When you’re in your 20s, skin care is usually not a high priority. You might be juggling college classes, a backpacking trek through Europe, your first child or a move across the country for a dream job. Now is the best time to lay the foundation for an excellent skin care regimen that can keep you looking younger. “Women should begin being proactive about anti-aging in their 20s,” Dr. Dennis Gross, a New York City-based dermatologist (founder of 900 Fifth Dermatology) told the beauty-based website Byrdie. This is the time that we begin to lose collagen, a skin protein that keeps skin firm and taut. We also lose elastin, which gives skin the elasticity it needs to bounce back.1 Collagen and elastin are the two structural proteins that make up the dermis layer. When they begin to take a dip, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and less radiant skin are the unfortunate results. Don’t panic. There are things that can be done to stop it, so you are not necessarily destined for a facelift. But more about that later.
The Best Tips for Your Best Skin
While you may think that your skin is indestructible. It is so fresh, free from lines and dewy in your 20s – that doesn’t mean that such glowing vibrancy lasts forever. And taking smart steps now can help turn back the clock for the face of your future, so when you’re in your 50s or 60s, people will marvel at how amazingly youthful you look.
Protect Your Skin From Sun DamageNothing ages you more than exposure to the sun. After all, “exposure to sunlight is the single biggest culprit in aging skin.” That means slathering on sunscreen every time you go outside and staying out of tanning beds. There are plenty of products that produce a warm, sun-kissed glow that mimics a tan without damage.2 Damaging UV rays can also bounce off computer screens and fluorescent lighting. So, if you don’t go outside and think you don’t need sunscreen, think again. A vitamin C-based essential oil like sweet orange or neroli will be the best option to help. However, if you’re in your 20s, using sunscreen NOW can prevent later problems.
Limit Your Intake of SugarSugar is all sweet until we decide to eat it. Sugary snacks, especially when eaten in excess, will often lead to signs of aging. This is because of what happens when too much blood sugar lingers around in the bloodstream. When we consume too much sugar, the body can only use so much for energy and has limited storage space. That leaves sugar molecules to roam around in the blood. They cling to the walls of blood vessels or seek out protein cells while there. Sugar magnetizes to collagen and elastin, like a bully ready to take down someone smaller. Those sugar molecules attach to the protein cells, turning them to advanced glycation end cells, or AGEs. These damaged cells are more prone to sagging, discoloration and a fading glow. These damaged cells also become free radicals and will turn on nearby collagen and elastin cells. This creates a chain reaction that is essentially the slow destruction of youth.3
Protect Against Free Radical DamageFree radicals are caused by exposure to pollutants. Pollutants include toxins in the air, cigarette smoke, and car exhaust. Worse than simply dirt, pollutants damage cells, causing free radicals that are especially attracted to the skin proteins collagen and elastin. Free radicals can be stopped by antioxidants, which are able to donate the molecule free radicals need to be restored. They don't damage themselves in the process. Antioxidants can be consumed through fruits and veggies; eat the rainbow for the most varied benefits. They can also be applied topically through nutrient-dense essential oils, which deliver a wide range of vitamins. Skin-friendly vitamin C and E, both help protect skin proteins from damaging free radicals.
Exfoliate Every DayProducts with salicylic, alpha-hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids will help lift away dead surface cells. They also will remove dirt that clogs pores. That process encourages the renewal of collagen cells which protect against aging.
Moisturize, Moisturize, MoisturizeEven if your skin is on the oily side, moisturizer can help prevent cleanser from drying out skin. Dried skin triggers the production of extra sebum, our skin’s natural moisturizer. At normal levels, it acts as a shield, protecting skin from toxins. However, when the skin produces too much, it clogs pore and triggers breakouts. A natural face oil featuring skin-friendly essentials and a nutrient-dense carrier is a smart option. If the skin is dry, use an oil or an oil blend, but follow up throughout the day with a mist that adds extra hydration.
Never Go to Bed Without Removing Your MakeupMakeup can be a good way to protect skin from exposure to toxins during the day. Mineral makeup especially creates a protective layer that keeps pollutants from entering the skin through the pores. However, keeping it on all day and night will undo the benefits, leaving you with clogged pores that are likely to trigger breakouts.
Choose the Right CleanserAccording to Gross, using the same cleansers in your 20s as you did when you were in your teens can strip away natural oils. This leads to overly-dry skin that could flake and peel. You may still be suffering from breakouts, but using harsh cleansers can also lead to the overproduction of sebum. Sebum can lead to clogged pores. Gentle cleansing and the right kind of moisturizer will help create an environment that’s better for youthful skin. It’s also a more appropriate skincare routine to take into your 30s and 40s.
Hyaluronic Acid is Your Friend
According to Gross, hyaluronic acid is like the fountain of youth. Because it occurs naturally in the skin, it is completely compatible. It can be mixed with certain skin-friendly essential oils to enhance to acid’s ability to keep skin looking young and radiant. Essentials that help encourage the production of collagen or antioxidants are the best options.
Essential Oils for Skin Care
There are many essential oils that are really well suited to help protect against signs of aging, and each offers a different benefit. Creating your own personal blend might allow you to target issues that impact your skin, and you can adjust your formula as the years pass and skin changes. Some key essential oils with skin-friendly nutrients include: