If you're in your 20s or 30s, you may be wondering how to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Maybe you still deal with the occasional breakout or are concerned about age-related changes. Or, maybe you're just excited about building a skin care routine that suits your evolving needs.

If this sounds like you, you've come to the right place. Read on to learn what skin changes to expect during these two decades and get top tips from a board-certified Dermatologist, helping you build the best skin care routine for your 20s and 30s.

How Does Your Skin Change In Your 20s?

Generally speaking, if you're in your 20s, your complexion probably still has a youthful, glowing appearance. That's because your skin is its thickest and most resilient during this decade, thanks to a few different factors.

High hormone levels, like estrogen, help boost collagen and elastin, which are skin proteins that keep your skin firm and stretchy. Hyaluronic Acid, which draws water to your epidermis, is also at its peak during your 20s. This keeps your skin hydrated and gives it that fresh, dewy look.

High hormone levels can also lead to increased oil production and acne, which is why breakouts and oily skin are still a reality for many 20-somethings. For most people, though, signs of sun damage and aging haven't really appeared yet. This makes your 20s a great time to start a proactive skin care routine.

How Does Your Skin Change In Your 30s?

Skin changes in your 30s depend on a few different factors, like your genetics, past sun exposure, and how you've cared for your skin so far.

In this decade, collagen, elastin, and Hyaluronic Acid production all start to slow down, leading to thinner and duller skin. You may also experience more dryness, which can lead to skin irritation, flaking, and redness.

Fine lines and early wrinkles also start to appear in your 30s, especially in areas where your skin is in constant motion (like around your eyes or mouth). You may also start to notice areas of skin discoloration, like sunspots and freckles. This is especially true if you've had a lot of sun exposure in the past.

No matter what stage of life you're in, it's never too late to create an easy and effective regimen that helps you meet your skin care goals.

Top Skin Care Tips for Your 20s

If you don't have a solid skin care routine yet, your 20s is a great time to start. And fortunately, it doesn't have to be anything complicated or time-consuming. Keep it simple by focusing on developing healthy habits and preventing sun damage. Consider these tips for building a better skin care routine for your 20s:

  • Keep consistent with your basic skin care regimen. Wash your face twice a day—and yes, you should always remove your makeup before bed. Use a mild cleanser, like EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, followed by a non-comedogenic moisturizer (one that doesn't clog pores).
  • Use sunscreen daily. Your skin is constantly exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, and it's the cumulative exposure that causes skin damage. This means all those strolls during your lunch break add up. Use an SPF of 30 or higher, like the EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, in the morning after moisturizing.
  • Treat acne if needed. For acne-prone skin, substitute over-the-counter cleansers with Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid in your daily routine to help combat pimples.
  • Consider Retinol. For some people, it's not too early to start thinking about anti-aging. If you're motivated, start using an over-the-counter Retinol cream at night to start fending off fine lines and wrinkles.

Top Skin Care Tips for Your 30s

Good skin care in your 30s includes a basic routine with a few added steps to address common concerns like dry skin and anti-aging. Here's the best skin care routine for your 30s:

  • Step up the moisture in your daily regimen. Twice a day cleansing is important, but moisturization becomes even more critical. Look for products with moisture-boosting ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid or ceramides. EltaMD Barrier Renewal Complex with ceramides is a great option to try.
  • Include Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant with proven anti-aging effects, like less wrinkling and a more even skin tone. Use a Vitamin C serum after cleansing and before moisturizing in the morning. It's sensitive to air and light, so look for one in an airtight, opaque bottle.
  • Use sunscreen daily. An SPF of at least 30 is recommended after you moisturize, like the EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. This is important for all skin tones because it minimizes sun damage and helps prevent skin discoloration.
  • Opt for Retinols and Retinoids. If you haven't started yet, now's the time to include one of these anti-aging products in your nightly routine. Talk to your Derm about a prescription-strength Retinoid, which has been proven to decrease fine lines and dark spots. Bonus: It will also treat any lingering acne you may have.

Good skin care doesn't have to be complicated. Whether you're in your 20s, 30s, or beyond, it's never too late to start a good routine to keep your skin healthy and vibrant for decades to come.



    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of www.integrativederm.org, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.

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