It’s never too early to implement a good skin care regime — even in your 20s, where there’s often little evidence of sun damage. How you treat your skin when you are young will set the stage for how it will age into your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Here are some tips to help you age gracefully:
1. Start with a mild cleanser appropriate to your skin type. If your skin is
normal, you need only to wash it once prior to bed. If you are nearing or are
in your 30s, or suffering from acne, use a cleanser with Alpha Hydroxy Acids
(AHA) in the morning to encourage exfoliation. Wash with a moisturizing
cleanser in the evening.
2. Moisturize! Apply a moisturizing cream every morning following your cleansing.
If you really want to be proactive, or are nearing your 30s, choose a face
cream with antioxidants such as green tea or vitamin C. You may also want to
start wearing an eye cream. For dark circles, select an eye cream with vitamin
C, soy or kojic acid; to decrease puffiness, choose one with caffeine.
3. Block those UV rays! Sun damage is cumulative over your lifetime. Regular use
of SPF 35 or greater is essential. One of the biggest mistakes people make with
SPF is never reapplying in the sun; you should reapply sunscreen every 1 to 1.5
hours. Another big mistake is not applying enough sunscreen. Remember to use
one full dollop per body part.
4. In the evening, use an oil-free moisturizer or hydrating fluid. As you get into
your late 20s/early 30s, start on vitamin A-derivative prescription retinoids
(like Retin-A) for reducing fine lines, stimulating collagen and treating acne.
You may also use less potent, over-the-counter retinol products. Apply a
pea-size amount all over your face and under your eyes.
5. You are what you eat. Drink plenty of water and avoid yo-yo dieting, which
takes a toll on your body and can cause skin to sag prematurely. Eating
colorful vegetables such as kale and spinach, and other anti-aging superfoods
like figs, garlic and raw nuts have proven to delay signs of aging and improve
6. Do not smoke! Smoking sucks oxygen out of your skin and destroys
microcirculation, which causes premature aging and facial pallor, as well as a
myriad of health complications.
Aging gracefully is truly a combination of preventative skin care and a healthy
lifestyle. While it is most beneficial to start in your 20s and 30s, it is
never too late to develop a daily skin care routine and a healthier way of
life. Individuals concerned with signs of aging should consult with a
board-certified facial plastic surgeon to discuss the options available to
them. Seeing a facial plastic surgeon as opposed to a general plastic surgeon
is critical, as we are strictly experts of the face and the most
natural-looking anti-aging techniques.
Michael S. Fozo, M.D., F.A.C.S.