Why Starting a Skincare Routine in Your 20s is the Fountain of Youth
You've got to live a little.
You have your whole life before you.
These are all true when it comes to planning your future, choosing your career, and falling in love. They are NOT true when it comes to your skin. You can win the fight against aging, but only if you rise early for battle. If you wait until the signs of aging have already taken hold, you may have waited too long.
The fight against liver spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy-baggy skin (*gasp*) should actually start before it begins. Wait. What?
Yeah. I meant what I said. The way to fight all of those signs of aging is to effectively prevent them before they show up. I know, I know. Thinking so far in advance can be difficult, but how you treat and care for your skin now will set the stage for how your skin will look 20+ years from now. The damage we inflict on our skin over time is cumulative. That means, it all collects over time. Preventing visible signs of skin aging is much easier and less expensive than trying to get rid of it.
It Doesn't Have to Be Difficult
Preparing your skin now to reap the benefits of a glowing and youthful complexion in your later years doesn't have to be difficult or complicated.
Yup. You're hearing it again. Protecting your skin from damaging UV rays is absolutely vital to preventing damage down the road. You've heard it from your parents 'till you can't stand it anymore, but the truth is, they're right. Without question, sun protection is the best way you can prevent your skin from aging. . . or at least drastically slow that process down. According to what Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, told SELF, 90% of the signs of aging come from unprotected UV exposure.
Your skin is going to go through natural aging changes on its own, but photoaged skin will take on a leathery, lax, wrinkled appearance with broken blood vessels (telangiectasia), and age spots (lentigines). UV radiation causes a shortage of collagen by causing cells to break collagen down, instead of maintain it.
Sun damage accumulates over time, so protecting yourself sooner, rather than later, is prudent! Your skin care routine should incorporate the daily application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply 30 if you're going to be spending any time outside.
Fight Cellular Damage Now
All of the toxins that you ingest, environmental pollutants you're exposed to, and sun exposure you get takes a toll on your skin. These things can result in waste products called free radicals. Free radicals are the byproducts of cellular metabolism, and they're careening around your body looking for an another electron, wreaking havoc in their path. That damage can accumulate, too, unless you do something about it now.
Free radicals are the unstable byproducts of oxidation, the metabolic process of oxygen metabolism. This is the same process that causes iron to rust and bananas and avocados to brown. These free radicals cause oxidative stress by way of cellular damage, making cells vulnerable to decay and pathogens. They damage DNA and mitochondria (part of the basic building blocks for all tissues) which can result in many health problems. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes.
Lifestyle choices and environmental factors can drastically increase the number of free radicals in the body, in turn dramatically increasing oxidative stress on the body. Things like eating fried foods, environmental pollution, UV rays, and eating charcoal broiled meats will increase this oxidative stress, but cigarette smoking is, by far, the most potent free radical generator in the body.
Now We Get To the Crux
Start a solid routine that consist of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. That's it! It doesn't have to be difficult! It's the ingredients that are important. Choose your skin care products wisely, and they will work ahead of their years for you. When you care for your skin properly, you're able to nip any excess damage in the bud and mitigate any factors that contribute to aging.
Look for ingredients that are scientifically proven to fight the aging process. You can help your body to nab those free radicals by utilizing a skin care routine rich in antioxidant ingredients to counter all that damage. A healthy diet should be your number one choice, but topical antioxidants have been found to be effective, as well. Look for products that contain antioxidant-rich botanicals like green tea extract and pomegranate seed extract, and vitamins like vitamins A, E, and C.
Retinoids (derived from vitamin A) have the added bonus of increasing cellular turnover, allowing younger skin cells to replace older ones.
One product to add to your repertoire: Calysta Labs Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum. It combines alpha-hydroxy acid, retinol, and antioxidants to help even out the skin's tone and texture. It's also got ingredients powerful enough to treat blemishes and dark spots.
A little bit of elbow grease in your early years in the form of a smart skin care routine can really go a long way in combatting daily insult. Stick to that routine, even when you don't feel like it, and your future self will thank you!