|Daily skin care
“It’s never too early to start taking care of your skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD, an assistant professor of dermatology in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York. “Many of my patients in their 20s are asking me what they can do now to maintain healthy skin throughout their lives, and some women are starting to seek cosmetic treatments at an earlier age.”
According to Dr. Elbuluk, women in this age group are looking for a simple skin care regimen that they can easily incorporate into their daily lives. “If a routine is too complicated or time-consuming, they won’t stick with it,” she says.
Dr. Elbuluk recommends that women in their 20s wash their face twice a day with a gentle cleanser and use a moisturizer with SPF 30 every morning. She also suggests using an anti-aging treatment, such as a topical retinoid or a product containing antioxidants, as long as it doesn’t cause any irritation.
Dr. Elbuluk advises women in their 20s to be vigilant about sun protection every day, all year-round, no matter the weather. “Sun damage is cumulative, so UV exposure in your 20s could lead to wrinkles and skin cancer in your 40s and 50s,” Dr. Elbuluk says. “Women in this age group may have seen this firsthand if their parents have developed skin cancer.”
Dr. Elbuluk also warns women in this age group not to get complacent about sun protection just because they’re applying an SPF product in the morning. “If you’re using a moisturizer or foundation with SPF, make sure it’s at least SPF 30, and remember that SPF is not additive, so using two products that each have SPF 15 is not the same as using an SPF 30 product,” she says. “And don’t forget, applying sun protection in the morning won’t cover you for the whole day. During the work week, remember to reapply if you’re going outside for lunch and before your commute home; if you’re spending the day outside, you should reapply every two hours.”
“There’s no rule that says acne stops after your teens, so many women are still dealing with acne in their 20s,” Dr. Elbuluk says. “In addition to the type of acne they had when they were younger, women in this age group also may experience hormonal acne on their chin and jawline.” She says women in their 20s may be embarrassed by their acne, thinking it’s something they should have outgrown, and the skin condition may affect their self-esteem.
Fortunately for patients, there are many treatment options for adult acne, Dr. Elbuluk says, and a dermatologist can determine the best treatment plan for each patient based on the type and severity of their condition. Mild cases can typically be controlled with topical medications, she says, while moderate cases may warrant a combination of topical and oral medications. For patients with severe acne that is resistant to other treatments, oral isotretinoin may be the best option.
In addition to a prescription regimen, in-office procedures also may be helpful in treating adult acne, Dr. Elbuluk says. Chemical peels can supplement and accelerate the results of other treatments, she says, and laser procedures also may be an option for patients who don’t respond to traditional therapies.