Ruth Griffin: Millennial skincare SOS
Are women in their 20s being sold a message of 'make-up' over 'skincare'?
'Computer face', 'phone face', 'tech neck' 'phacne', digital skin ageing and environmental damage are only some of the skin health challenges that now face women in their 20s - challenges that, by and large, didn't exist for me in mine.
Millennials are a very informed, groomed generation, with millions of beauty bloggers and vloggers, non-stop Instagram scrolling and cosmetic lines available online instantly - but is this constant digital gazing affecting a generation of women's skin? Is there too much of an emphasis on make-up techniques as opposed to skincare? Your 20s are a time to mind your skin, to avoid making mistakes you will end up spending a fortune trying to undo in later years. There is a misconception that 20-something women don't need to think about their skin yet. Read on for my top skin health tips to keep in mind in your 20s…
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6 of the best skin savers for 20-somethings
● For green goddesses
Check out this super soothing and nourishing face mask with lavender and papaya - Dublin Herbalists Restorative Gel Face Mask (€29.95, dublinherbalists.ie). Another great option is the vegan and certified natural brand Dr. Konopka's: their Natural Moisturizing Body Cream with lavender and organic rosehip oil is divine (€9.95, available from pharmacies nationwide).
● For the complexion-conscious
Nimue Skin Technology Age Intelligent is a skincare line specifically created to deal with Skin damage due to climate change - the Nimue Night Cream (€140, nimueskin.com and selected salons nationwide) is a nourishing cream with Colloidal Platinum and acetyl tetra-peptide-17 to target the uneven skin tone and skin fatigue that occurs with environmental skin damage. The gorgeous Helena Christensen is both the face of and an investor in this line, so it must be doing something good!
● For screen junkies
Dermatologists are only now discovering some of the skincare issues that can arise with prolonged screen use (see our Tips on page 16) and women in their 20s will be particularly affected by these. To combat this type of damage, look for mineral SPFs - try Avène Very High Protection Mineral Cream (€19, pharmacies nationwide).
● For pretty peepers
Pharmacist Laura Dowling maintains that women in their 20s should start using an eye cream by at least 25. Try the make-up artists' and models' secret weapon for their peepers: Embryolisse Radiant Eye Cream, (€28.50, available from Boots and selected pharmacies nationwide). Fans of this little gem include the gorgeous Elle Macpherson, Yasmin Le Bon and Scarlett Johansson.
● For cleansing queens
Women in their 20s use the greatest amount of make-up (especially foundation and contouring/face powders) compared to all other age groups. To ensure your skin is deeply clean, look to double (and even triple!) cleansing. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil (€35, exclusive to Arnotts) is a soothing, natural, non-comedogenic oil that doubles up as an eye make-up remover. Consider following that with Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm (€55, Harvey Nichols). Note: Use your normal cleansing method after oil.
● For hero hydration
This line from Lancôme was specifically designed for millennials' dermatological issues and inspired by the world leaders in skincare technology - the Koreans. During our 20s, our skin doesn't usually need a huge amount of heavy hydration, so instead of a cream, try Énergie de Vie The Liquid Care Moisturiser (€30, from department stores nationwide).
10 skincare essentials for your 20s
1. Women in their 20s are now suffering from neck sagging and loss of tone, which used to only occur in middle age: an unwelcome side effect of our phone obsession and constantly staring downwards. Avoid 'tech neck' by moisturising your neck whenever you do your face.
2. Start using SPF on the back of your hands in your 20s, as well as your face, neck and chest to ward off future age spots and wrinkling.
3. Beat 'phacne' (phone acne) by cleaning your phone daily with an antibacterial screen wipe - this will stop pimples and breakouts caused by bacteria present on your phone, especially if you wear make-up.
4. Counteract 'computer face'. Premature skin ageing caused by screens has been dubbed 'computer face', as older CRT (cathode ray tube) desktop monitors were found to emit UV light, which can result in skin damage (happily, newer monitors and laptops have LCD/LED/plasma screens and do not emit UV rays). However, we still need to grapple with high-energy visible (or HEV) light, commonly known as the blue light from your TV, computer and smartphone. Research on the specific effects of HEV light is still developing, but what scientists do know is that this light penetrates skin more deeply than UV rays - and studies on the way HEV impacts DNA lead them to believe that it could accelerate photoageing. One of the only HEV protection sunscreens available is HEVL Sun Protection SPF 50 Face Crème, €22 from skinshop.co.uk
5. Start using an eye cream from 25 onwards. The skin around your eyes is thinner and ages faster than any other part of your face, and will begin to crease in your 20s.
6. Protect against environmental skin damage. This generation of women and younger will potentially suffer the worst and longest from this skincare concern, due to our changing climate and increased access to travel. Wear an SPF and use a designated anti-pollution nourishing cream at night if you feel your skin is being damaged.
7. Cleanse properly. Consider double cleansing (i.e. cleaning your face twice: the first cleanse removes surface grime; the second cleans more deeply). Use an oil-based cleanser if you wear a lot of make-up - I've yet to find a better way to remove make-up as quickly and gently - followed by a foam-based, rinse-off cleanser or wipe-off milk/gel.
8. Embrace your inner beauty. Millennials are nudging the beauty industry and older generations of women to adapt to their way of thinking regarding food as both medicine and as a beauty booster. A healthy diet = healthy skin, hair and nails.
9. Boost your collagen. Consider starting a skin supplement like collagen or omega oils from your late 20s, as collagen reaches peak production at 25 and starts to decrease. Try Advanced Nutrition Supplements Skin Collagen Support, €80, from Harvey Nichols, Dublin. NB: Always consult a doctor before taking supplements.
10. Go natural. Many studies show that women in their 20s are looking for more natural, vegan skincare options free from harsh ingredients - 74pc of millennials want 'clean beauty' product options that are ethically sourced and maintain a green business ethos, as a logical continuation of the clean-eating, wholefood approach to nutrition.