It seems like in the current beauty world, everyone (even teenagers) is constantly encouraged to inspect their skin for the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles and take the necessary steps, a.k.a. start an anti-aging skincare routine. But what exactly is the anti-aging routine? And how early is too early to start incorporating anti-aging skincare in your routine?
First, what is anti-aging skincare? In the most general sense, anti-aging skincare is moisturizing and daily sun protection. This is the best way to prevent aging-related skin troubles like severe dryness and UV damage that results in hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity. This means that regardless of age, “anti-aging” skincare must be in everyone’s daily routines.
On a more specific level, anti-aging skincare is supplement products that help the skin work more efficiently and combat the damage that has already been inflicted. Such skincare consists of products full of antioxidants to fight free radical damage, intensive lipid-rich creams and oils to restore skin barrier function, and acid exfoliators that help to boost cell turnover that slows down as we age.
So, when should you start incorporating these heavy-duty supplement products in your regimen? It really depends on your skin type and condition. Generally speaking, you can begin using skincare that is high in antioxidant content as soon as you reach 20. These are low to non-irritating products with various Vitamins or natural ingredients like a snail, green tea, and other extracts to provide extra support for healthy skin barrier function. If you have extremely dry skin, you might benefit from adding richer creams and oils to your routine early on. But if your skin is an oily, combination, and/or acne-prone, you don’t need this. Such heavy products will only result in breakouts, clogged pores, and an increase in blackheads and sebaceous filaments.
In your early 20s, steer clear of exfoliants with high acid concertation. “Heavy-duty” exfoliators are meant for more mature skin when normal cell turnover rate slows down, and skin can’t regenerate itself. Your 20-something skin simply doesn’t need this. Also, make sure that only one product in your daily routine contains acid. Often, people go overboard and include acid in toner, serum, and cream. This results in redness, skin flaking, and damaged the skin barrier.
Once you get in your 30’s and beyond, start to consider incorporating more active ingredients in your routine. It’s an excellent time to introduce higher concertation of Vitamin C and A (a.k.a. Retinol) in your routine together with peptide serums and heavier night creams. That doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about more natural and less harsh alternatives. While they might not miraculously erase your wrinkles overnight (no product will), they will help to support healthy skin functioning. Alternate between harsher products and their natural alternatives to ensure you’re not ruining your barrier and sensitizing the skin.
The bottom line. Your skin is the best guide when it comes to choosing what product to start and when — experiment with adding different products to your routine and note your skin’s reaction. You shouldn’t feel pressured to use a particular expensive serum just because you’ve reached a certain age, and that’s what people do. And most importantly, remember that signs of aging are completely normal. Aging is a beautiful process, and skincare is just a tool that you use along the way to minimize any “side-effects” that come along.