Knowing When to Start Using Anti-Aging Creams

Have you ever stared at the label of a skin care product that boasted anti-aging effects and wondered just when you need to start incorporating products like it into your routine? While teenagers certainly have time before they need to begin thinking about that next step in their skin care routine, you may be surprised to find that many skin care professionals advise incorporating anti-aging skin care products into your regimen beginning in your 20s. Of course, there is no magic date by which anti-aging use becomes essential and the right timing depends on your lifestyle and genetic factors, your skin type and your goals for your skin. Let’s dig into the topic a bit more.

What are the benefits of starting earlier?

Logically speaking, by beginning to use anti-aging ingredients in your twenties versus your thirties, you stand a better chance of staving off the characteristics that accompany aging skin. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that just any anti-aging product will do.

After the age of 20, the dermis produces approximately 1% less collagen each year. Cellular turnover also begins to slow when we’re in our twenties. The signs of these changes will not be evident on our skin for some time but using products that work to encourage optimal skin function is beneficial. Consider adding a facial exfoliator to your skin care routine that, when used just a few times a week, works to minimize the buildup of dead skin cells. Also, add in an eye cream to keep the delicate skin surrounding your eyes looking its best.

Avoid using anti-aging products that are unnecessary or too aggressive for young skin, as they can cause harm in the form of breakouts and skin sensitivity. Examples include prescription-strength retinol creams and heavy anti-aging moisturizers.

What are easy preventative methods?

The number one rule to prevent early skin aging is to use sunscreen. Not only does the daily use of a sunscreen product help keep your skin protected from UV rays, it also aids in keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy. Unprotected sun exposure leads to hyperpigmentation and encourages the breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. Wearing a minimum SPF of 15 on your face daily will help prevent your skin from aging in your twenties without requiring the use of an entire arsenal of expensive products. For best results, sunscreen must be applied throughout the day and applied to all areas of exposed skin. (Read more: Is SPF 15 Enough?)

Product suggestion: Day Moisturizer with SPF 30, $44.99

Beyond sun exposure, the health of our skin is constantly battling environmental exposures, like pollution, that cause the development of free radicals – a leading cause of skin aging due to their tendency to break down collagen and elastin. Antioxidants disarm free radicals, thus protecting our cells. While the best source of antioxidants is via our diet, they can also be obtained via antioxidant-rich skin care products.

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Visiting your dermatologist regularly, being smart about sun exposure and adopting a well-rounded skin care routine will help keep your skin in check and looking its best for the long-haul. In addition, consider adding a quarterly facial as part of your pampering routine. They not only feel great but also give your skin a big dose of TLC. (Read more: What is the best skin care regimen?)