water
Don’t like to feel dry and tight when using a toner? Try this mist that also doubles as a face toner to protect skin while reducing sensitivity with its soothing antioxidant properties. It calms and treats sensitive, irritated or inflamed skin but can also be used to cool and refresh all skin types, especially in the height of summer.
African Extracts Rooibos Purifying Toner
This is a mild toner that has salicylic acid to reduce outbreaks of spots, Bio-Active Rooibos, witch-hazel and baobab extracts to leave your skin feeling calm and oil-free. We love us a locally made product.
Garnier Pure Active Pore Reducing Toner
Here’s a toner that contains salicylic acid and purifying zinc to clear away blemish-causing germs and reduce pore size. It also helps remove excess oils to leave skin looking beautifully matte. Here for this one.
Caudalie Vinoclean Moisturizing Toner
Next, you should use a toner that is made with 99% natural origin ingredients. Especially one that is alcohol-free and won’t leave your skin feeling dry. It contains natural organic rose water fragrance that makes make-up removal easy peasy.
Serums For Your 20s
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum
Serums are great in any skin routine. This one has a fresh aqua-gel texture that is non-sticky. In addition to being hydrating, it also helps address inflammation, commonly known as “inflamm-ageing”. This non-sensitising serum can be used post-aesthetic procedures. That means it’s super soothing.
Catrice Hydro Supercharged Serum
Yip, in your 20s you struggling with dehydration but in your late 20s, dullness joins the WhatsApp chat. Not with this serum though. It contains 5% niacinamide and 1% triple hyaluronic acid that will leave your face juicily moisturised for up to 48 hours.
NeoStrata Comprehensive Retinol 0.3% Night Serum
A synergistic retinol formula that helps improve fine lines, skin tone, and texture for a radiant-looking complexion. Suitable for most skin types with early ageing concerns. Ideal for introductory retinol users.
Sorbet Anti-Ageing Serum Collage
This serum contains 1% vegan collagen complex and salicylic acid to help firm and lift your skin. This is the perfect targeted anti-ageing serum.
African Extracts Rooibos Purifying Spot Treatment
Acne is common. But in your late 20s, it becomes more annoying and stubborn. This spot treatment is specially formulated with bio-active rooibos tea, baobab and tea tree oils to help soothe spots and reduce redness. Added salicylic acid and vitamin B3 help to fight spot-causing germs, unclog pores and get rid of spots fast.
Moisturisers For Your 20s
Clarins Hydra-Essentiel [HA²] Silky Cream SPF15
This cream, enriched with hyaluronic acid, organic leaf of life extract and organic edelweiss extract, intensely moisturises and plumps the skin, while protecting it from UV rays and free radicals.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
A cooling and refreshing gel-cream that helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance for a shine-free and healthy-looking complexion. Suitable for normal to oily skin types.
MAC Mineralize Charged Water Moisture Gel
On the hunt for an ultra-light, gel-like cream that absorbs instantly to give skin hydration? This moisturiser is Infused with super-duo charged water technology, this formula leaves skin more supple and luminous.
Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream
If your skin is thirsty for some serious hydration, look no further than this one. This skin smoothing cream is a medium-weight moisturiser with 48-hour hydration. Features a state-of-the-art complex that works on a molecular level to help reduce trans-epidermal water-loss and infuse skin with 48 hours of vital moisture.
Skin Republic Salicylic Acid 2% Moisturiser
This is skin-perfecting goodness in a bottle. This moisturiser is clinically proven to clear pimples in 4 weeks with visible results starting after one day.
SPFs For Your 20s
Heliocare Gel SPF 50 (Oil-Free)
This sunscreen offers photo-immunoprotection against UVB/UVA radiation while enhancing skin immunity. The natural antioxidants help to protect the skin from free radical activity. Love this all-round protection.
WBEAUTY Sun Protection Complete Shield SPF50
A lightweight, daily SPF 50+ sunscreen that hydrates and soothes skin with an invisible finish, plus it is hypoallergenic, and dermatologist tested.
Island Tribe SPF50 Anti Ageing Face Cream
It’s never too late to start taking care of your inevitably ageing skin. This SPF 50 Face cream contains collagen to help with fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also developed for sensitive skin types, it can be used as an everyday face cream, and as protection against hyperpigmentation caused by the sun.
Everysun Anti-age Face Sunscreen SPF50
’Screens that leave a greasy film on the skin are huge no-no. That’s why this formula is so perfect for every day. It’s a lightweight and non-greasy sunscreen that offers high UV protection and is also water-resistant.
Demelan SPF50 Sunscreen Lotion
A little goes a long way with this sunscreen that is an non-irritant, non-greasy, water resistant SPF providing broad spectrum protection.