There are two types of aging: extrinsic, which is caused by external factors, and intrinsic, or internal, caused by the course of nature. You’ve probably already guessed which type is the one you can do something about.
External aging is almost always caused by environmental factors, and this type of aging usually occurs prematurely, which is why you should take early action to prevent it.
Your 20s and 30s are an excellent time to start, and once you introduce the following steps into your routine, you will be on a good path to slow down skin aging for a long time.
Wear Minimal Makeup
Wearing heavy makeup certainly doesn't seem like something that would prematurely age your skin. But it can.
In fact, several ingredients found in complexion products can work against your skin. Take alcohol denat, silica, and talc, for example. These ingredients are often found in mattifying complexion products to keep excess oil at bay and prevent you from looking shiny throughout the day. However, these ingredients are also dehydrating to the skin, and when the skin is constantly being dried out, lines and wrinkles will start appearing prematurely.
Heavy makeup can accumulate in the pores, clog them, and cause breakouts.
Besides that, heavy makeup can accumulate in the pores, and if (by some miracle) it doesn't clog them and cause breakouts, it can at the very least make the skin look textured, dull, and sallow. And lastly, I think we can all agree that heavy makeup just doesn't look good outside of a photo set and good lighting. In fact, it looks really unflattering in natural light, and instead of hiding imperfections, it accentuates them.
All this is why you should focus more on skincare and helping imperfections heal instead of hiding them under thick layers of concealer, foundation, and powder.
Using minimal makeup that contains hydrating ingredients will accentuate your naturally beautiful features and help you achieve that healthy skin glow.
Don't Be Rough with Your Skin
Avoid using anything abrasive on your facial skin. This includes towels, scrubs, konjac sponges, facial cleansing brushes, etc.
These things aren't helpful for several reasons. First of all, they won't exfoliate your skin evenly because you need to be consistent with applying the same amount of pressure in every area to get even exfoliation, which is something nobody ever does. Next, granules and harsh surfaces will only work on the uppermost layer of the skin. This means that you’re vigorously removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin before it's their time to shed naturally, which can lead to irritations and even a compromised skin barrier.
Loss of elastin is what makes the skin droop and sag, while loss of collagen is what thins out the skin.
And lastly, being consistently rough with your skin and constantly pulling, tugging, scratching, and causing inflammation will lead to premature loss of elastin. Elastin is a protein that's about a thousand times more flexible than collagen. It lends elasticity to the skin tissue and allows the skin to bounce back to its original position after being poked or pinched, for example. However, with the loss of elastin from constant pulling and tugging, your skin won't be able to bounce back to its original position, and it will soon start to appear saggy and droopy. So always be gentle with your skin, as this will help it remain plump and bouncy for longer.
Look into Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
Alpha-hydroxy acids are a group of acids used in skincare products to dissolve the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells together on the skin's surface. This will, in turn, encourage the dead skin cells to shed naturally, rather than being forcefully removed from the skin.
Since they usually come in a liquid or gel form, alpha-hydroxy acids offer a more even and uniform coverage compared to scrubs and are overall a gentler form of exfoliation. But besides that, they also have humectant properties, which means they have the ability to attract and retain moisture in the skin.
Also, by encouraging the dead skin cells to shed, alpha-hydroxy acids can help you eliminate issues such as dullness, sallow complexion, texture, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone. These are primarily superficial issues that just need to be shed away from the skin.
Alpha-hydroxy acids also have humectant properties, so they attract and retain moisture in the skin.
And the best thing about using alpha-hydroxy acids in your skincare routine is that you don't have to use them every day. For best results, you can use products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids two-three times a week, and your skin will only keep getting better.
My personal favorite AHAs are glycolic and lactic acids. Glycolic acid is a more potent molecule suitable for targeting issues such as hyperpigmentation, while lactic acid is a gentler molecule that's perfect for very sensitive skin.
Product To Try: Paula's Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment with 10% AHA. A fantastic "exfoliating cocktail" that contains a combination of alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic, lactic, malic, and tartaric acid to gently exfoliate and bring out a beautiful radiant glow.
Invest in an Antioxidant Serum
Antioxidants are substances that "activate" our body's enzymes and encourage them to scavenge free radicals, which are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other stressors.
Simply said, antioxidants in skincare products help reverse the damage caused by environmental factors such as UV rays, pollution, and oxidative stress, which is why it's a good idea to invest in an antioxidant serum as early as you possibly can to slow down skin aging.
Antioxidants in skincare products help reverse the damage caused by environmental factors.
Look for products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin B3 (niacinamide), ferulic acid, resveratrol, bisabolol, green tea extract, blueberry extract, or licorice extract.
Product To Try: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic with 15% L-ascorbic acid. This product has been deemed the most stable and efficient vitamin C serum on the market by dermatologists and estheticians worldwide. And what's so special about it is that it's precisely formulated to neutralize damaging free-radicals caused by environmental factors. It’s definitely pricey, but it's also efficient in reducing lines, dark spots, and improving everything from skin tone to texture to brightness.
Introduce Retinoids into Your Routine
Retinoids are a big family of compounds that are derivatives of vitamin A and can be made naturally or synthetically.
The use of retinoids for treating various skin concerns has been studied since the early 1940s. It has been concluded repeatedly that these compounds can deliver many fantastic skin benefits. In fact, retinoids are the only compounds scientifically proven to work on a molecular level to dramatically change the skin and virtually erase deep lines and wrinkles. This is why you should never buy an anti-aging "miracle" cream if it doesn't contain any form of vitamin A. It would most probably be ineffective.
Retinoids are the only compounds scientifically proven to work on a molecular level to erase deep lines and wrinkles.
Erasing lines and wrinkles just scratches the surface of what retinoids can do. Retinoids can also speed up cellular turnover and eliminate issues such as clogged and enlarged pores, moderate to severe forms of acne, hyperpigmentation, dull skin, texture, and uneven skin tone.
Retinoids come in different strengths, and you can find over-the-counter options as well as stronger, prescription-strength options for various purposes. Consider starting with an over-the-counter option and slowly building up towards stronger alternatives.
Product To Try: La Roche Posay Redermic [R] Anti-Wrinkle. An excellent over-the-counter option of a lightweight face cream that contains 0.3% retinol along with soothing and skin-restoring adenosine and retinol linoleate to help optimize the formula and minimize the risk of irritation and peeling.
Protect Your Skin from UV Damage
Since the skin is the largest organ of the human body, maintaining homeostasis and protecting it from ultraviolet radiation is essential.
UV radiation can indeed cause all sorts of skin damage, including the breakdown of collagen and elastin, uneven melanin distribution, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and dull and sallow skin. But besides that, it can also trigger disorders in immune regulation and can lead to hair loss, blisters, rashes, and, not to forget, life-threatening cancers. So obviously, protecting your skin from all this damage is in your best interest.
UV radiation can trigger disorders in immune regulation and can lead to hair loss, burns, and cancer.
The most efficient way to protect your skin from all this is to do the extra step of applying sunscreen in areas that are going to be exposed to the sun. This extra step in your morning routine will, at the very least, save you from expensive anti-aging treatments and premature lines and wrinkles in the future.
The only good thing about skin damage is that it's easy to prevent. Managing to do that as early as possible will only increase your chances of aging like a fine wine.