beauty

'The 8 things I wish I knew about my skin in my twenties.'

Lifespace
Thanks to our brand partner, Lifespace

Six months ago I farewelled my twenties and welcomed my thirties.

I was warned by many that the moment you roll over that hill into your thirties, everything changes (like perspectives, priorities, and the age bracket I tick on forms!) – and boy, did I feel that shift. 

I swear I went to bed in my twenties and woke up in a new decade where my skin was also more temperamental than my 4-year-old running on zero sleep and hyped up on sugar.

However, this “sudden” shift in my skin was definitely more mental.

The reality was I woke up one day and tuned into focus on how my skin looked and felt, realising how much of it was a result of how I treated my body and skin throughout the last 10 years of my life.

I was fortunate to have avoided acne during my teenage years. 

I walked into puberty terrified of acne thanks to the stigma that surrounds it (like being a teenager isn’t brutal enough, let’s also navigate something else out of my control thanks to a hormonal change), but what I missed out on during my adolescence hit me tenfold when I reached my twenties. 

My adult acne was a combination of a poor skincare regime, accentuated by a combination of things that had I not been too lazy to action would’ve made a world of difference.

Adult acne in my twenties. Image: Supplied.

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So for those perhaps navigating these waters of temperamental skin, here are some things I wish I knew, or understood the gravity of, a lot sooner myself!

1. Sleep. As much of it as you can get.

I kick myself for not appreciating how important sleep is to your skin until it was ~rudely~ taken away from me by a newborn baby (oh, hi sleep deprivation, meet first time mum!).

We all know that a lack of sleep impacts on so many important things in your life (we're talking things like mood swings, lack of concentration, high blood pressure, diabetes, memory loss and heart issues, just to name a few) – and also your skin health.

I wish I know earlier that the skin cell regeneration (where the skin begins to repair itself on a cellular level, essentially producing new, fresh skin cells) happens faster at night. So, a lack of deep, quality sleep? This leads to skin losing its firmness and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Handy to know, now that I have some rather sexy designer eye bags that no amount of cold spoons are ever going to settle.

(Not to mention my lack of sleep ALWAYS means an increased amount of caffeine consumption which in turn affects how my skin looks and feels.)

Image: Supplied.

2. Skin health and gut health? Turns out they're sisters.

I didn't learn the term ‘gut-skin axis’ until I entered my thirties.

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Turns out when your skin is misbehaving (irritated and flared up with acne like mine sure was in my twenties), that it's not just an issue topically, but can be a reflection of what's going on in your gut too.

Dermatologists confirmed that your skin is actually a pretty powerful reflection of what’s happening on the inside, and skin issues such as acne, or mild eczema or psoriasis, are often indicators of an internal imbalance that needs 'correcting'. 

So basically: a common source of skin challenges can be when the gut-skin axis is out of balance, and unless you’re taking care of your ‘insides’, no amount of fancy skincare is going to shift what’s happening on the surface!

They really need to teach this stuff in school, right?

So, the key thing I wish I knew earlier essentially is to look after that microbiome of mine – the entire collection of microbes living in and on our body. Gut health issues can cause inflammation elsewhere in the body that can then lead to ongoing skin problems, so seeing a GP about it is definitely not something to put off if you feel yours isn't on track.

3. My skin really does reflect what I eat.

This honestly could not be more true personally.

I always noticed how my skin would break out badly after a week of questionable food choices (and lack of hydration, but we'll get into that!), versus weeks where I'd being much more conscious of preparing better foods for myself, and consumer a more balanced rotation.

It was obvious which weeks I'd enjoyed fast food and chocolate on more occasions than I usually would, because my skin would breakout worse than it would before my period came. Let’s not even talk about how my skin would feel after a night out.

After I saw the correlation between what I ate and how much skin responded I became more aware of the choices I would make during meal times. Something I definitely didn't take seriously in my early twenties that I wish I actually had!

4. Hydration all day, every day.

Around the same time as figuring out how food affected my skin concerns, I realised the amount of water I consumed also played a huge role. 

I will put both my hands up to say I am TERRIBLE when it comes to drinking water. 

There would be days that go by (I'm cringing) where I’d be lucky to have a glass of water... only multiple cups of coffee. I’d wake up the next day feeling like a prune.

Any mention of skin and self-care in my vicinity? I'll tell this to anyone who will listen, including my kids (who never asked!).

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Image: Supplied.

5. SPF, baby.

So, I definitely learnt a little too late that sunscreen isn’t just for when you go to the beach or hang by the pool in the heat of summer. 

Guilty as charged. I've since learnt so much from Leigh Campbell on this!

Very much to her credit, my mum harped on me about putting sunscreen on daily when I was a child and teenager, but as teenagers do... I didn’t listen – sorry Mum, you were 10000 per cent right on this one (amongst countless other things).

6. Clean your brushes.

My lazy side definitely hindered this one. 

It seems an obvious thing, especially if you wear makeup daily and can literally see they need cleaning from all the product build-up. 

Washing my brushes always felt like such a chore, then waiting for them to dry before I could use them again (*tiny violins*). But this was made into a much harder chore the longer I put it off – SO many layers of caked on foundation I could have avoided, and my blending was also questionable the ickier they got. Face palm. 

We all know it, but even if one person reading this needs reminding: daily grime from our makeup brushes transferring onto our faces can of course lead to breakouts, congestion and skin irritation. And those layers of oil that naturally come from your skin, mixed with makeup and dead skin cells (lovely) really do make brushes and sponges a breeding ground for bacteria.

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Wash those bad boys regularly, please!

7. We get you're sleepy. But take that makeup off.

We all know it’s basically a crime against skin to sleep in your makeup... your skin will not thank you for it (nor will your pillow, or those lashes you promised yourself you'd re-use). 

But I get it, sometimes it’s easier to just fall asleep with your 'going out' face on after a night of fun and dancing. If only they'd invent makeup that removed itself.

If you're aiming for better skin like I was hoping for in my twenties, then knowing the detriments of being lazy (sleepy) with your makeup removal can help deter you! Makeup can trap dirt and environmental pollutants inside the skin, which you don't want sticking around overnight while you're skin is trying to rejuvenate in your sleep (refer back to point 1!). 

Over time, leaving makeup on while you sleep can result in acne flare-ups (you guessed it) from clogged pores, a dry complexion, signs of premature aging and collagen degradation.

I wish I took this one way more seriously than I did all those years: taking 5 minutes to quickly cleanse those layers of makeup off. Even if you take a rain check on the whole skincare regime for one night, all is forgiven if just the cleanser gets used.

8. Exercise.

Who knew cracking a sweat would do wonders for the skin? (Not me in my twenties.)

Between the pearls of sweat and rush of endorphins, exercise detoxifies and de-stresses, which always leaves me in a more glow-y state both externally and internally.

It does after all, get that blood flow and circulation pumping.

I also find that when I exercise regularly, I feel great in my body and my skin generally behaves better, and I look (and feel) more vibrant. 

If only I realised this in myself sooner. But onwards and upwards!

And there we have it, the things I wish I knew and prioritised in my twenties when it came to my skin that honestly would’ve made a world of difference to me back then, and into my thirties! 

Shall I let you all know how I go in my forties?

What do you wish you knew about your skin in my twenties? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Lifespace
We’re Life-Space, Australia’s number one probiotic brand*. It’s our passionate belief that the next frontier in wellness is looking within and exploring the amazing world of our microbiome. Life-Space creates probiotic formulations; blending, packaging and quality-testing our products in Australia and distributing them around the world. If you have any concerns about your skin or for specific health advice, talk to your health professional. *IRI Aztec MarketEdge. Total Probiotics - Australian pharmacy and grocery (units) MAT to 13/02/2022.