Our twenties define our future decades. What you do right now – how you eat, how much you sleep and how you wash your face, determines how your skin will look in your thirties, forties and fifties. From your twenties, the turnover of skin-repair replacement and collagen production slow down and like anything, the best skincare routine is preventative. How do you do this? An anti-aging skincare routine is simply about incorporating ingredients and habits into your skincare routine now so that you maintain glowing, bouncy and healthy skin in the future.
Aging starts below the surface of our skin so it’s important to develop a set of practices that boosts the skin’s natural revitalization cycles and minimize the damaging effects of sun exposure and environmental pollutants. As we hit our stride in our twenties, our skin cells stop reproducing as rapidly as they once did, so we have to work harder to keep them new and fresh. Moisture levels begin to gradually drop, which dries out the skin, and collagen production and elasticity decrease. Collagen is the central protein that keeps skin plump and wrinkle-free and from the age of twenty, our levels decline by 1% each year. As our skin’s restorative abilities weaken, it becomes more vulnerable to the sun and daily grime, causing dull skin, pigmentation and fine lines to appear.
How you take care of yourself has a cumulative effect and fortunately, a good skincare routine can be akin to a magical elixir in maintaining that baby face. The secret of the formula lies in consistency.
When do you start? Today.
Wash your face twice a day. Skincare during the daytime is all about protecting your face, and skincare at night is all about repairing it. The pile up of makeup, dirt and oil that ends up on your face at the end of the day traps invisible floating pollution (like dust or car exhaust) which eventually leads to dull aged skin, premature lines and wrinkles. Cleansing your skin washes away all the toxins and primes it for the next part of your routine.
Exfoliate. As your skin matures, its dead skin cells don’t shed as quickly as they used to. This accentuates your pores and causes your skin to thicken, making it duller and rougher. Regular exfoliation – because you have to stimulate your skin for it to be able to repair itself – prevents this by unclogging pores, increasing blood circulation and scrubbing away the dead skin cells, resulting in smoother, softer and healthier skin. Proper exfoliation also allows the nutrients of the products you apply afterwards to seep into the skin’s deepest layers where they can work to their full potency.
Apply eye cream. The skin around your eyes is so thin that it’s usually the first place where fine lines form. Just a few minutes in the sun every so often can gradually build up wrinkles. Preserve this area of skin while it’s still young with a light daily smear of SPF.
Wear sunscreen. SPF is your daily shield from the sun’s UVA rays that cause damage to your skin in the form of wrinkles, sagging and dark spots. The damage the sun does is gradual but builds up effectively over time so it’s important to add a layer of defence to maintain your skin’s health and glow.
Apply facial oil. Oils are packed with vitamins, damage-repairing antioxidants and botanical extracts that nourish, soften and soothe your skin. Hydrating and restorative, a few drops help seal in the moisture within your skin, rejuvenate your cells, block out toxins and provide various other benefits that induce a bright and dewy complexion.
Moisturize. When you enter your twenties, the skin cells on your face turn over quicker causing your skin to become duller and drier. Moisturizing gives your skin the boost it needs to repair itself effectively as hydrated skin is less prone to catching wrinkles. Using a night cream, especially one with Vitamin E or botanicals, plumps up your skin and protects its moisture barrier from early on. Apply it at night while your skin repairs and rejuvenates itself in slumber.
Build a routine with ingredients that work powerfully to defend and repair your skin. Maintaining your skin is more effective with elements that work in tandem towards the same cause. Look out for:
Vitamin C: Vitamin C, or l-ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals to prevent premature aging and dark spots. Sunspots show up because of excess pigment and appear so gradually that you usually don’t see them until your thirties or forties when they’re much harder to erase! Regular use of a serum or cream infused with vitamin C in the morning brightens, smoothens and evens out your skin, stimulates the production of collagen and boosts your sunscreen’s protection.
Niacin or Vitamin B3: Niacin works to retain moisture in your skin and improve its structure and texture. When niacin is absorbed, it stimulates collagen and repair hormones that rebuild the skin’s protective barrier to improve skin elasticity, soften fine lines and wrinkles and create a brighter and more balanced skin tone.
Glycolic Acid: The most popular of the AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids), glycolic acid, usually found in exfoliating products, helps dissolve and wash away dead skin cells. It penetrates through the deeper layers of damaged skin to boost cell turnover rate and increase the production of collagen and elastin. A regular scrub with glycolic acid boosts your skin into action, creating a brighter complexion and erasing dullness.
Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid retains and replenishes the moisture in aging skin. Younger skin can retain a balanced level of water but we begin to lose this ability as we age, resulting in skin that’s less firm and supple. A naturally-occurring substance in skin, hyaluronic acid can retain vast quantities of water which keeps our moisture levels up, preventing wrinkles from settling into too soft skin.
Peptides: Peptides are protein building powerhouses that boost the production of collagen, the basic structural composition of skin. Most powerful when used in a serum, peptides tell the body to produce more collagen to reinforce the skin’s natural barrier.
Retinol or Retinoids: A powerful anti-aging ingredient derived from Vitamin A, retinol speeds up skin cell turnover, reverses photoaging and promotes collagen production to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Found in the form of a serum or cream, this nightly tool is an all-round fix as it also helps reduce acne, unclog pores and smoothen out rough and blemished skin. The goal is to start using it a few days a week in your late twenties and then build up as you get older.
The key to aging gracefully lies in daily care and prevention. Become aware of what your skin needs and feed it like you feed your body. In addition to your own practice, a little bit of expert help on making sure you are treating your skin in the best way possible never hurts. Quarterly facials help detox the pores and about once a year, visit a dermatologist to get an in-depth examination of your skin and how to continue nurturing it. Embrace this phase of growing up: developing a good skincare routine today is about putting the building blocks in place to create habits (and enviously plump skin) that will last through the years.
*Note: When selecting products to build into your skincare routine, it’s important to note the quantity of ingredients and the time of the day when they should be applied. Compile a collection of products that complement each other and, above all, develop