After the roller coaster ride that is adolescence and the teenage years, most women are looking forward to a period of relative calm. And while it’s true that many things such as hormone levels and brain growth fall into place by her mid-20s, there are still a few changes in store that you should be aware of.
You’re Not Done With Acne
You’ve been told over and over again that acne is a “teenage thing” and that it will be over by the time you hit your 20s. While this may be true for some people, acne is inconsistent, unpredictable, and may stick around for much longer than you thought.
In fact, even if you never had acne during the teenage years, adult acne tends to show up around your mid-20s. If your breakouts are concerning, definitely see a dermatologist. Otherwise, the same rules that applied for your teenage years apply here: don’t pick or squeeze, don’t use harsh ingredients, wash your hands, and throw out old makeup.
Your Menstrual Cramps Might Get Worse
By the time you hit 25, your menstrual cycles have evened out quite a bit. However, this new regularity is the result of hormones doing their work, and one hormone in particular can make things a lot worse for you: prostaglandin.
Your levels of prostaglandin peak around your mid-20s, and it can cause your menstrual cramps to become quite serious and painful. This is where it becomes very important to stick to your yearly OB/GYN schedule, and to keep an open dialogue with your doctor, especially if the cramps are interfering with your life.
Your Weight Will Gradually Increase (and That’s Okay!)
It’s important to remember that in many ways, teenagers are still technically “children” and that means in terms of metabolism, bone density, and muscle tone. As you enter your mid-20s, your bone density peaks, your muscle tone will naturally be good, and you will begin settling into the figure you will probably have for much of your life.
This sometimes comes along with a slight increase in weight, and that increase may continue for several years. Just remember that there is a range of healthy weight, and as long as you are in that range, you’re fine. Don’t mourn over the jeans you could fit into when you’re 17. You don’t have the body of a 17-year-old anymore, you have the body of a 25-year-old, and it’s just as fun.
You Might Become Obsessed With Dieting
The creeping weight gain can really throw some young women for a loop, especially if you slide outside of the healthy range, or put on a lot of weight quickly (such as the dreaded freshman 15). Since your mid-20s may mark the first time you have ever struggled with your weight, your first inclination might be to try a crash diet, or to hyperfocus on your eating and activity level.
Eating disorders can sometimes develop for women in their mid-20s, and they are a serious condition which requires medical attention. If you find that you are overly fixated on counting calories, restricting your eating, or working yourself too hard in the gym, it is definitely time to have a chat with your doctor.
Depression Could Strike
The erratic mood swings of your teens are behind you now, and you are the new owner of a fully developed prefrontal cortex (most experts agree that this area of the brain finishes maturing around the mid-20s.) But while your moods may be evening out and settling down, pay close attention to whether or not they are settling down too low.
Some women experience the first symptoms of depression around their mid-20s. This can sometimes be brought on by the stress of things like college graduation, a first career, relationship changes such as a bad breakup or even a wedding, or truly being out on your own. There are many resources out there for people suffering from depression, but your absolute first stop should be your family doctor. They will point you in the right direction.
Your Skin Care Routine Needs to Get Serious
That bad sunburn you got last year took a long time to heal, didn’t it? And your skin doesn’t seem to bounce back from those nights were you forget to take your makeup off before bed. Your collagen levels are still quite high in your mid-20s, but premature aging can begin to take hold around this age, and it can happen faster than you think.
So, get serious about wearing sunscreen every day, all year, avoid harsh chemicals, use moisturizer, and be kind to your skin. The better you treat it now, the better it will look later.
You Might Have Trouble Growing Your Nails
If you were one of those teenagers who have never had a problem growing long nails, you may be frustrated to find your nails continually peeling, chipping, and breaking in your mid-20s. This is mainly thanks to the fact that your nail growth rate will slow considerably at this age.
Your best bet is to keep your nails at a shorter, healthier length where they are less likely to break.
You Really Need to Take Sexual Health Seriously
By the time the mid-20s roll around, a large majority of women in this age group are sexually active. Some may have been for many years at this point, and some may still be fairly new to the experience. The bottom line is that regardless of how much sex you are having, you need to use protection, continue getting regular OB/GYN checkups, and it couldn’t hurt to drink an occasional cranberry juice to help ward off UTIs (which can be caused by sex).
If you suspect any sort of STI (sexually transmitted infection) see your doctor immediately to discuss treatment options. Sexual health is a very important part of your overall health, and shouldn’t be ignored.