Skin Care In Your 20s: Do's and Don'ts

Derm Office Photo

Foxxtales stopped by The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City to get advice on how 20-somethings should be taking care of their skin. 

Dr. Alaleh Akhavan says that balancing acne prevention and aging prevention is a classic question that she gets from people in their early 20s. We are still battling our oily skin from when we were teenagers, but we have those fine lines that are starting to show. She says that your 20s is a great time to address both issues. We asked her the do’s and don’ts of taking care of your skin during this opportune time in our lives… 

Founder, Corinne Foxx, and Dr. Alaleh Akhavan sit down for a chat about skin care.

Founder, Corinne Foxx, and Dr. Alaleh Akhavan sit down for a chat about skin care.


DO: Consider using Retinol

“Retinol is a classic anti-aging product, but it’s also wonderful for acne. Making sure that you’re using a retinol product every evening can really help your skin. It’s available as a prescription, but it’s also available over the counter at varying strengths.”

“Retinoids can be very difficult to start using.  They can be very drying. You always want to pair with a night cream. Initially, sometimes, you put the night cream on first - then the retinol after for the first few weeks so you can get used to it. As your skin gets used to it, you can start putting retinol on as the first layer. Retinols help with fine lines and wrinkles, but are also very anti-acne. They help dark marks and acne scarring. It’s a very nice overall skin product to use.”

She also recommends Differin Gel

She also recommends Differin Gel

Dr. Akhavan recommends Neocutis Nouvelle as a Retionl cream

Dr. Akhavan recommends Neocutis Nouvelle as a Retionl cream


DON’T: Wait to moisturize your skin post-shower

“Moisturize within three minutes of getting out of the bath or shower. Just putting lotion on randomly doesn’t really do much. When you’re out of the bath or shower, you know how your fingers get wrinkly? That’s because they’re water logged. You want to seal that water into your skin. You can either put on something ointment based, like Vaseline or Aquaphor, or something cream-based, like Cerave or Cetaphil.  

Cervae Cream

do: Have a routine

“Your 20s are a great time to start building a routine for yourself. You can start learning that self care of getting up in the morning and putting something on and, before bed, taking that moment to honor your skin and put something on before you go to sleep.”

“There’s a basic structure to what I think every skin care routine should have. You want to start with a very gentle cleanser. You don’t want anything too harsh in the morning. Next, a sun screen, every. single. day. So, washing your face and a sunscreen in the morning are your basics. For the evening, I would do a gentle wash again to take any makeup off. Then, hang out at home a little bit and let some oils build up on your face. That’s a little protection from any dryness. Then right before bed, apply your retinol cream (just a pea-size amount). Then, apply your night cream on top and go to bed.”

Gentle Face Wash
PM Night Cream

DON’T: Miss your annual skin check

“In terms of your annual skin check, I would say baseline: once a year. If your dermatologist feels that you need to do extra (suspicious moles), then you can schedule ones more frequently. ”

DO: Visit a dermatologist, if you have more specific skin care needs

“If you have true acne scarring or you’re still getting acne, over the counter products are great; but you might want to go to a board-certified dermatologist and get a prescription product you can use.”


DON’T: Go overboard on the products

“People come into my office today with bags full of products. It’s $50 for this and $60 for that. They’re buying hundreds and hundreds of dollars of products. It’s become this fun thing to go to the store and buy the next product. I recommend to just simplify your routine. Let’s start really slow. My patients say, ‘“but it’s fun to buy all these products.” And I say, “Isn’t it more fun to spend your money on a massage or a facial?” Touché. 


DO: Wear sunscreen every. single. day. 

“Sunscreen every single morning. That should just be part of your routine. It should not even cross your mind to not do that.”

Dr. Alaleh Akhavan recommends using a water resistant sunblock in the warmer months to combat all that sweating, like Elta MD UV Elements

Dr. Alaleh Akhavan recommends using a water resistant sunblock in the warmer months to combat all that sweating, like Elta MD UV Elements

She also recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Face Mineral.

She also recommends La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Face Mineral.


Foxxtales would like to thank Dr. Akhavan and The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City for partnering on this post. 

Visit dermatologyandlasergroup.com for more information or to schedule your next appointment.

Share your favorite beauty routine in the comments!