by B. Whitfield - Staff Writer
No one tells you there are no "breaks" when it comes to skincare. In our 20s and 30s, most of us have barely mastered controlling our acne breakouts, let alone started thinking about anti-aging routines. Regardless of your age, knowing when to start an anti-aging skincare routine is simple: NOW, because it's never too early or too late to start taking care of your skin. And where/how do you start? Look no further. Here, we'll go through what to do and what product ingredients to use (morning and night), so that you can get a head start on those fine lines and wrinkles.
Change up your cleanser. Unless using a medicated cleanser that's been prescribed by your derm, swap your acne-fighting scrub for a cleansing milk, oil or balm. Look for cleansers that are free of preservatives, mineral oil, or silicone. Whether you choose a milk, oil or balm - all are gentle and effective methods of dissolving makeup and removing dirt and grime, without leaving your skin feeling dry and tight.
Rethink your toner. Whether or not toners are mission critical for anti-aging skincare has always been up for debate. In your 20s and 30s, whether or not you use a toner is more so a personal preference. If you don't have oily skin you probably don't need it; however, if you have oily or combination skin, considering using a natural toner such as witch hazel. Shy away from alcohol-based toners and astrigents that tend to irritate and strip the skin.
Invest in an eye cream. Not only for night-time, a basic, silky, hydrating eye cream should be applied every day, as pesky fine lines tend to start showing up first around the delicate eye area. Look for an eye cream that is rich in anti-oxidants (critical to prevention) and that also has an SPF. When applying, remember that a little goes a small way. Simply pat a pea-size amount with your fingers in a gentle, upward motion and be sure to let all the silky goodness sink into your skin before applying your makeup.
Make SPF your new BFF. You've heard it a million times. The single best thing you can do for your skin is apply a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or above, even if it's in the winter months and/or you're only going outside for a few minutes. Light, silky, and sheer are words you'll want to look for when reading reviews and packaging. A bonus? Finding a sheer foundation or base that includes sunscreen as well.
According to researchers at the University of California at Irvine, new skin cells grow faster while you sleep, so a good evening-facial routine should be a high priority.
Take it all off. After a long day, cleansing is non-negotiable. Consider double cleansing, which is simply cleansing your face twice. Why? Double cleansing is practically a guarantee that all the bad stuff - makeup, oil, dirt, pollution and dead skin, is thoroughly removed. You can use a makeup removing wipe and cleanser, or an oil-based cleanser followed by a milk cleanser, or simply use the same cleanser and wash your face twice. Whichever method works for you, double cleansing will make sure your skin properly absorbs all the anti-aging steps to follow.
Consider Vitamin A: When your face is completely dry after cleansing, consider using the gold standard in over the counter anti-aging ingredients - Vitamin A, also known as Retinol. Retinol encourages collagen production and stimulates skin cell turnover, and you'll be able to see the difference after using it consistently for a few months. Many skin types are sensitive to retinol so look for a sensitive skin formula and start using it sparingly 1-2x a week and gradually work up to every other night or nightly application. Consider talking to your derm about a prescription Retinoid if you have oily or acne-prone skin- in addition to their anti-aging benefits, retinoids are also prescribed to clear acne.
Splurge on a serum. Serums and moisturizers are not the same. Moisturizers are made up of larger molecules than serums, meaning they can't penetrate the skin as deeply as serums do. Serums are concentrated, lightweight and formulated to treat any specific anti-aging need (firming, elasticity, plumping, brightening). Serums are the one step where you'll be able to see immediate results, so do your research, read reviews to find a recommended one that fits your budget and be sure to ask for samples before splurging on a higher-priced serum.
Embrace night creams. Simply using your morning/daily moisturizer at night won't do the trick; 20s and 30s especially, it's time to start using a proper night cream. Look for ingredients such as vitamins, peptides, and natural ingredients- all of which will help hydrate, smooth skin and reduce puffiness.