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Skin Care by the Decade: The Twenties


By Tara Ichelson, Licensed Esthetician, Owner, Pretique SkinSpa

Skin undergoes a variety of changes as we age, and at times, these changes can even occur day by day simply by the habits we adopt. Yes, we all would love to have kept that baby soft skin from our youngest years, but unfortunately that’s not reality. Truth be told, changes in our skin and appearance can have many different effects on a person’s life, not just in the area of confidence, but more importantly, related to very real health concerns such as pigmentation, adult acne, and, of course, skin cancer. We are going to explore the importance of a skincare regimen related to different decades of life, and how we cannot only combat these issues, but also take steps to prevent them in the first place. Many people can be put off by a regimen, citing that it takes too much time, or that it’s too confusing. My job is to not only educate my clients on how we can implement a regimen in the time that can be committed to, but to also educate on why it’s important. When that happens, it’s as easy as brushing your teeth twice per day, and it’s never too early to start. In this month’s edition, we will focus on the 20-something years, and some effective tips to set the stage for later years and prevention of premature aging and other breakdowns in the skin.

Ah, the twenties, the time in our lives when school is finally finished and we start trying to figure out what we’re doing in the real world, with feelings of either invincibility, or complete cluelessness. There are new freedoms and stresses that come into play during this time period, from starting a new career to perhaps getting married and starting a family, and let’s not forget legally being able to participate in too many happy hours. This is also prime time for neglecting a skincare regimen when, in fact, the skin undergoes some of the most dramatic changes yet. But it’s never too soon to start a good routine, even if there isn’t a lot of time involved.

In our twenties, the cell production in the skin starts to slow down by a whopping four times. In our younger years, cells have complete cell turnover in five to seven days; when we hit our twenties, it becomes every 21 days on average. This means that the skin is susceptible to the start of pre-mature aging, lines around the eyes and mouth, and the start of photo damage from sun exposure in the form of age spots and freckling of the skin. Not to worry, there are easy solutions that can help, and, always remember, it’s easier to prevent than to repair.

In regards to a daily routine, the same standard applies with cleansing, treating, hydrating, and protecting the skin, no matter what type of skin you have. It’s good to begin adding in some sort of mild resurfacing at least twice per week, which can be done in the shower with a good exfoliator. There are many cleansers that have an exfoliating element already “built-in,” and these are great for convenience.

For those that prefer a deeper “scrub” a couple of times per week, be aware that not all exfoliators are created equal, some can actually be too abrasive to the skin depending on the type of granules that are used in the product. Look for something that offers a spherical bead or gentle deep cleanse, versus one that contains “scratchy” material in it. We want to reveal new and fresh skin, not create irritation. Also, if you have skin that has active breakouts, don’t use abrasive products on those areas, as they can become more inflamed and irritated, and essentially spread bacteria to other areas of the skin.

Homemade exfoliating masks are also an excellent and cost effective option that provides skin with the same great benefits. One of my favorite masks uses 1 tablespoon of ground oatmeal, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of water or olive oil. Mix them all up, apply to the face gently in a circular motion, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove the mask with a nice warm cloth. Voila. Oatmeal provides awesome benefits to the skin, can be used even on acne and sunburned skin, and leaves the skin nourished and hydrated.

Another great addition to the lineup is incorporating products that contain skin-loving antioxidants. This provides the skin with extra protection from free radicals, which are molecules that are produced by environmental exposures, such as smoke and harmful UV rays, which are a huge culprit in the breakdown of skin cells. Antioxidants also effectively help cells that haven’t yet become fully damaged from doing so. A few of the best antioxidants to look for are vitamin E, which boosts collagen production, and also vitamin C, which not only also assists in collagen production, but also provides a brightening benefit to the skin. Green tea is a fabulous antioxidant that can be found in many skincare products, and effectively reduces inflammation in the skin, while repairing cell damage, healing blemishes, and ridding the skin of impurities.

As always, my favorite and most important tip: sunscreen is a must. Protecting our skin with a broad spectrum SPF not only reduces the incidence of skin cancer, but will also play the biggest role in preventing premature aging, as the sun is responsible for 90 percent of the damage to our skin. With broad spectrum sunscreen being so readily available in most moisturizers and even makeup, there is no excuse to be unprotected.

In closing, the habits we adopt in our twenties will be the foundation for the condition of our skin in the following decades, and we can easily continue these necessary steps in our later years to keep our skin healthy and happy for years to come.

Tara Ichelson is a licensed esthetician and owner of Pretique SkinSpa in Bettendorf, Iowa. She offers professional luxury facials and skin treatments at practical prices, and is available for free skin consultations. Tara is available Tuesday–Saturdays by appointment only. Call 563-650-0290 to schedule an appointment or a free skin consultation. Visit www.pretiqueskinspa.com to view a service menu.

Photo credit: Alliance/Thinkstock