how skin changes in your 20s

Photo: Artem Varnitsin/Canva

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AGE: 28-ish
Change #1: Your acne. It's still here (sorry), but it's different than it was in your teens and even your early-to-mid 20s. "The late 20s is when women start to see hormonal acne—deep, cystic bumps in the chin and jawline area," says Lauren Ploch, MD, an Augusta, Georgia-based board-certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. The drying products you used to smother your whiteheads won't work as well on these hormonal breakouts, says Ploch.

What to do about it: Topical exfoliators, such as retinoids, can help, but sometimes oral antibiotics may be necessary to really get these breakouts under control, says Anne Chapas, MD, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center and the founder of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York. Talk to your dermatologist about what she'd recommend for you.

Change #2: The wrinkles you get when you smile or frown seem to be more visible, even when you're resting your face. It used to be that those lines would vanish whenever you weren't being expressive, but Ploch says this is the time when patients start to notice that they're becoming a little more permanent.

What to do about it: If you really want to put the kibosh on wrinkles for the long term and you're willing to commit to ongoing maintenance, you may want to consider Botox, says Ploch. But if you're looking for a less invasive option (because we get it, even though many women choose to do it, you may not be ready for the cost or commitment involved with starting Botox in your 20s), topical wrinkle-smoothers, such as retinoids, can help. (Some people find retinoids to be irritating, so start with gentler over-the-counter options, see how your skin responds and then ask your dermatologist if she'd recommend moving up to a prescription-strength version.)