Real Talk: Skincare in Your 20s: Do's & Don'ts

How to Take Care Your Skin in Your Twenties


In this article:


Thanks to the Internet, we have come to know so much about skincare in the past few years.

People have become more fluent in the benefits of active ingredients and how to read product labels. Brands have come forward to share their skincare knowledge and be more open about their formulas.

As a result, many people, including me, have been obsessing and experimenting with different products, hacks, and home remedies. 

As a twenty-something skewing towards the tail of twenties, there are a lot of things on my mind.

It’s safe to assume that most twenty-somethings are on the same wavelength - being concerned with career prospects, relationships, saving up, or traveling the world…and all these stressful scenarios could secretly add a few lines on our forehead. Let’s not to mention all the all-nighters we pulled for work and study, all the weekend benders from sundown 'til sunrise, and the midnight munchies consumed due to convenience.

Aging or not, our skin has faced quite a few tests in the twenties. 

We are possibly also the vainest in our twenties, we want to dress nicely, look good, have glowing skin when we go out and about.

That’s why having a working skincare routine in our twenties is absolutely essential. Besides protecting our skin from all the skin-damaging factors, a good skincare routine can lay a solid anti-aging foundation for the future. 


Skin Problems in Your Twenties  

Adult acne or random breakouts can cause trouble throughout your twenties as if it hasn’t done enough to your teen skin.

Adult acne usually comes from hormonal imbalance triggered by stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, and sun exposure. They are as annoying as they are persistent.

“Adult acne is usually on the lower half of the face; teen acne is typically on the upper half,” says Dr. Francesa Fusco, an NYC-based clinical professor. “Adult acne is also deeper and appears as cysts, or ‘under the skin’ pimples, which can’t be drained.”


Young woman looking in the mirror worrying about adult acne



Sun-damaged skin is also commonly seen among twenty years olds.

The reason? Beach parties, long hikes, an unhealthy obsession with tanning. Sun exposure is a primary cause for aging skin, as the UV radiations break down collagen and elastin existing in the skin which leads to wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, and frequent exposure could even cause skin cancer. 


Under-eye wrinkles, sunken eyes, or dark circles often accompany us throughout our 20s.

Eye skin is one of the most delicate skin on our body, any negligence could lead to wrinkles or darkening. “The skin around the eye is one of the thinnest areas of skin in the body and is very fragile. The collagen in the dermis of the skin under the eyes breaks down and loses its volume and elasticity. This occurs because of age, sun exposure, genetic factors, and environmental damage.” – Nava Greenfield, MD, board-certified dermatologist.

All the late nights, insomnia, and twenty hours a day in front of the laptop make us forget what it even feels like to have perfect under-eye skin


Dehydration is another big problem for skin in our 20s.

If work and social life have completely overwhelmed us, sticking to a ten-step skincare routine at the end of the day is impossible.

Just ask yourself, how many times you’ve missed your skincare routine after a crazy night out? Even though moisturizing doesn’t sound as important as the special serums targeting specific skin problems, hydration is actually quite fundamental in skin health. Dehydrated skin appears weak and fragile without a damaged barrier, which makes it prone to wrinkle formation as well as easily irritated by dirt and toxins. 


First signs of aging might appear towards the end of our 20s.

Actually, if skincare is never on your mind, or you are genetically prone to skin aging, or you have been taking little to none care of yourself, skin aging might have already caught up with you.

For a twenty-something, skin aging can be as gentle as some crow’s feet, light laugh lines, and maybe some decollete wrinkles caused by bad posture. 


Skincare Dos & Dons in Your Twenties  

Do: Cleanse Daily, Exfoliate Regularly 

Dermatologist Tiina Meder believes that a good cleanser is essential for women in their 20s.

“It’s crucial that the skin is cleansed of makeup, dirt, dead skin, excess oil, and other pollutants,” says Meder. "The cleanser of choice must be gentle and effective whilst also helping to restore the natural skin barrier and provide a calming effect.”

In addition to washing your face daily, a chemical or gentle physical exfoliator should be added to your skincare routine too.

Acids such as AHA, BHA are great exfoliators to deeply cleanse pores, get rid of dead skins, stimulate cell regeneration to reveal fresh, radiant skin. There are many more perks of exfoliating skin regularly (twice or thrice a week) - “To continue daily collagen renewal, exfoliate daily.

Products with salicylic, alpha, and/or beta hydroxy acids will help exfoliate dead skin cells and dirt off of the skin’s surface, as well as getting beneath the surface to unclog pores, prevent future breakouts, smooth texture, and boost cell renewal,” says Dr. Dennis Gross, MD. 


Young woman cleansing her face



Don’t: Go to Bed with Makeup On 

Face washing is exhausting, especially after a long hard day, we know, we’ve all been there.

We all just want to kick back and watch some Netflix shows until we fall asleep. But ask yourself, do you want to skip a ten-minute skincare routine now but spend thousands of dollars and countless effort on painful rejuvenation surgeries later? 

Removing makeup is one thing, proper cleansing also means to get rid of the pollutants, toxins, and other dirt lying on top of the skin. All these invisible gunks are potential triggers for allergies, adult acne, and wrinkles. 


Do: Introduce Active Ingredients to Your Skincare Routine 

Getting to know skincare ingredients is a solid start to build your very own effective skincare routine.

By learning about the ingredients, you are also getting to the bottom of the causes of our current skin issues. It’s always nice to know what to look for in the overwhelmingly large and confusing skincare market when problems arise. 

For example, if you are troubled by large pores and adult acne, niacinamide (Vitamin B) can effectively minimize pore appearance and calm irritations. If you have hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone, Vitamin C can be your best friend due to its brightening effect.

If you have severely dry skin, you might want to incorporate some hyaluronic acids or silicone into your current skincare routine. 


Don’t: Follow Trends Blindly 

Because everyone is a skincare guru now, thanks again Internet, there are lots of skincare product recommendations out there and some very hyped-up brands and products.

Rave reviews could mean that the product delivers its promise, but everyone has their own genetic makeup hence different skin types. What works for others might not work wonders for you. 

It is important to know your own skin type and your own skin concerns before you hit the shops.

Many popular luxury skincare brands deliver the same result as products at a fraction of their price. If you have oily skin, a highly rated moisturizer packed with rich ingredients such as ceramides and silicone probably won’t do you any good except triggering breakouts. 


Do: Anti-aging Starts in Your 20s 

“Women should begin being proactive about anti-aging in their 20s.

Research shows that as early as age 25, our skin’s two structural proteins—collagen (which keeps it firm, taut, and resilient) and elastin (which gives skin its flexibility, enabling it to stretch out and then snap back into place)—decrease,” says Dr. Gross.

Prevention is everything if you want to combat aging effectively. Maybe your skin is still glowing and taut in your 20s, but aging skin can happen overnight from the damages piled up over the years.

“The damage you do in your 20s is going to show up in your 30s, 40s, and 50s,” explains Alicia Barba, a Miami-based dermatologist. “It’s a cumulative effect; things will come back to haunt you.”


Don’t: Skip Sun Protection

Sun exposure can age skin like no other.

Our skin has been exposing to sunlight since the day we were born. The UV radiations existing in sunlight can penetrate through dark clouds and window glasses, acting as a constant skin irritant. 

The solution is also simple - wear sun protection at all times, from sunscreen to sunhat, reapply sunscreen every few hours if you are out and about, and make sure the sunscreen strength is up to standard. 


Young woman applying sunscreen sunblock on skin on a sunny day



Do: Everything in Moderation 

A healthy, stress-free lifestyle can clear up the skin, but avoiding all temptations in our 20s is a mission and a half.

Ideally, your skin will benefit hugely from exercising regularly, eating a balanced, nutritious diet, drinking water instead of alcohol and fizzy beverages, and leading a relaxing, positive life. However, being a twenty year old is never about all that. 

The key is to do everything in moderation. Try the famous 8/2 method - try staying healthy for 80% of the time than indulge in guilty pleasures for the remaining 20%.

Sleep early, drink plenty of water, eat superfoods during the week then splurge out with friends on the weekend. We all need to find the perfect balance between work and play to stay motivated, and nothing can make us glow more than enjoying life to the maximum. 


Don’t: Only Focus on Your Face 

“When you’re young, it’s easy to think just about your face, but we need to protect our neck, chest, hands, and feet as well,” Dr. Barba adds.

“As you get older, you’ll start thinking about them more. You can usually carry what works for your face down to your neck and chest.”

A person’s neck can often tell their true age if without proper care. Because neck skin is so fragile, dynamic wrinkles and signs of aging can easily mark up our neck.

“Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth,” Nora Ephron explains. “You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, and you wouldn’t if it had a neck.” Taking care of the rest of the body is not as hard as it sounds like, all you need is one extra pump of product for your decollete when you are applying anything to your face, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

As for the rest of your body, a daily nourishing body lotion would do. 


My Current Skincare Favorites 

Full disclosure, everyone’s skin is different so it’s crucial to find products that work for your skin. I have combination skin with no major skin concerns, so for me personally, the skincare goal is to maintain, prevent, and hydrate. 


All Clean Balm 

This cleansing balm has a very pleasant texture especially when it emulsifies with water. A great first cleanser to get rid of dirt and melt away makeup, it doesn’t leave any oily residues and keep the skin plump and refreshed. 


Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant 

A universally loved exfoliant among all skin types, Paula’s Choices BHA exfoliant is a godsend. The 2% BHA content and unique formula make it very gentle on the skin while exfoliating the skin with high efficacy. 


The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide 

Niacinamide is such a skincare darling right now, for all the right reasons.

Also known as vitamin B, Niacinamide minimizes pores and tighten skin, fade dark spots and prevent further skin irritations. The Ordinary’s Niacinamide is straightforward, no-frill, and retails for less than $10! 


Oia Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is a skincare powerhouse.

A vital antioxidant in boosting collagen production, brightening overall skin complexion, and protecting skin from free radicals, everyone needs some Vitamin C in their routine.

Oia’s Vitamin C serum is formulated with 10% vitamin C along with retinol and vitamin E to triple the antioxidant effect and better the product absorption. If you want to fade acne marks and even out skin tone, or just to add more vibrancy to your skin, a few drops are all you need! 


Woman applying Oia Vitamin C Serum on face


The Ordinary Retinol Line 

Though not necessary, your skin will thank you for jumpstarting the anti-aging game in your 20s.

Retinol is the possibly the most popular, proven effective skincare ingredient to combat aging, and The Ordinary offers a wide range of retinol products of different strength levels at an incredibly affordable price.

Retinol can be a bit harsh on the skin which is why you should start from a lower concentration first then build it up over time. 


Paula’s Choice Omega + Complex Moisturizer 

My current absolutely favorite moisturizer for day and night.

Besides its non-greasy, light, and whipped texture that melts into the skin, the blend of superfoods rich in omega 3, 6, 9 calms, plumps and brightens skin naturally. This moisturizer might be on the thinner side but it definitely suits all skin types! 


Drunken Elephant C-Tango Eye Cream

Many eye creams are just moisturizers with marked-up price tags.

This eye cream has a specially designed blend of Vitamin C, peptides, and ceramides just for the delicate eye skin. It’s pleasantly light yet deeply hydrating, great for layering under makeup. 


Oia Hydrogel Day & Night Patches 

Living in the age of technology and leading a fast-paced lifestyle means that our eyes are constantly under immense stress.

It’s always great to have some nice eye patches lying around at home to pop on after a long day for relaxation or in the morning to reduce the puffiness and dark circles. Oia’s Rejuvenating Day Patches minimize the appearance of eye wrinkles and eye bags with a high concentration of antioxidants, perfect for a morning refreshment; while Oia’s Restoring Night Patches replenish the skin greatly with collagen, ceramides, and snail secretion, providing a true spa at home experience at the end of the day. 


Final Thoughts

It’s never too late to start taking care of your skin, it’s also never too early.

Your 20s are all about career development, socializing with people, traveling the world and enjoying life, and experimenting with skincare. The secret to any flawless skin is usually not luck but diligent prevention, a good skincare routine in your 20s can be a solid foundation for your future skin. 

As we experiment with skincare, we have come across many hits and misses, we have made many mistakes and some good decisions, but the journey to perfect skin is nothing without trials and errors.

Remember the good old times when you put coconut oil on your face? I surely did for the entirety of my early 20s. But the message here is not to cringe at the past mistakes but to move forward with more knowledge and better choices.


What skincare problems have been troubling you as a twenty-something? Acne scars, uneven skin tones, large pores, or early signs of aging? What obstacles have you encountered so far? What are the most horrendous mistakes you have made during your skincare experiments? Here at Oia, we believe in personal growth just as much as an effective skincare routine, we all need to be flexible and learn from each other’s experiences to find the best solutions for any skin issue.

Feel free to share with us your personal experience or even reach out to us if you have any questions, we would love to be part of your skincare journey now, and we hope to persist into your future of perfect skin long after your 20s. 


Stay radiant,

Oia Skin Team

Search our shop

    JS Bin