Many of us only begin to think about skin care when a concern arises: A forehead wrinkle may lead you to invest in a retinoid, and your first sign of discoloration may be the thing that finally makes you see what the problem is all about. vitamin C. . But according to dermatologists, healthy skin benefits from being proactive rather than reactive, which means starting a longevity-promoting routine *now* so you don’t have to do damage control later.
While skin type and color can play a role in how quickly skin ages, the environmental factors we’re exposed to throughout our lives (think: sun exposure and pollution) are the main culprits of sun spots, wrinkles, dullness and hyperpigmentation. Most people start to see these visible signs of aging in their 20s, when their bodies’ natural collagen production begins to decline, so investing in a routine during this decade can pay off in the long run.
The good news is that taking preventative action doesn’t mean you have to invest in a long list of expensive products. Derms recommend keeping it simple and inexpensive by using a few effective ingredients that have been shown to promote skin longevity. While you won’t be able to prevent skin aging entirely (remember: it’s a normal and natural part of life), getting the routine right from the start can keep your skin healthy for the long haul.
“When you are [in your 20s]You have healthy oil production, so you want to make sure you cleanse your skin thoroughly twice a day,” says Ildi Pekar, a celebrity esthetician and facialist, who adds that clean skin is the foundation of any good skincare routine. the skin. Your skin needs to be clean so that any other products you apply can penetrate the skin instead of sitting on the surface, which can clog pores and lead to acne. Not only can acne cause scarring, but the inflammation associated with it can also cause collagen damage, says Sarah Cenac Jackson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology.
For best results, look for gentle, hydrating formulas and avoid anything that robs your skin of moisture. If your complexion feels tight or “sparkling clean” after washing, your cleanser is probably too strong.
Antioxidants should be a part of any longevity-promoting AM routine because they neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation, two things that shut down collagen and elastin production and contribute to visible signs of aging.
Vitamin C is one of the most popular antioxidants (you’ve probably heard of it on TikTok) and is prized for its ability to defend against free radical damage, brighten skin, and fade discoloration. “Niacinamide is another antioxidant that decreases inflammation and redness and helps protect the skin from oxidative stress,” says Dr. Jackson. “And then resveratrol is a compound that comes from grapes, it’s an antioxidant that you can use at night. That also helps protect cells from pollution and ultraviolet radiation.”
Exposure to UV rays, which come from the sun, is the number one reason for accelerating our skin’s aging process, which is why any dermatologist will tell you that sunscreen is the best “anti-aging” ingredient money can buy. to buy. The sun’s UV rays cause free radical damage, which causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin and leads to overactive melanocytes that cause dark spots.
If you haven’t already, commit to wearing SPF every day (yes, even if it’s cloudy). As any dermatologist will tell you, sunscreen is the best anti-aging ingredient money can buy. “At a minimum, wear SPF 30 or higher every day,” says Robert Finney, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Entière Dermatology. “Put it next to your toothbrush. Most people don’t forget to brush their teeth in the morning, so it’s a good reminder.”
As well as applying an SPF in the morning, it’s essential to reapply it regularly (every two hours if you spend time outdoors) to make sure you’re properly protected. To make this as easy as possible, Dr. Jackson suggests that people have a “sun protection wardrobe.” “You should have several sunscreens that you love and that you can use for different occasions,” she says. This seems to have a tinted sunscreen for a day without makeup, a lighter sunscreen before makeup, and one that’s waterproof when you’re out for a run. After all, the “best” sunscreen is the one you’ll actually use.
Throughout the day, your skin is exposed to dirt, grime, and pollution. If that stuff stays on your face while you sleep, you’re much more likely to experience breakouts. Additionally, makeup traps free radicals under the skin, leading to fine lines and wrinkles. With all that in mind, it is very important to wash your face before bed.
If you wear makeup, you may want to opt for a double cleanse to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the dirt (start with an oil-based makeup remover or cleanser, then follow up with a gentle lather). but if not, you can use the same cleanser from your morning routine to do the job.
According to Dr. Finney, your nighttime routine is the best opportunity to focus on collagen-boosting ingredients and repair any damage that has occurred during the day, which is where retinoids come in.
Retinoids are one of the best known ingredients to stimulate collagen production. They work by increasing cell turnover, which speeds up collagen and elastin production and brings healthy new cells to the skin’s surface to replace dull, dead cells.
It’s worth noting that this particular active ingredient can cause irritation on certain skin types, so you’ll want to start “low and slow” (meaning a low concentration a few times a week) or opt for a moisturizing formula to Give your complexion time to adjust.
If your skin is too sensitive to retinol, Dr. Finney suggests bakuchiol, a plant- or peptide-based alternative. They both have anti-inflammatory properties and work effectively to stimulate collagen.
On nights when you’re not using a retinoid, you can add a scrub to the mix. Exfoliation helps remove dead cells from the surface of the complexion, preventing pore clogging and stimulating cell turnover to smooth skin tone and texture. It also stimulates blood flow and therefore collagen production, which results in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging.
For best results, “stay away from harsh exfoliants, as these can scratch the skin’s surface and cause damage,” says Pekar. Instead, he tries chemical scrubs containing polyhydroxy acids and lactic acid, especially if you have sensitive skin. Just be sure to limit your peels to three times a week, max, as overdoing it can cause inflammation, breakouts, dryness, and flaking.
Regardless of whether your skin is oily, dry or combination, all the world You should use a moisturizer before going to bed. Keeping your complexion sated not only prevents dryness and cracking, it also prevents your skin from overproducing its own oils that can clog pores and lead to acne. In addition, hydration is essential for keeping your skin’s barrier strong, which is important because this barrier is your first line of defense against the elements: It keeps “bad” things like pollution out while keeping “good” things in. “. like water, inside. Also, fine lines and wrinkles are more visible on dehydrated skin, so consider moisturizing a must.
Although the type of moisturizer you choose will largely depend on your skin type (those with oily skin should opt for a light, oil-free lotion, while those with dry skin may benefit from a thicker cream), Pekar recommends hyaluronic acid-based formulas worldwide. the board. The ingredient is found naturally within the skin and binds with water to help retain moisture. Studies have also shown that in addition to increasing hydration, hyaluronic acid can help plump the skin, promote elasticity, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
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