PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to any skincare regime, is that prevention is always better than cure. It's far easier to look after your skin from the offset than try to rectify irreversible damage, so nobody is too young for a great regime. Don't wait until you see those deep-set wrinkles or pigmentation marks before you decide to change up from soap and water - do your utmost to look after your skin from day one and you'll thank yourself in the long run.
ESTABLISH A DAILY ROUTINE
Getting into the habit of looking after your skin is always the first step. Everybody should (at the bare minimum) be using an effective moisturiser both in the morning and evening, ensuring that you replenish any lost moisture and keep your skin lubricated. Get rid of those face wipes and invest in a great cleanser, thoroughly removing the build up at the end of the day, and start using a weekly face mask to target any specific concerns (be that hydration, dullness or soothing away irritation.) You don't have to spend a fortune, but do invest in the best skincare you can afford and don't think a £3.00 moisturiser will do the job you need it to.
NEVER COMPROMISE ON SPF
One of the biggest causes of ageing is sun exposure, so using a daily SPF is absolutely essential if you don't want to end up looking like an overcooked prune. Although many moisturisers and foundations now include a basic level of sun protection, it's always a good idea to top up with a lightweight SPF - even during the winter months. As a 20-something this is the most important piece of advice I can give you (and something I wish I was told sooner.) If you can delay or stop those signs of ageing by applying your SPF under makeup every day, why wouldn't you?
LISTEN TO YOUR SKIN
Rather than worrying about what you should and shouldn't do or be using, it's important to listen to your own skin and identify the areas of change; if you notice a textural difference over time, or the appearance of fine lines around your eyes, then it may be time to up your skincare regime and start reaching for the more hardworking ingredients. Don't be scared of using 'anti ageing' products or feeling like you're too young for them (the advice on when you should start using them differs depending on who you talk to anyway,) so instead give your skin what it's craving.
NEVER DO TOO MUCH
Overdoing it can be just as damaging (sometimes more so) than under-doing it, so be cautious and don't feel like you need 13 steps in a regime for it to be effective. Super rich creams that are designed for someone ten or twenty years your senior are not only a waste of money, but they could overload your skin and cause irritation; similarly, using too many exfoliators or acid toners can cause your skin to overcompensate by producing excess oil. Do your research and keep it simple; there's plenty of time to embrace all those complex ingredients in the years to come.
Like with any phase of your life, there will never be an absolute list of products or steps to be using in your 20's - but if you want to break it down and understand what should be in your shopping basket, here are the four steps I recommend every woman (and man) undertake daily.
SKINCARE IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS
Step 1: Use a non-foaming cleanser every morning in the shower, removing build-up from overnight.
Step 2: Apply a lightweight moisturiser (and eye cream if you're concerned about dark circles) to skin, preferably massaging in using circular motions to stimulate blood flow.
Step 3: Use any specific skincare products that target areas of concern, i.e. serum for brightness or Vitamin C capsule.
Step 4: Add a small amount of SPF underneath makeup; don't rely on your foundation alone.
Bonus steps: Once a week utilise a face mask to target specific concerns, alongside twice a week gentle exfoliation to remove the build-up of dullness on the surface.
Are you in your 20s and a bit confused about skincare? Are you in your 30s and beyond and wish someone had told you how to look after your skin properly when you were younger?
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