In Your 20s? 5 Anti-Aging Products You Need In Your Regimen

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
If you are in your twenties and want to prevent wrinkles, now is the time to start getting serious. After all, it’s far easier (and less expensive) to prevent wrinkles than to get rid of them.

As an aesthetician, I can't tell you how true this is. Anti-aging products, particularly those with antioxidants, should be used as early as age 21. Consult with a trusted aesthetician to create the best plan for your skin type. The key with your skin now is to not overload it with too many anti-aging ingredients. Some ingredients work by increasing the metabolism of the cells, such as certain vitamin combinations, prescription retinoids, and peptides — but these ingredients may be too active for younger skin and those prone to breakouts, since the skin already has an active metabolism, and further stimulation may increase breakouts on the skin. Stick to products that are meant for your skin type. These are the five you should incorporate into your routine ASAP.

The first and most important anti-aging product is sunscreen. Since harmful UV rays are the number one cause of premature skin aging, I cannot stress the importance of sunscreen enough. More than genetics, more than smoking, the sun is the skin’s worst enemy.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Sunscreen blocks out the rays that bring on loss of elasticity, wrinkles, skin cancer, brown spots, damaged capillaries, and a rough texture. Find a sunscreen that is lightweight and compatible with your skin type. Products containing zinc oxide, which is chemical-free, offers excellent UV protection, and won’t clog the pores or cause blemishes. Apply sunscreen generously to the face, neck and exposed chest every single day of the year — this is advice you should follow even if you're working inside. If there are windows, you need the protection.

Exfoliation is a good thing, but if you overdo it, you'll wind up with inflamed and dry skin and could even damage the skin's barrier function.

In your twenties, use a scrub with rounded beads or a cleansing brush no more than three times a week (but not both at the same time, which could irritate the skin). On days when you don't use a scrub, layer a gentle acid serum containing glycolic or lactic acids under a plain moisturizer. When you reach your thirties and cell regeneration slows down, you can increase the amount you exfoliate to five times a week.

An Antioxidant Serum

An antioxidant serum, particularly one with stabilized vitamin C, can fade brown sunspots, prevent blackheads, lift discoloration from breakout scars, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles while encouraging collagen production. And while it may not be a product at the top of your list when you turn 20, it's definitely one to warm to.

My favorite antioxidant serum has a time-release delivery system that works powerfully, but gently, to protect the skin. It’s always best to follow an inside-out approach when it comes to antioxidants, so I suggest eating a balanced diet — one that contains leafy greens, berries, and oranges.

A Serum Or Moisturizer With Hyaluronic Acid
There is a common misconception that the richer the moisturizer is, the better it is for preventing and softening wrinkles, and ultimately age prevention. If your skin is very dry, it does need intensive moisture using lipid-rich oils, but normal, combination, acne-prone and oily skin types (and that describes many of you women in your twenties) do not need this. The result can be clogged pores, breakouts, and an increase in blackheads.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
A moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid, however, is great for providing excellent moisture and hydration. This prevents individual cells from losing water and creates a smooth, more youthful-looking appearance (read: healthy, glowing skin). Additionally, because hyaluronic acid, unlike some oils, won’t clog pores, you can apply it with ease even if you're used to dealing with the occasional or even frequent breakout.

An At-Home Chemical Peel
Chemical peels are another great way to fight the good fight against premature skin aging. And for the breakout-prone, it is a must-have product as it will rid the skin of surface dry skin cell buildup, causing less oil and bacteria to be trapped under the skin. The less oil and bacteria under the skin, the fewer clogged pores, and the fewer annoying pimples.

Keeping skin looking young doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn't have to cost a ton of money. Start using the right anti-aging products now, and transitioning to a more nuanced skin-care routine in your thirties and beyond will be easy.

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