It doesn't matter how old you are—everyone wants beautiful skin. But it's not just a matter of slathering on myriad creams, gels, and elixirs to treat skin issues—your lifestyle has a lot to do with how your complexion looks and feels. Topical treatments work best when paired with eating the right foods—it's the one-two punch skin needs to repair itself from the inside out.
The typical 20-something schedule is hectic at best. Between figuring out a career path, going out with friends until the wee morning hours, and spending time outdoors, your skin takes a beating. Plus, acne might still be an issue. The good news is, at this age, your skin is at its most resilient, but that window is short. The time to protect your skin and repair any damage is right now.
Eat your way to clearer skin
Science is uncovering more poof that what we eat really does affect our skin–both positively and negatively. High glycemic foods, or foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, are linked to an increase in acne in adults. These foods tend to increase inflammation in the body and often have chemicals and additives that have a toxic effect on skin. Cutting out the processed stuff and saying goodbye to excess sugar will cause an immediate change in the tone and clarity of your skin.
Do yourself a solid by eating low glycemic foods and getting friendly with antioxidant-heavy foods like sprouts, blueberries, hazelnuts, and turmeric that will help your skin fight damaging free radicals. Plus, these foods help inflammation, which combats redness and prevent acne from cropping up.
Wash, tone, and protect
Repeat after us: I will wash my face before I go to bed. Sorry, but this is a non-negotiable step in the skincare regimen of your twenties. Use a cleanser that will simultaneously clean off makeup residue and fight bacteria and clogged pores. At this age, chemicals and retinols are unnecessary, so stick with the natural stuff to protect your skin. After all, your skin is the largest organ in your body and essentially absorbs everything that you apply, so think carefully about what you smooth on your skin. If your skin is oily, try a toner that will balance oils without overly drying–witch hazel is a life saver for aggravated, broken out skin. Finally, use a sunscreen daily. Try a tube that’s got a nice high SPF rating and the antioxidant benefits of green tea to help protect your sensitive skin from future wrinkles and dark spots.
These supplements will save your skin
Because your diet may not be the most stable and conscientious (hey, now's the time you can get away with a chocolate chip cookie here and there), use supplements to make sure your skin is getting the nourishing vitamins it needs. Zinc is your best friend when it comes to fighting acne; many sufferers are deficient in the mineral, which assists in wound healing, inflammation, and fighting bacteria. Try a daily supplement, or work it into your diet with pumpkin seeds, kale, and Brazil nuts. Because gut health has also been linked to acne, adding a probiotic into your routine can aid in your quest for glowing, clear skin.
Biggest takeaways for a 20-something who's looking to get their best skin ever? Wash your face everyday (no matter what!), use sunscreen, and take notice of your diet if you're fighting acne and oily skin. When you push 30, 40, 50, and beyond, you'll be very happy you did.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont