How to take care of your skin in your 20s

by Mihika Pai

The body’s ageing process begins right at minute one, when we’re born. As time goes by and you add daily stress and negligence to the mix, the skin begins to lose its ability to heal and repair. Around the age of 25, natural production of collagen slows down. Collagen is a structural protein, which makes skin elastic and hence prevents wrinkling. The body also begins to lose moisture, which further decreases its vitality, as well as compromising the natural shield against environmental damage.

Gradually, the signs of ageing start to make themselves felt. The cumulative damage due to unprotected sun exposure, inadequate skin care and unhealthy lifestyle choices, like smoking, starts to show up as well. It’s all downhill from here, but take heart! The decline is slow — the signs usually aren’t prominently visible in your late twenties — and can be slowed down further if you start being nicer to your body. New Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia explains, “The first signs to start looking for are freckles, fine lines, and when a pimple or a scratch of some sort leaves behind a permanent mark.”

This means your skin isn’t able to heal like it once did. You need to step up the TLC and invest in a routine based on your skin’s health and your age.

If you’re happy with what you see in the mirror, and want to keep it that way, here's what you should do.

Skincare tips for women in their 20s

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Slather on the sunscreen

Of course you’ve heard this before, but it bears endless repetition: sunscreen is non-negotiable. It forms your first line of defence against harmful UV rays that accelerate ageing. And when the solution is so easy, it’s criminal to still skip it. Megumi Mitsui, skincare expert, Za, puts it simply, “Skin is reborn every day, so a basic CTM (cleansing-toning-moisturising) routine followed up with an SPF is the best way to keep your skin moisturised and protected.” Youthful skin is naturally supple, but you can help things along by massaging in a hydrating rosehip oil, says Dr Lohia. Hyaluronic acid is a wonder ingredient for respite from parched skin, too. Found naturally in the body, its reserves start to deplete with age, so it’s important to replenish them. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and has the added benefit of boosting collagen. At night, use a heavier cream than you do in the day to make sure your skin gets the deep nourishment it needs.

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Eat right

Whatever your ideal weight goals may be, dropping the pounds too fast will result in sagging skin. Stick to a vitamin- and mineral-rich diet and go easy on the alcohol and refined sugars. They both cause inflammation in the body, which leads to collagen and elastin breakdown.

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Get moving

Exercising causes the blood to rush to the upper layers of the skin, giving it that healthy glow we all want. It’s also a great way to fight free radicals, which means it slows down ageing. Conversely, getting adequate rest is just as important. This is the time your body uses to heal and repair itself, your skin included. If you skimp on sleep for a few nights in a row, the results are visible on your face.

Pro tip

Long, hot showers feel amazing, but did you know that hot water depletes the skin of all its natural oils and moisture? And dry skin ages faster. Instead switch to lukewarm water and try to keep your shower as short as possible.

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