Your 20’s are such a strange age. Not only is your life a little out of control, from leaving college to finally (hopefully, sooner than later!) scoring your first “real” job, but your body is still changing, too. When you’re trying to balance work responsibilities as well as a social life, your health can lose priority. Plus, you might be surprised with some of these unexpected changes that are actually pretty common during this decade. Here are 5 surprising age-related changes and what you can do about them.
1. Wicked Bad Cramps
For some of us, depending on when you first started your period, you might not experience one of its most dreaded side effects until you hit your 20s: painful menstrual cramps. The cause: prostaglandins, hormones produced by your body to assist the shedding of the uterine lining, are in peak production at this age.
Your defense: Exercise regularly, and start taking a pain reliever that contains Naproxen a few days before the onset of your period to dull the painful cramps. Also, those heating pads are a godsend.
2. Out-of-Nowhere Acne
Maybe you sailed through adolescence relatively zit free or your skin finally started to calm down, and now this! Believe me: I am right there with you. I swear I woke up on my 24th birthday with the complexion of a 13-year-old, and in a bad way. But, we’re not alone, according to a recent study from the American Academy of Dermatology, 45 percent of women between the ages of 21 and 26 will experience adult acne.
Your hormones are partially to blame, which definitely makes sense. Plus, stress and poor eating habits, as well as smoking (just say no!) can increase breakouts.
Your defense: Clean up your diet and avoid excessive starchy carbs and dairy products which have been linked to worsening acne. OTC acne meds and regular cleansing with a mild soap should also help. Consider trying products with retinols which were originally produced to fight acne (and bonus: will start preventing wrinkles, now!) and see your dermatologist if you’re still having trouble managing your skin.
3. Problems “Down There”
UTIs, STDs, yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis: All terribly unpleasant, and all common among women in their 20s. The biggest offender is sexual intercourse. While you should be enjoying your sex life, having too much of it or with too many different partners can cause infections and STD’s. In addition, stress, poor nutrition, dehydration, and drinking too much alcohol can also contribute to UTI’s.
Your defense: The three C’s: condoms, commitment (to one guy), and cranberry juice, which can help prevent UTIs in the first place. If you think you might have a yeast infection, see your doctor ASAP; they can provide a single dose RX pill that will clear it up in a snap. Plus, don’t forget your yearly pap smear.
4. Shorter Nails
Remember easily growing long, healthy nails in high school that you could paint crazy hues or always do a French mani on? Well, those days of easy growth are probably over. As you reach your 20s, you might notice your nails are shorter and break much more easily. This is a result of nail growth just naturally declining.
Your defense: Try multivitamins and Sally Hansen strengthener polish. But, regardless, short nails painted a dark shade are so much more chic.
5. A Slimmer Face
That “baby fat” you dealt with as a teen and in your early 20s will start to deflate as collagen in your face diminishes. As you age, subcutaneous fat decreases and you begin losing volume in your face, particularly in your cheeks.
Your defense: Enjoy it! If you hated your “chubby cheeks” in high school, you may soon have some striking cheekbones.
Have you experienced any of these strange age-related changes in your 20s? How have you dealt with the effects?