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How to Take Care of Your Skin in Your 20s

Your 20s are all about prevention. With fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots just around the corner for most people, it's time to start taking care of your skin.

Your bedroom may be the place you spend the most time in, but unfortunately, it also contributes your skin woes because of its relatively dry environment which can compromise your skin barrier and expose you to more pollutants than anywhere else.

Since our skin is so thin during this decade, many women opt for quick-fix lotions or creams that claim to diminish their pores or reduce blemishes. Although it's true these products have ingredients that increase moisture in skin, they don't have long term benefits on your complexion.

In order to obtain a clean glow from within, it's most beneficial to incorporate a routine that will also help prevent blemishes, uneven skin tones, and fine lines.

Step 1: Cleanse

It's important to use a gentle, oil-free cleanser. This means you should avoid bar soaps and bubbles because they tend to strip the skin of its natural lipids which can lead to dryness. 

If your skin is oily, try using an exfoliating cleanser or gel that will help unclog pores without over drying your complexion. For dry skin, opt for a cream cleanser that won't further irritate already dry skin.  

Step 2: Tone/Exfoliate

Both toners and exfoliants go hand in hand with cleansing because they remove any excess dirt or makeup still left behind after scrubbing. Toners also close the pores after cleaning, while exfoliants help get rid of dead skin cells that can contribute to uneven surface texture.

For dry, sensitive skin types, many women recommend using witch hazel or aloe vera toners because they are soothing and won't cause the tightening feeling often associated with alcohol-based products. 

If you have oily skin, it would be best to use a gentle exfoliating agent like salicylic acid 2-3 times per week in order to open up pores without over drying your complexion. 

If you're not sure about what type of toner would work best for your skin type, ask for samples at department stores or dermatologists' offices before buying the full size product.  

Step 3: Moisturize/Sunscreen

The final step in your skincare regimen should be moisturizer and sunscreen. Since sun exposure is the number one cause for wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging, it's crucial that you apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily. 

Applying moisturizer after slathering on the sunscreen will ensure that you maintain hydration throughout the day because these products often contain glycerin which attracts moisture from the air.

For dry skin types, it can be beneficial to use a heavier moisturizing cream during winter months while lighter lotions are sufficient enough to hydrate your face year round. If you have oily skin, opt for gel-based moisturizers or water-resistant serums filled with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day.  

Step 4: Protect

Not only should you shield your skin from the sun's harmful rays with sunscreen, but also environmental pollutants by wearing a hat or sunglasses when outdoors for longer periods of time. 

Keeping hydrated with plenty of water will also help decrease fine lines and dry patches on your face. You can also use eye cream at night to replenish moisture around the delicate under-eye area. 

Skin care is all about prevention so it's important to begin treatment as early as possible in order to avoid more damage later down the line. Forcing yourself to do a full skin care routine might seem tedious and counterintuitive at first because we tend to mistake bathing and moisturizing as a chore. 

However, it's important to remember that skin care isn't about being perfect but rather maintaining healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

Soap and water is fine for the body but harsh acne washes can damage sensitive facial skin. Instead, try using a gentle exfoliating cleanser or gel on your face twice per day after work in order to slough away any blemish-causing impurities from the day.

Exfoliation should be performed at least twice per week. If you don't have an exfoliating scrub, try mixing brown sugar with raw honey for an inexpensive cleansing agent (preferably before bedtime).

When it comes to skin care, the best advice is to choose ingredients over a catchy name. Although some of us may have sensitive skin, avoid products with harsh chemicals or oils that can lead to breakouts and irritate your skin. If you ever notice any redness after applying a product, stop using it immediately. 

Lastly, remember that what works for others isn't necessarily going to provide the same results on your face - be open-minded when trying new products and adjust accordingly!