I was one of the last of my friends to turn 20 last summer, but it didn’t seem much more than just another number, just another age, like the 19 before.
That was until my friend Jack turned 20 two weeks ago and all of a sudden we were a group in our 20s. We had a “S” at the end of our number. We were a decade. A new decade. Suffice to say I had a minor meltdown. “Friends” were in their 20s. People win Olympic medals and Nobel prices in their 20s, get married, get a proper job, you’re meant to start using anti ageing creams in your 20s… I felt old and unprepared for being old at the same time. So instead of freaking out even more about the fact that I am single and as far away from winning a Nobel price as I am from gold in ANY Olympic sport, I decided to start with the anti ageing creams.
It is true that some Anti wrinkling creams suggest you start using them in your 20s but that usually refers to your late 20s. Although it doesn’t hurt to start applying them now if you found one you like and that makes your skin feel good, there are some products and routines your really should not ignore now.
As a student with a tight budget that just about covers nights out, food and clothes and still leaves me eating raw veg and drinking tesco’s own vodka and cranberry juice (closest thing to a cosmopolitan I can get) for most of the time, I totally understand that spending a lot of money on some miracle cleanser seems like a waste but after an one hour session in Boots, trying to dodge the enthusiastic sales women trying to spray me with the latest perfumes and reading the ingredients to every cleanser, moisturiser, toner, peeling … I can bring you the good news: There are high quality products out there which are affordable. So here goes: How to treat your skin now that you are in your 20s:
Know your Skin Type
It all starts with knowing your skin type. Because our hormones are in overdrive during our teens and we end up with oily skin and acne most of us don’t know their real skin type at all. A lot of outside factors, such as frequent air travel and your diet, play a role in what type your are – it’s not all genetics. It is so important to know what group you belong into, because there are different products for each one and you will only reap the benefits if you use the right ones. There are a one hundred and one online tests out there but if you want to be really sure visit a dermatologist. Otherwise this one: http://bit.ly/1Bqp9In is very useful and gives you a lot of advise at the end of it.
Cleanse, Cleanse, Cleanse
I can’t repeat this one enough. Ladies, take your make-up off EVERY night and if you don’t wear make-up: clean your face before you go to bed. To illustrate why, try to observe how frequently you touch your face – if it is because you are pushing your glasses up or your hair out of the way – whilst reading this article. Your pores are constantly getting clogged up during the day and if you go to bed without cleaning your face you will make your pores the ultimate place for those acne causing bacteria to settle down. So, clean your face. Use a cleanser as well, not just water and definitely not soap.
I’d recommend checking the label for sulfates
One ingredient you want to avoid is sulfate. It usually comes in the form of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium lauryl sulfate, Sodium laureth sulfate and Ammonium laureth sulfate. These products tend to just be a bit too harsh to your skin, destroying natural oils and bacteria which leads to a higher oil production and can clog your pores. Some brands that have cleansers that are sulfate free and budget friendly are Vichy, La Roche Posay, Eucerin and Garnier. They range from five pounds to 20 pounds with Eucerin being at the top end of the spectrum and Garnier at the bottom. With all of them I’d recommend checking the label for sulfates.
Why are toners so important?
I’m sure most of you have heard that it is vital to clean, tone and moisturise. But why tone? I was never quite sure what it meant so I left it out of my beauty regime, but toning is incredibly important. It gets rid of any make-up remnants and dirt left on your skin after cleansing. It also balances the pH level of your skin which allows it to better absorb moisturiser and serums. Toners aren’t expensive and brands often have a toner complimenting their cleanser. So start to tone!
Fact is: your skin constantly needs moisture. That is where moisturising (as the name suggests) comes into play. This is also why you should not take a break from your moisturising. Not for one night! Apply your moisturiser straight after cleaning and toning your face. Be quick about it, after just 60 seconds without it, your skin starts to dry out. Your skin will absorb the cream most efficiently if you do it in a humid environment, i.e. straight after you had a shower or bath. After you have now pinky promised to never not moisturise lets move on to the rules of how to do it right.
A few basic rules when choosing your moisturiser
- SPF! Sun damage is the no. 1 reason for premature ageing and it can all be prevented by using a moisturiser with SPF 30 or above. I am just as guilty as the next girl of sunbathing on the beach with less than the minimum of protection but I took a vow to be a little less vain now in order to invest in my future vanity. A lot of moisturisers now have SPF, just keep an eye open when choosing yours, and wearing SPF everyday is really the best tip for keeping wrinkles at bay.
- Go for a tube not a jar. Although a little jar might look more appealing and you might think that it will last longer due to its accessibility (you won’t as you will inevitably use more every time) but a jar doesn’t give any protection from bacteria and instead of helping your skin you’ll actually harm it.
- Buy a moisturiser that is designed to aid your skin. That is really key because although even oily skin types need to moisturise daily, they need a moisturiser that is not as heavy as the ones for dry skins, and doesn’t add to the greasiness. Ask for help if you’re not sure but most of the time the label will clearly tell you what it is designed to do.
- Use a different moisturiser for day and for night. Because you need an SPF containing day time moisturiser it is important to have a different one for night. Your skin regenerates itself at night so having the right base for that is important if you want your skin to look healthy and glowing.
Exfoliating is meant to get rid of the dead skin cells on your skin and show off your new, healthy ones. If you don’t exfoliate your skin will end up looking dull and grey because it will be mainly made out of dead skin cells. Although you can spend a lot or a little money on a exfoliating peeling, one is easily made out of all natural ingredients found in your kitchen. Simply combine sugar and oil (any oil will work from Olive to Baby. Some will recommend coconut which will make your skin smell nice and tropical too).
A word of warning at the end: Don’t over-exfoliate
For some added texture add a bit of honey which will leave your skin super smooth. Apply the peeling in a circular motion, using clean hands or exfoliating gloves. You can use it all over your face and body but make sure to leave the sensitive eye are out. Rinse thoroughly and don’t forget to apply moisturiser immediately after. As your skin regenerates itself over night it is best to do this in the morning. A word of warning at the end: Don’t over-exfoliate. Dermatologist recommend 2-3 times a week, possibly even less and as we are all still young and beautiful once would probably suffice.
Don’t forget your neck and hands
Use this rule from your self-tanning experiments: Don’t forget your hands and neck. The neck is really just an extension of your face so do anything you do to your face to your neck. Nothing will look worse than a youthful face on an old and wrinkly neck and the same goes with your hands.
I carry a hand cream with me at all times and whenever I have a spare second I apply some. It doesn’t just make you smell nice but it gives your hands, the part of your body that is not just always on show but is also used and hence strained the most – from typing up lecture notes to finding your keys in your bag – the moisture and care it needs.
Nothing will look worse than a youthful face on an old and wrinkly neck
Keep an eye open when you walk past the magazine isle in the supermarket, a lot of magazines tend to have them as bonus gifts, but otherwise I would recommend Bodyshop, L’Occitane and Crabtree&Evelyn. Although the latter two can be more pricey they tend to have offers on a lot and its worth stocking up then.
Clean your phone
Your phone might be one of the dirtiest things your face comes in contact with on a regular basis. So clean it with a antibacterial wipe before you go to bed to prevent the dirt and grease on it to clog your pores.
You are what you eat
Fatty food and all those E numbers are partly, if not mainly, responsible for your skin acting out. So try to eat more fruits and veggies which are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Try eating foods with healthy fats and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids like fish, nuts, eggs, olive oil, sunflower and sunflower oil. And the ultimate super potion: Green tea. Its powerful antioxidants will ward of signs of ageing. Some studies have also shown that dairy products, in particular yoghurt, can cause breakouts on the lower part of your face. If you are prone to spots on your chin/neck it might be worthwhile trying to go without dairy for a bit to see whether this changes anything.
Stress is a major contributor to bad skin. Stress can lead to your hormones overacting and breakouts. So try to take some time for yourself. Read a book. Take a bath. Switch your phone off and relax.
Buy some quality make-up
Ladies, the times of Barry M and Co. are over. You don’t buy the bulk of your jewellery at Claire’s anymore, nor is your wardrobe exclusively Primark and Dorothy Perkins. And so it is time to say ‘goodbye’ to those cheap liquid foundations and two pound mascaras. It’s time to upgrade to a product that apart from hiding blemishes actually helps to reduce them.
Products like Bareminerals are a good option and yes, they are more expensive, but they are worth it and you will see the results in the long run. And whilst we’re on the topic of: Clean those brushes. Frequently. Otherwise it is just like rubbing a field of bacteria over your face every morning and you can pretty much forget anything else you are trying to do to take care of your skin.
One rule to rule them all
It is the one thing that seems to apply to all life situations: Drink more water. 60% of your body is water. There is nothing we can do without water. You absolutely need to stay hydrated in order for your skin – an organ – to function and stay healthy and firm.
I got rid of all my creams, scrubs and peelings from my teens and got a whole new shelf of products now. I cleanse and I tone and I moisturise – twice daily. I exfoliate and am thinking about buying an eye cream. Taking care of my skin like I am in my 20s brought me into my 20s. I love being 20. It is definitely scary and I probably won’t win a Nobel price or a gold medal in this decade either but it will be ever so fabulous.
Because we twenty-somethings are the future’s forty-somethings, but with skin that will continue to look great.
Best one of all….:)