Best Skin Care Products for 20s
It is not too early to begin preventative skincare and get on a dermatologist-recommended skin care routine in your 20s.
I am a dermatologist, author and researcher who is passionate about matching skin types to skin care routines. I developed a skin typing system used by dermatologists.
Knowing your Baumann Skin Type will allow you to shop for products and read reviews by your skin type.
It is the best way to find the right skin care in your 20's.
Does the skin start aging at 20?
80% of people in their 20s already have habits that speed skin aging.
If you have these habits, begin an antiaging skincare routine because you are more likely to have a wrinkle-prone skin type.
- frequent sun exposure,
- poor diet
- little-to-no sunscreen use
- tobacco use
- lack of sleep
- high sugar consumption
Our data from 10,295 people under the age of 20 shows that 79.8% have these lifestyle habits that are increasing their risk of skin aging. (1)
Is it normal to have wrinkles in your 20s?
If you have had alot of sun exposure, you may already have wrinkles in you 20s.
Getting Botox injections and beginning a retinoid can help prevent further development of wrinkles.
Is 20 too old to start skin care?
It is never too late to begin a good skin care routine!
Dermatologist skin care tips for your 20s
Why Do I need Antiaging Skincare in my 20s?
If our skin type quiz tells you that you are a wrinkle prone skin type, this means you have some lifestyle habits such as increased sun exposure that make you more likely to age. Cumulative DNA damage play an important role in aging. It damages cells and these injuries require cellular energy to repair the damage. You want to try and stop this as early as possible. When UV rays touch the skin cell's DNA, damage occurs. Although your body has DNA repair enzymes to repair the damage, they do not always work perfectly well. So the more repair that needs to happen, the more likely you are to have residual damage. Uing a SPF every am starting in your 20s is an important step.
Two main skincare ingredients give your cells the needed energy for DNA repair: Coenzyme Q10 and niacinamide.
You also need an antioxidant in your morning skin routine to help protect your skin from any UV rays or light that makes it past your sunscreen. Antioxidants like Vitamin C and green tea can help prevent cellular damage that adds up and leads to skin aging.
Should I Splurge or Save on Antiaging Skincare?
Our custom skincare routines will give you choices of products from various brands and price points. This will help you know when it is time to splurge on expensive antiaging serums or save money with cheaper drugstore products that are within your budget.
I find that many people are spending way too much money on night creams in their 20s that they don’t need yet, that are ineffective, or that are not right for their Baumann Skin Type. I will discuss which night creams and other treatment serums are the best for your young skin to prevent aging. We call this “prejuvenation of skin”.
See if you need antiaging skincare products
Best Anti-Aging Products for 20s
Antiaging Serums for 20s
Which antiaging ingredients are best for skin in your 20s? The antiaging serum that is right for you depends upon your skin type and lifestyle habits.
If you get a lot of sun exposure, you need to use an antioxidant serum under your sunscreen.
Types of antioxidant serums include Vitamin C serums or serums that contain other antioxidants like Vitamin E, resveratrol, green tea and other antioxidants.
There are several categories of antiaging serums to consider:
Vitamin C Serums
Vitamin C Serums for Antiaging in Your 20s
The best antioxidant serum for your 20s is a Vitamin C serum unless you have sensitive skin. (Sensitive skin types need serums with anti-inflammatory ingredients). Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, helps your skin make collagen to keep it strong and smooth. It is also a strong antioxidant that helps neutralize any free radicals that occur due to sun or pollution exposure.
Here are some of our favorite Vitamin C serums to prevent skin aging by protecting your skin’s collagen.
Hyaluronic Acid Serums in Your 20s
Hyaluronic acid serums (HA serums) temporarily plump up skin cells to make your skin look dewy and hydrated by binding water and holding it on the surface of your skin.
They are a good moisturizer for oily skin types. However, HA serums do not prevent aging as their effects are only temporary. T
hey are usually very expensive, but they are not worth splurging on when your goal is to prevent wrinkles.
Growth Factor Serums for Your 20s
There are many types of anti-aging serums that have growth factors.
However, in your 20s, it I best to stick with retinol, antioxidant serums, or Vitamin C serums because they play a role in preventing skin aging.
You do not need growth factors serums in your 20s.
We also do not know about the safety of growth factors long term.
Should I Use Retinol in My 20s?
Yes!! Retinol, tretinoin, and other retinoids are great to use in your 20s if you are Wrinkle-prone Baumann Skin Type. Our data[i] shows that over 80% of people below the age of 30 have lifestyle habits that make it appropriate for them to use a retinoid. If you choose to use a retinoid, you need to use it in the correct step in the regimen because what you use before and after retinoids will effect how well they work and the side effects that you experience.
The science of how retinoids prevent skin aging is very interesting. If you are a science lover like me- click here to learn more about retinoid science. Beginners should start with a low strength retinoid. Here are our favorite low strength retinoids:
Best Anti-Wrinkle Creams for 20s
Dry skin types often prefer creams instead or serums. You can also layer creams over antiaging serums. If you choose to use a serum and a cream, use the serum first and apply the moisturizing cream on top. The only time this varies is with retinol. When beginning a retinol, you should put it on top of your moisturizer. This link explains when to use retinol and moisturizers in your skincare routine. Retinoids and Vitamin C in a jar are not effective because air and light get into the jar when the lid is open and inactivate these unstable ingredients. So if you choose cream with these ingredients- pick an airless pump rather than a jar.
Best Antiaging Eye Creams for 20s
The same ingredients that I discussed above help prevent aging around the eyes. However- the best bet is to wear sunscreen around your eyes. Our favorite antiaging eye creams are here:
I’m sure it is no surprise to you that most important skincare product to preventing skin aging and wrinkling in your 20s is sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 every day. Many people don’t think about SPF as antiaging- but it is!
If you have oily skin, you can use your sunscreen instead of a moisturizer. Any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, but don’t rely exclusively on SPF powder. You need a gel, lotion or cream sunscreen for the best protection. You can layer sunscreen powder over sunscreen to cut the shine and give your skin a matte finish. Tinted sunscreens protect your skin from light from your phone and computer skin because they contain iron oxides that are not in untinted sunscreens. So - consider a tinted sunscreen instead of makeup foundation. Darker skin tones and men prefer tinted sunscreens because they do not make the skin appear white. Here are some of our favorite tinted sunscreens:
Skin Care in your 20s
What should my skin care routine be in my 20s?
In your 20s, your skincare routine should target any barriers to skin health that are keeping your skin from being as beautiful and healthy as possible.
Your skin care products should target any of these skin issues that you have:
- Uneven Pigmentation
The best way see if you skin has any of these problems is to take our dermatologist developed skin type quiz and get specific skin care routine advice for your 20's skin.
Dermatologist Recommended Skincare Routine for Your 20s
If you went to a dermatologist, they would assess your skin for acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dark spots on the face such as melasma and recommend a skincare routine to treat all of your issues. In many cases, several of these skin problems can occur at the same time. For example, you may have acne that leaves a dark spot when the pimple heals. Dark spots are very common in darker skin types with acne. Your dermatologist would prescribe a skin lightener to treat the dark spots in addition to acne medications. If you also had facial redness and skin pigmentation, that would require different skin care products which is why it's so important to diagnose your skin type.
Your skincare routine will depend on your skin’s problems. What most 20-year-olds do wrong with skincare is they buy products that target one skin concern instead of having an entire routine that addresses all issues. Dry skin types that have acne are a perfect example. Many acne medications are drying so if you are not using skincare for dry skin, acne medications will irritate your skin and you will not be able to tolerate your acne regimen. Using the right cleansers and moisturizers for your Baumann Skin Type will help other products in your skincare routine work better.
How To Take Care of Your Skin in Your 20s
Once you know your Baumann Skin Type, it is important to realize it can change with time. If you move to a new city for college, or you begin oral contraceptives, or your stress level, diet, sleep patterns, or exercise routine changes, your skin type can change, too. So, if you feel that your skincare routine is no longer working for you, we recommend that you retake the quiz.
Best sunscreen for your 20s
The number one best skincare product to use in your 20s is sunscreen EVERY SINGLE DAY! Are you doing this? If you aren't, ask yourself “Why not? “ Sunscreen is absolutely proven to slow skin aging, even skin tone, and protect your skin from developing inflammation from ultraviolet radiation damage. If you are in your 20s and have not found a sunscreen you like, then I bet you are not shopping by your Baumann Skin Type. That’s the best way to find products that feel good and work well on your skin. Here are our favorite tinted sunscreens that you can use instead of makeup to protect your skin from the sun and the blue light emitted from your devices.
Best Facial Cleanser for Your 20s
The second most important product that 20 years olds should carefully choose is a facial cleanser since using the wrong kind can lead to skin dehydration, inflammation, pigmentation, and skin aging. The type of cleanser that will work best for you depends upon your skin type and skin concerns. For example, if you have facial redness and sensitive skin, consider an anti-inflammatory cleanser such as the face washes recommended by dermatologists for rosacea. Preventing inflammation at an early age will help reduce overall skin damage and keep your skin tone even.
Best Moisturizer for Your 20s
The third most important product is a moisturizer. The best moisturizer for your 20s depends upon the presence or absence of these issues:
You can click on any of the links above for more information, or you can take the quiz to properly diagnose your skin type. The results will generate your fully customizable routine and allow you to choose from a variety of moisturizers that are right for your Baumann Skin Type.
For example, if you have dry skin, then a barrier repair cream layered over top of a serum that targets your skin's issues will likely work best.
These are our favorite Barrier Repair Creams:
How To Take Care of Your Skin in Your 20s
Know your Baumann Skin Type®
Use a skin care routine customized for your skin type
Start preventative skin care
Try a tinted sunscreen instead of facial foundation
Start Vitamin C in am if you get alot of sun
Start retinol in pm if you get alot of sun
Don't over exfoliate
Preventative skin care in your 20s is known as "prejuvenating the skin". It is much easier to prevent wrinkles now than to treat them when you are older.
Once you know your skin type, read product reviews from others with the same Baumann Skin Type as you.
Browse our skincare library to learn all about skincare products, ingredients, and any other skincare science you are interested in.
What should my skin care routine be in my 20s?
The best skin care regimen for 20 year olds depends upon what skin issues you have.
So- you really need to know your Baumann Skin tTpe.
But- here are dermatologists-recommended skin care routine tips for all 20 years olds to do every day for their skin:
Wear a SPF of at least 15
Tinted SPF protects you from aging light from your phone
Wash face every night to prevent clogged pores
Biggest Skincare Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s
I know it's hard not to get enticed by the latest skincare products on social media, but don’t waste your time and money, and risk your skin’s health by using the wrong products. The biggest mistakes that I see my patients making are:
Incorrectly guessing their skin type
Only treating one skin problem rather than all of the problems
Using the wrong products
Using products that cancel each other out
Getting procedures done that they do not need and/or that damage skin
Best Skincare Routine for Your Late 20s
In your late 20s, the skincare advice is the same as in your early and mid-20s with the exception that you will likely need to begin adding antiaging ingredients to your routine. The exact age to begin using antiaging products depends upon your Baumann Skin Type and lifestyle habits, but in most cases, it is the late 20s. To learn more about how to prevent aging skin in your 20s, click here.
References and Medical Publications about skin care in your 20s and skin type :
- Data on file as of 6/29/2022 from over 29,000 participants
- Baumann, L. (2006). The skin type solution: a revolutionary guide to your best skin ever. Bantam.
- Baumann, L. (2008, 2012, 2019). Cosmetics and Skin Care in Dermatology. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 7t, 8th and 9th eds. New York: McGraw Hill.
- Baumann, L. (2020). 14 A Scientific Approach to Cosmeceuticals. The Art of Aesthetic Surgery, Three Volume Set: Principles and Techniques.
- Baumann, Leslie S. “The Baumann Skin Typing System” in Farage MA, et al. Textbook of Aging Skin Skin. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (2017): 1579-1594.
- Baumann, L. (2009). The Baumann skin-type indicator: a novel approach to understanding skin type. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, 3rd Edition, Informa Healthcare, New York, 29-40.
- Baumann, L. (2008). Understanding and treating various skin types: the Baumann Skin Type Indicator. Dermatologic clinics, 26(3), 359-373.
- Hong, J. Y., Park, S. J., Seo, S. J., & Park, K. Y. (2020). Oily sensitive skin: A review of management options. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 19(5), 1016-1020.
- Shin, Y. B., Kwon, C. I., Jo, J. W., Jeong, H. B., Moon, Y. S., Jung, E. C., ... & Yoon, T. J. (2018). P199: Baumann skin type in outpatient. ????? (? ???), 70(2), 457-457.
- Park, J. W., Park, S. J., Park, K. Y., Ahn, G. Y., Seo, S. J., & Kim, M. N. (2019). P062: A study on the correlation of skin types with genetic factors and environmental factors in Koreans. ????? (? ???), 71(2), 354-354.
- Lee, Y. B., Ahn, S. K., Ahn, G. Y., Bak, H., Hong, S. P., Go, E. J., ... & Goo, J. W. (2019). Baumann Skin Type in the Korean Male Population. Annals of Dermatology, 31(6), 621-630.
- Ahn, S. K., Jun, M., Bak, H., Park, B. D., Hong, S. P., Lee, S. H., ... & Park, K. (2017). Baumann skin type in the Korean female population. Annals of dermatology, 29(5), 586-596.
- Choi, J. Y., Lim, J. Y., Kim, H. S., Min, J., Kim, J. I., Seo, H. M., ... & Kim, W. S. (2015). P241: A study on Korean womens skin types by baumann skin type questionnaire. ????? (? ???), 67(2), 501-502.
- Kim, B. K., Choe, S. J., Lee, S. H., Min, P. K., & Hana, B. (2014). P110: Analysis of Baumann skin type in Korean women. ????? (? ???), 66(2), 355-355.
- Roberts, W. E. (2009). Skin type classification systems old and new. Dermatologic clinics, 27(4), 529-533.
- Choi, J. Y., Choi, Y. J., Nam, J. H., Jung, H. J., Lee, G. Y., & Kim, W. S. (2016). Identifying skin type using the Baumann skin type questionnaire in Korean women who visited a dermatologic clinic. Korean Journal of Dermatology, 54(6), 422-437.