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Low Budget Low Effort Skincare in your 20s

Our skin looks great in our early 20s, but it’s important to invest in proper skincare habits if you want healthy skin that will carry on through the years. Great skin can boost your confidence, make you feel more invested across all aspects of your physical health, and become an important piece of your self-care (when you really get into it!)

The basics of good skin

Your skin is an organ, and you’ll give it some slack when boosting its function with healthy habits and lowered stress levels. Drinking, smoking, eating lots of heavily processed foods or sodium-packed foods and snacks can definitely take a toll on your skin. In our 20s, it’s hard to have everything down perfectly at all times, but even small actions towards healthier living can dramatically impact your appearance and overall mood. Having glowing skin never hurts your mood!

Simple and cheap ways to obtain amazing skin

Let’s start with some of the potentially cheapest and even most effective ways to really look after your skin health.

What’s the secret here?

Focus on your overall health and hydration! Creating good habits around staying hydrating and exercising often will naturally flush out toxins and promote skincare from the inside out. A simple sunscreen, facial cleanser, toner, and/ or moisturizer is plenty to start off with and can be collected for under $40! Drugstore products are a great way to step into skincare if you’re doing it for the first time, and a lot of times have products that have similar ingredients and results as higher-priced, luxury branded products. To start small, implement a chill cycle of wearing sunscreen, cleaning your face, and applying some moisturizer. You can do this in the shower, or in the sink. It takes just 5 minutes of your day.

Proper cleansing and sun protection

Now, let’s talk about actions you can take to actively improve and protect your skin over time. Two big things we’ll need to talk about are proper cleansing habits and sunscreen application.

Sun protection and SPF

There are a couple of different types of sunscreen and thousands of different brands. PA+++ is something you might see more and more on sunscreen labels and products. The number of plus signs corresponds to different levels of protection- you can learn how to read PA+++ labels in this article.  There are different forms of sunscreen application too, you can find an array from the traditional cream sunscreen, to sunscreen that applies like a gluestick, to spray-on sunscreen. There’s an interesting Youtube video here on just how effective these various different methods are.

It’s time to clean your face

It’s good to research and understand what’s actually effective when it comes to cleaning because using makeup wipes and calling it a day might feel like you’re doing enough but isn’t always cleaning your skin properly.  An extremely important piece of skincare is proper daily cleansing. Cleansing is supremely important because it helps prevent blockage on the surface level, which allows toxins, makeup, and other gunk, like oil from those french fries to exit your skin. It allows for proper absorption of products you use on top, so your skin can directly receive the benefits, instead of that $30 serum you bought getting queued up behind Mr. Annoying French Fry Grease. With any good thing, there can be too much. You’ll want to be conscious to not clean your skin in ways that are overly harsh, either damaging the surface of your skin or drying it out. Here are a few common ways that cleaning can become overkill: using too strong of a cleanser, washing your face too many times, using a physical exfoliant in your cleanser instead of a chemical one, and more.  Gentle chemical exfoliators are the most effective. Exfoliating can easily tip the scales towards overkill, you’ll want to exfoliate, but once or twice a week at most. There are also many different types of exfoliators for the face on the market nowadays, some of the most popular ones being exfoliating scrubs or masks, exfoliating pads (drenched in glycolic acid), or even serums. Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Peel ($88) has been one of the leading products on the market, but you can also find cheaper but awesome alternatives like Bliss’s Micro Magic ($15). Now, we can cover some more involved methods to achieve great skin in your 20s and beyond! Nowadays with all the amazing advances in technology and medical innovation, you don’t have to just live and let live with what comes and goes on your skin, especially on your face. There are many times of noninvasive skincare procedures depending on what issues you’re running into. 

Specialized facial treatments for targeted skincare in your 20’s

My friends in college would rave about how they could go pop in their favorite dermatology clinic and leave with blemish-free skin. You can find a dermatologist that’s specialized in acne removal if pesky pimples start popping up right before big events. They can give customized facials for acne or other skin irritations, where you can go in immediately to counteract any sudden flare-ups. However, there are also ongoing regular treatments you can look into to improve your skin health and appearance over a period of time. Chemical peel facials, laser skin resurfacing, and microdermabrasion are good ongoing facials to invest in. There are massage therapies to improve the blood flow of your face. Laser hair removal is also interesting to consider, as getting rid of any unwanted facial hair early on can save you skin or hair removal issues on sensitive areas like your face down the line. Although there are cheaper methods of facial hair removal, they can sometimes lead to surface-level skin issues like scarring or ingrown hairs. 

How to design and maintain realistic changes to improve your skincare game

In the past few years, there’s a lot of advancements and trends in skincare that make it seem like a ten-step routine should be the new norm for caring about your skin. In reality, skincare, just like other forms of self-care is a habit and the best practices are going to be the ones that make sense for your life and integrate well into your everyday. Proactively caring for your skin is another element of good self care, just like caring for your mental health and maintaining a healthy weight is.  That being said, taking little steps to take care of your skin daily can build you up for great results.  It’s a great idea to have some sort of skincare routine going when you’re in your 20s to make sure there’s some time taken out of your day to give yourself some nourishment and care. You can do all your skincare at one go, not just on your face but to other areas of your body as well. As you’re doing skincare for your face, you can also follow it up with some healthy oils for your hair, moisturizing cream for your body, and even some nourishing oils for your nails as well.  Brands like Drunk Elephant sell their line of Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil at price points like ($72), but you can also create your own DIY for much cheaper. 

How to learn more and become a personal skincare expert

There’s a lot of great skincare resources to learn more about your individual skincare needs, as well as to do extensive research and selection for specific skincare products to invest in. One great site is SokoGlam, where you can take a skincare quiz. There are a lot of awesome Youtube channels focused on skincare. It’s a good idea to find a couple of skincare experts that are tailored to your skin type.  Your twenties is a good time to start experimenting with different types of skincare products and ingredients to learn what works the best with your unique skin. For some, your late 20’s and early 30’s are a time to start thinking about using dermal fillers preventatively.  You can research online or check in with a dermatology specialist (sometimes spas that give facials can even tell you) what kind of skin type you have. This can help you narrow down your options.  Hopefully, this has given you some ideas and inspiration to optimize your skincare routine in your 20s- maybe for some of us it’ll even become a ritual one day!
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