Back to Basics: A Few IMPORTANT Skincare Tips

Back to Basics: A Few IMPORTANT Skincare Tips

Double board-certified Dermatologist Angela Casey MD shares some basic tips on understanding your skin in your teens and 20s, how it works, and how to care for it. A teenage or college skincare routine with clean, pH-balanced skincare products will help you achieve skin that glows and performs!


  • Use skincare products that work with your skin's pH. During your teens and early 20s, your skin is going through many hormonal fluctuations. Skincare that works with your skin will set you on the path to balanced and  well-maintained skin.
  • Consider switching from your bar soap to a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser.
  • Soaps are very alkaline and can irritate the skin barrier which has a slightly acidic pH.  A pH-balanced, gentle cleanser works with your skin's pH and cleanses without creating additional inflammation in your skin.

Water Temperature

Choose the right water temperature when you wash your skin.
  • Although a nice, hot shower may seem cozy and comforting, that hot water is very bad for your skin. 
  • Ideally, lukewarm water should be used to wash your face and your body. Water that is too hot will actually draw moisture out of your skin, leaving it dryer and more irritated.


Proper skin hydration is fundamental to healthy, glowing skin. To optimally hydrate teen skin and skin in your 20s, consider a combination approach:

  • Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, aloe, and glycerin, draw water into the skin. Hyaluronic acid can actually absorb 1000 times its weight in water.
  • Moisturizing ingredients like ceramides and fatty acids repair the skin barrier.
  • Occlusives such as silicones, coconut oil, or shea butter that prevent water loss from the skin. By preventing transepidermal water loss, these products form a protective barrier over the skin surface.
  • Seek non-comedogenic moisturizers.


    Always keep your skin protected from the sun!

    • Sunscreen is the single most important skincare product that you can apply to your skin. Prevention is key when it comes to attaining healthy, glowing skin.
    •  Any time you are outdoors exercising, attending sporting events, enjoying meals outdoors with friends, or vacationing, you should absolutely be wearing sunscreen (and consider a wide-brimmed hat)!
    • 90% of skin damage is directly related to ultraviolet (UV) exposure, and sunscreen is the first line of defense in protecting our skin from the damaging rays of the sun.
    • Most individuals don't apply the amount of sunscreen needed to achieve the SPF rating on the sunscreen products. In fact, studies show that in general, most of us apply enough to achieve only HALF of the SPF rating on a sunscreen product. So that SPF 30 that you're wearing is likely closer to an SPF 15. The recommended amount of sunscreen is 2mg per square  centimeter of skin. A full shot glass (1 fl oz) is generally enough to cover full face and body of the average adult. A half teaspoon is typically adequate for the face and neck.
    • I recommend an SPF of at least 30 for my patients. I prefer mineral sunscreens (that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients). Teen skin can be sensitive and acne-prone; mineral sunscreens tend to be less irritating and offer broad-spectrum coverage.
    • For those with very fair skin, I typically recommend an SPF 44 or higher.
    • Choose sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
    • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when you are outdoors; many sunscreen ingredients are broken down upon exposure to sunlight. Over the course of a day, that sunscreen that you applied in the morning becomes fairly ineffective. 

    Skincare in your teens and 20s can be confusing! Breaking it down to basic helps you understand the Why's of your skincare products and routine...and this skin health knowledge stays with you, lifelong.

    Stay BRIGHT!

    --Dr. Angela