For 20-somethings, turning 30 is an event that's either feared or a milestone they're looking forward to reaching. Whether you're the former or the latter, entering the new decade isn't just a personal turning point but also signals it's time to change up your skincare routine, too. After all, you aren't the same person you were when you turned 20—and neither is your skin.
Switching out your products while you're riding out the last few months of 20s is one approach to altering your skincare routine to fit your new age bracket, but your complexion's needs are drastically different in your early 20s versus your late 20s. Whether you're concerned about preventing visible signs of aging (which is totally fine if you do!) or want to simply preserve your complexion's health.
“The major issue that seems to change in the skin from your early to late 20s is an increase in skin dryness,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “Younger skin tends to be well hydrated and even oily, but with age, many people find that they need to start using a moisturizer, even if they never used one before.”
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In addition to moisturizer, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler says that if you don't apply sunscreen daily, start now. "If necessary, use anti-acne washes and formulas, exfoliants, antioxidant serums, or retinoid/retinol formulas. I recommend twenty-year-olds who have had a lot of sun exposure use a night cream containing retinols or retinoids. This will help with visible signs of aging early on."
When you hit 30, Dr. Wechsler stresses that along with moisturizing and wearing sunscreen, you should continue not picking at your blemishes. Dr. Zeichner suggests adding a retinol cream to your routine if you haven't already and wrinkles are a concern to you.
So, why is taking good care of your complexion in your 20s so important? Both dermatologists agree that preventing skin damaging is easier than reversing it. "Skin ages with time and with exposure to environmental factors like sunlight and pollution. The stronger the skin foundation you put in place when you are young, the better your starting point for aging will be," says Dr. Zeichner.
To answer the question of "what products should I be using before I turn 30?", we rounded up the basics you should have in your skincare routine in both your early and late 20s. Yup, this is what you'd call adulting.