The Best Skin-Care Routine for 20-Somethings with Dry Skin

The Best Skin-Care Routine for 20-Somethings with Dry Skin

As much as we love TikTok for its useful information and DIY tips, it’s not the best place to get your skin-care advice. While the clock app has a grip on Gen Z, it shouldn’t be the main source for skin-care education as it’s easy to spread false info. Just ask the girl who accidentally used The Ordinary’s Peeling Solution every day instead of sparingly. Here, we tapped top skin-care experts to map out exactly what a 20-something year-old with thirsty skin should be doing to help maintain skin’s moisture barrier every day.

What is the best skin-care routine for a 20-something year old with dry skin?

“A nine-step routine is NOT necessary,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal. “You need to use a gentle cleanser to clean your skin of oils and pollution and follow this with a sunscreen moisturizer for your face and a moisturizer for your body. Anything more is a plus but isn’t necessary if you are young and have dry, sensitive skin.”

Baton Rouge, LA dermatologist Ann C. Zedlitz, MD shares that the ABCs to remember in your twenties are physical sunscreen, a vitamin C and topical tretinoin: “A physical sunscreen with titanium or zinc, along with a built-in moisturizer to help protect and hydrate is necessary,” she says. “A 15-percent concentrate vitamin C serum to build collagen and brighten the skin, and tretinoin to increase skin cell turnover, build collagen, tighten pores, and smooth overall texture. It’s great for acne too!”

Why type of moisturizer is best?

Because dry skin needs to replenish, Florham Park, NY dermatologist Dr. Shari Sperling says moisturizing with hyaluronic acid works to keep moisture in your skin to keep it looking and feeling healthy. 

Commack, NY dermatologist Lauren Penzi, MD says Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($30) and La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid ($34) are two drugstore favorites that work well to revive dry skin. “[Use] a hyaluronic acid product that acts as a humectant to help your skin to absorb moisture, followed by a lightweight moisturizer,” she explains.

Which ingredients, products or treatments should be avoided?

“Patients of all ages should avoid abrasive scrubs or exfoliants,” advises Dr. Zedlitz. “This can cause microscopic tearing of the skin’s surface and increases superficial blood vessels under the skin causing redness.”

What are the best products to use at night?

After gentle cleansing, Dr. Penzi says don’t shy away from retinol, even if you have dry, flaky or reactive skin. “Consider using a lower strength retinol or a gentle exfoliant, such as lactic acid, one to two nights per week,” she notes. “Then apply a generous layer of moisturizer on top. Don’t neglect your lips! Be sure to apply a hydrating lip balm at night as well.” 

What is something that everyone with dry skin should be doing?

Dr. Penzi says that while it might sound cliche, drinking more water is key. “Using a humidifier, especially during the harsher winter months can also be beneficial,” she adds. “Avoid exposing your skin to direct forced heat, as this can dry out your skin further.”

For in-office treatments, Dr. Zedlitz says the Hydrate Facial Infusion is the best choice. “This infuses hyaluronic acid through microneedling to the deeper layer of skin, leaving the skin hydrated, plump, and healthy,” she says.