Let’s talk about skincare! Below are some helpful tips and skincare practices you should start in your 20’s and continue throughout your 30’s, 40’s, and older! Especially for those with skin of color, I have recommendations for you on effective skincare practices.
While there are a ton of skincare products, cosmetic procedures, and skincare trends out there, you should establish a healthy skincare routine beginning in your 20’s.
First, this should include the use of a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil, CeraVe, or La Roche-Posay. Gentle cleansers work best for sensitive skin types and should be used twice daily - when you wake up and before bed. You also should wash after sweating. Make sure to avoid heavy scrubbing and/or use of a washcloth and instead apply cleanser to face and wash with your fingertips/hands. Then, gently pat your face dry. Tip: choose a facial cleanser based on your skin type. For example, use an oil-free cleanser for acne-prone skin and use a hydrating cleanser for drier skin types. Most of the brands listed above have cleansers for different skin types.
The second and most important step is the application of a moisturizer with sunscreen. The sunscreen should be broad-spectrum with a SPF of 30 or higher. Whether you are spending a lot of time outdoors or simply driving to work, you will expose your skin to the sun’s harmful rays and should protect your skin regardless. Most sunscreens contain zinc oxide which is a physical sunscreen agent that protects the skin from UVA and UVB exposure by deflecting the sun’s rays. A few of my recommended brands to try are Vanicream Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 and EltaMD SPF 36-50+. EltaMD has an array of sun protective products and I especially recommend trying out their tinted sunscreen for darker complected individuals who’d like to forgo applying make-up altogether! I personally use La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer because it doesn’t leave me with a white cast after I apply it like most other sunscreen brands. Tip: you should select your sunscreen based on your skin type just like when selecting facial cleansers. If you have oily skin, look for the words “non-comedogenic” on the product to avoid clogging your pores, which can cause acne.
Lastly, add a skincare product to your routine that addresses your primary skin concern. This may vary based on age group. Your main concern may be preventing acne, skin hyperpigmentation, and scars in your 20’s and you may start noticing fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging as you enter into your 40-50's. In any case, products with the addition of Vitamin C (an antioxidant) are helpful in reducing dark spots and aging skin. Other beneficial antioxidants found in skincare products or oral supplements are Vitamin E, Niacinamides, Coenzyme Q10, and Resveratrol. Another great science-based ingredient is retinoid or retinol, which covers an array of Vitamin A based skincare products. Retinoids help to improve uneven skin tones, skin texture, and treat fine lines and wrinkles by speeding up new skin cell turnover. When seeing a dermatologist for acne, you may be prescribed a medication that contains a retinoid such as Adapalene (which can also be purchased over the counter in a different strength), Tazarotene, or Tretinoin. When used on acne prone skin, retinoids can unclog pores, which leads to clearer skin!