Skincare Experts Share What We Need To Do In Our Twenties To Retain Radiant-Looking Skin

Ah yes, the 20s can be a confusing phase in life—trust me, I’m in my mid-20s and I know. On one hand, we are starting to get acquainted with the thing that’s called “adulthood”, while on the other, we may have some struggle juggling with our new-found responsibilities. All these, plus the stress that would soon follow, are likely to derail you from effectively caring for your skin (or prevent you from carrying out your skincare regime).

Photo by Helena Lopes on

But little do we know that being in the 20s is a great phase in life to start nurturing better skin in the years to come. An effective skincare routine, which comprises both preventive and basic treatment, can go a long way. After all, research has shown that our skin’s two structural protein, collagen and elastin (both of which work together to keep our skin supple, tight and elastic), start to decrease with age. If anything, here’s the truth you need to know:

Your skin will not look as radiant as it is right now.

Well, not if you start taking proactive steps to care for it. Speaking to hoolah, Desiree Stordahl Sr. Research and Education Manager from Paula’s Choice Skincare shared some tips you can start doing in your 20s to retain healthier, glowing skin.   

Don’t Skimp on Sunscreen

New York Times Cara Phillips
UV portraits by photographer Cara Phillips for The New York Times.

This should be the top commandment for everyone. We are constantly exposed to UVA and UVB rays and such constant exposure will yield detrimental effects in the long run.

Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen Skincare, Paula's Choice
Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen (Purchase here)

The idea behind applying sunscreen is to prevent (and delay) premature signs of aging from the constant exposure from the sun. “Even if you are indoors all day, you should apply sunscreen to protect skin from the harmful UVA rays that can penetrate glass windows,” says Stordahl.  

Related Article: How to Prep Your Skin For Phase 2 – A Skincare Routine Breakdown

Consider Double Cleansing

Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser, Skincare, Paula's Choice
Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser (Purchase here)

Double cleansing is a rather effective and thorough method of cleansing your face. First, you cleanse with an oil-based cleanser (or makeup remover) which removes all the dirt and makeup impurities—including those from your sunscreen! Then you proceed to cleanse the skin with a normal cleanser, which leaves you with a cleaner and refreshing surface. 

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate (with exfoliating acids)!

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Skincare, Paula's Choice
Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (Purchase here)

Many skincare experts and dermatologists have warned of using facial scrubs to exfoliate the skin. The reason being, jagged exfoliant particles are more likely to cause “wear and tear” on the skin’s surface, which may lead to unintended outbreaks. The use of exfoliating acids, such as AHA and BHA, is said to be a gentler and more effective mode of exfoliating.

“For beginners who are new to using AHA or BHA, we recommend starting with a moderate strength before jumping up to higher concentrations. For AHAs 5-8% is a good place to start. For BHA, go with a 2% concentration,” explains Stordahl.

Clinical 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant Skincare, Paula's Choice
Clinical 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant (Purchase here)

“AHA is best for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin, as it softens and smooths skin by exfoliating the dead cells on the surface of your skin. BHA is the preferred method for those with oily/combination skin or anyone prone to breakouts or clogged pores. BHA is oil-soluble meaning it can penetrate pores to unclog impurities, like blackheads and acne-causing substances.”

Pick Non-alcoholic Toners

Advanced Replenishing Toner Skincare, Paula's Choice
Advanced Replenishing Toner (Purchase here)

While toners are meant to replenish vital substances after cleansing (while mattifying and balancing the pH of your skin at the same time), alcoholic toners can do more harm than good. Known to evaporate moisture from the skin, toners with high alcoholic content can leave your face with imbalanced sebum production and dryness. Which is why those with sensitive or very dry skin should avoid alcoholic toners.

Start Using Retinol (Vitamin A)

Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, Skincare, Paula's Choice
Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment (Purchase here)

Being in your 20s is the perfect time to start learning about and applying preventive treatment for your skin. Signs of aging often surface silently and we would not know until someone points it out or when we have a shock from looking at our reflection from the mirror. The age-old adage “Prevention is better that cure” thus makes plenty of sense here.

Vitamin A is known to stimulate fibroblast (otherwise, simply known as collagen) on the skin. It comes in various forms on skincare products, with names the run the gamut from retinol, retinal to retinoic acid. 

Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol Skincare, Paula's Choice
Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol (Purchase here)

“Depending on the severity of your skin concerns, you can start with small concentration of retinol in your twenties (as low as 0.01% to 0.03% concentration) or jump in with a moderate strength (0.04%-0.2%) if you’re dealing with stubborn concerns such as uneven skin tone or the onset of fine lines. Lower strength retinol can be used daily, whereas with moderate strength retinol you’ll need to experiment with two-to-three times per week and increase frequency depending on skin’s response,” explains Stordahl.

“As you grow older, you can consider swapping for a product with a stronger concentration.”

Related Article: How To Improve Your Skincare Routine During Self Isolation

Empower Your Anti-Aging Regime with Vitamin C

C15 Super Booster, Skincare, Paula's Choice
C15 Super Booster (Purchase here)

If you have reached this far in the article, give yourself a pat on your shoulder. We have, in fact, started elaborating on the holy grails of anti-aging—which are sunscreen and retinol (vitamin A). The next step is Vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Beyond evening out dull skin tones, applying Vitamin C topically on the skin can help combat against free radical damage as well as soothing inflammation. More importantly, it also helps stimulate collagen production too.

Getting your dosage of Vitamin C from some fruits, such as oranges, may be beneficial for your skin too! Photo by cottonbro on

“Vitamin C works great whether you’re 25 or 65 to help skin look healthy vibrant. In addition to its skin-brightening abilities, research also shows vitamin C helps offset the impact of environmental stressors and issues that we associate with aging, like wrinkles. Vitamin C’s capacity to address issues before, during, and after they occur make it an incredibly effective ingredient—and the sooner you incorporate it into your skincare regime, the better,” says Stordahl.

Ditch Skincare Packaged in a Jar

According to Stordahl, “Key ingredients such as antioxidants break down in the presence of air and light, so the second you unscrew the lid to an anti-aging cream that comes in a jar, you’re letting those good ingredients go to waste. Not to mention dipping your fingers into formula transfers bacteria.”

Diet & Sleep Matters

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

The food you eat has as an impact on how you look too. We have previously emphasized that your body’s collagen production starts to slow down as soon as you turn to the mid-20s. This means, the impacts of unhealthy eating habits or lifestyle will likely make a mark on your face (and body). Pursuing a balanced diet with plenty of healthy fats (from fish and nuts), fibre (from leafy greens), and water can go a long way.

Super Hydrate Overnight Mask, Paula's Choice, Skincare
Super Hydrate Overnight Mask (Purchase here)

Another factor is the sleep debt that starts accumulating in your 20s. We are no experts but it is no brainer to allow your body to rest and recover. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of beauty sleep every night and before you do, lather on a moisturizing sleeping mask (as an additional step to your skincare routine) too!

Related Article: Today is World Sleep Day, Are You Sleeping Enough?

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