A Guide To Looking After Your Skin In Your 20s

Rachel Meyer

Your 20s are an exciting time full of exploration, learning, and establishing the routines that will help you achieve all the things you want to in life. Skincare in your 20s is no exception! Figuring out the best habits now will stand you in great stead further down the line. If you’re curious to find a medical-grade skincare routine for 20s skin, this is the guide for you. 

At Face Dr, our Skin Experts have years of experience helping clients of all ages find their ideal skin regime. Here, we’ll round up the best skincare essentials for you. Whether you’re in your late 20s and thinking ahead, or about to kick-start your best decade yet, we’ve got all the tips you need…

Want to step into your new era of personalised skincare? Book your appointment with one of our Skin Experts here:


Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • How is 20s skin different from other decades?
  • What does my skin need to stay healthy in my 20s? 
  • What ingredients would my skin benefit from in my 20s? 
  • What would my skin NOT benefit from in my 20s? 
  • What lifestyle changes should I make? 
  • What products could help my skin in my 20s? 
  • Summary: How do I take care of my skin in my 20s? 


Twenty Year Old Woman


How is 20s skin different from other decades?

In your 20s, it’s goodbye to teenage acne and skin that’s unsure of itself, and hello to what will likely become your usual skin type going forward. That’s not to say you won’t experience annoying things like acne, as around 3% of adults have acne over the age of 35. It may be that you simply have an oily skin type which would mean acne doesn’t disappear as soon as you hit 20, but on the whole, your skin should start to become more manageable. 

You could be tempted to cut corners in your 20s since your skin may seem somewhat indestructible. We’ve all done it… working hard, partying hard, generally burning the candle at both ends… falling into bed with your make-up on, or using face wipes. Despite all you throw at it, your skin is likely to bounce back in the short term but you may not realise the damage you are doing for your future skin. 

Looking after your skin is all about protection and prevention so it continues to look healthy and youthful as you move into your 30s and beyond. The routines you establish now are the ones that will determine your skin health for the rest of your life.


Woman using SPF


What does my skin need to stay healthy in my 20s?

Creating a healthy foundation is important in your 20s. This usually involves 2 main things; protecting skin from environmental damage, and taking steps to prevent premature skin ageing. 

Slowing skin ageing is not essential, and your contentment about the way you look should not be connected to something as inevitable as ageing. However, collagen – the main structural component of our skin – decreases by 1% each year from our 20s onwards, and if we think about your skin as a living organ and premature skin ageing as a sign of damage at a cellular level, protecting it from environmental damage makes sense.

When it comes to preventing skin cancer and premature skin ageing, sunscreen should not only be worn on very hot, sunny holidays; it should be a regular part of your skincare routine all year round, but many people forget this step. It is recommended you begin wearing at least SPF 30 or higher and broad spectrum, and remember that skin can begin to be damaged from the moment we step outside in the sun, even if we don’t notice any harm being done right away. Harmful UV rays are also emitted from our electronic devices, so even if you are working indoors all day, you should apply an SPF each morning. 

SPF should be applied after your other morning products, but before your makeup – you can read more here: The correct order to apply your skincare routine


Vitamin C Ingredient for Twenties


What ingredients would my skin benefit from in my 20s?

There are a number of skincare ingredients that can really help create a great foundation for your skin health going forward. These include: 

  • Vitamin C: This is a fantastic ingredient helping to boost antioxidants in your skin and fight against the free radicals that lead to ageing skin. You can read more here: What is Vitamin C in skincare and how does it work?
  • Ceramides: These play a vital role in structuring and maintaining the skin’s barrier function and retaining moisture. You can read more here: What are ceramides and what can they do for your skin? 
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This is a vital molecule in maintaining skin moisture, as it retains water and keeps skin feeling hydrated and soft. You can read more here: What is hyaluronic acid and what can it do for your skin? 
  • Retinol: Retinol is a stronger active ingredient that is recommended if skin ageing is a concern, or to maintain a youthful complexion and smooth texture. Investing in quality retinol products in your late 20s can be a great move for preventative ageing in your 30s. It also treats acne and acne scarring, and is one of the best ingredients you can use for this purpose. You can read more here: What is retinol and how does it work?
  • SPF: As above, SPF is one of the most essential ingredients to start using in your 20s in order to protect your skin long term. If you only choose one of the ingredients listed here, make sure it’s this one! Not only can SPF protect your skin from sun damage as mentioned above, it is also effective at defending your skin from blue (HEV) light which can cause skin damage over time. 

In your 20s, you may also wish to future-proof your skin barrier to ensure the products you are using are absorbed as effectively as possible. You can read more about this in our article; How to repair a damaged skin barrier, and future-proof to protect it.



What would my skin NOT benefit from in my 20s?

In your early 20s, you may not need much in the way of intense anti-ageing ingredients, as investing your money in them at this point won’t necessarily affect the outcome years from now. Your late-20s onwards is the best time to start looking into these ingredients.  
Don’t be tempted to experiment with too many products at once as some products shouldn’t be mixed, such as: retinol and benzoyl peroxide, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) with other AHAs, and vitamin C and niacinamide. You can read more about why certain ingredients should always be used separately in our article; 6 skincare ingredients you should and shouldn't mix.


Twenties Skin


What lifestyle changes should I make?

Lifestyle changes can often make the biggest difference to the health and look of your skin in the long run, so as well as establishing a skincare routine that works for you, your 20s may also be a good time to establish some general healthy habits that will have a positive impact on your life as well as your skin. These can include: 

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet focused on antioxidants 
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol
  • Establishing a regular exercise routine 
  • Getting plenty of sleep so your skin always has time to repair itself overnight 
  • Establishing a regular skincare routine that you carry out every morning and night
  • Using SPF every morning before going out in the sun
  • Avoiding tanning beds and excessive sun exposure to protect your skin 
  • Wearing sunglasses when in intense sunlight to protect your retina health and the sensitive skin around your eyes


What products could help my skin in my 20s?

It can be difficult to know where to begin constructing a skincare routine, as you don’t want to choose the wrong products from the get-go and waste years trying to get it right. The best way to ensure you choose products that take into account your skin type, skin history, and the goals you want to achieve, is to book a free skincare consultation with your own Skin Expert. They can give you personalised advice on what the best products and routines are likely to be for you.


An example of a great skincare routine for a person in their 20s might be: 

  • Cleanser: ZO’s Exfoliating Cleanser gently unclogs pores and targets dirt, surface oil and excess sebum to leave skin feeling clean, but not stripped or dry. With free-radical protection, it is a great, soothing daily cleanser to include in your routine. 
  • Hydrator: ZO’s Daily Power Defense is a lightweight, hydrating serum packed with antioxidants and DNA repair enzymes to protect against environmental damage and oxidative stress, and support the skin's health and barrier function. A small amount of retinol helps to boost collagen and cell renewal without causing reactions, which can also tackle fine lines and wrinkles. 
  • Sunscreen: ZO’s Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 is the perfect daily product as it can be worn on its own or as a primer before applying makeup. With an exclusive 12-hour time-release antioxidant complex, it guards against UVA, UVB and HEV light.
  • Ceramides: ZO Skin Health Recovery Crème is a retinol-based hydrator that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. White ceramides help to support hydration and result in a smoother skin surface.
  • Retinol: ZO Retinol Skin Brightener 1% is a great retinol product to start with, as it contains 1% retinol to break up any existing pigmentation, provide antioxidant protection, and start increasing cell regeneration. With continued use, you can start to see a brighter, more even skin tone.
  • Vitamin C Serum: Obagi’s Professional-C® Serum 15% is a great way to regularly boost your skin’s vitamin C as it contains the industry gold-standard form of vitamin C – L-ascorbic acid – plus plenty of antioxidants to strengthen the skin barrier and defend against environmental damage that can cause premature skin ageing. ZO Skin Health’s Vitamin C Self-Activating 10% is another great option to rapidly exfoliate the skin's surface, reduce pigmentation, and minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also leaves a more even tone and brighter complexion. 



Summary: How do I take care of my skin in my 20s?

Taking care of your skin in your 20s should be simple and stress-free. We recommend speaking to a Skin Expert for advice on where to start with your routine, what will be most beneficial for you at this stage in life, and how to achieve the healthy skin you’re looking for. 

By establishing a regular routine that effectively removes makeup and other impurities, replenishes with plenty of antioxidants, and protects against environmental damage to maintain healthy skin, you will be creating a foundation of great skin for years to come. 
If you would like to book a free video call with one of our Skin Experts to discuss how to best look after your skin in your 20s, you can do so safe in the knowledge that we only recommend products we genuinely feel will benefit your skin, and always take into account your personal goals and budget. 



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