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Here at TIA, we are getting more and more mail asking for age-specific advice ("I am 33 and fancy that at a certain angle I can see my first wrinkle, but I have acne and a job that requires me to where theatrical make up.... so what should I do?"). We can't really provide personal consultations, but we will start to offer more decade-directed regimes and condition-related product reviews. Please suggest ideas and make requests so that we can improve TIA and make it more useful for you.
In the meantime, I thought I'd pull together some ideas for a regime for 20-somethings. I should be leaving this to TIA's resident 20-something, Copley (who, I hope, will weigh in with many more ideas), but it did strike me that the distance of years can provide some honest perspective. After all, when I look back I must admit that I wasn't very well behaved in my twenties. I smoked, drank (at lunchtime!!!) and regarded make up remover as an item of skin care. Breakouts were the bane of my life and were mostly self-induced by late nights and a crappy diet. At some point, a friend introduced me to Clinique's three-step thing and, at the very least, I started washing my face thoroughly.
Which brings me to the best piece of advice I can muster for a 20-something just starting to think about skin care: ditch the bar of soap. A decent cleanser is probably the best investment you can make (although, of course, its never too soon to start using sunscreen). If you are flush, look no further than Tracie Martyn's Amla ($65). This has anti-aging ingredients, so you'll be getting a head start and it will calm the most irritable of skins. Added bonus: it removes make up. In our recent Five Best facial cleanser round up, we also gave a call out to Suki's Lemongrass Exfoliating Cleanser ($29.95), which isn't necessary for everyday use but will do wonders for party-jaded complexions.
A once-a-week skin-cleansing makeover (and let's face it, you are not yet at the age when a monthly facial at a salon is an absolute necessity) will work wonders for maintaining an under-30 glow. For a great product at an even better price, look no further than Yes To Carrrots C Is For Clean Facial Mud Peeling Mask ($17.50 for a two-pack). You will be nourished by botanicals and squeaky clean.
In an ideal world, I'd be recommending a moisturizer/sunscreen combo to save you time and effort (after all, it's all too often that you ignore the alarm and end up making a mad dash to the office). Unfortunately, you may no longer have teenage acne, but you are still in the era of the zit and there's nothing like a chemical sunscreen and an indifferent moisturizer for setting you off. You could try Devita's Solar Protect with a zinc oxide sunscreen that's won't irritate and soothing aloe vera. It does contain vegetable oil, so if you do break out this could be the culprit. If you want high protection that never causes any skin issues, try Fallene Solar Protection, SPF 65. However, if you are in the market for a step-skipping product, you could try Abella's Colorshade tinted sunscreen, recently given an enthusiastic recommendation by Kate.
As far as a moisturizer is concerned, it's probably best to opt for oil free. Juice Beauty does a good, well priced one that is made for blemishy, oily or combo skins. Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer ($24) has the brand's signature apple juice as a base plus white grape, pomegranate and aloe vera. Jurlique's botanical-rich Biodynamic Beauty Refining Treatment ($35) would also be a good call and Stem Organics Hydrating Fluid ($47) has only good things for dry skin.