Prevention is Better Than Reaction: How to Really Prevent Signs of Aging
By Alexa Santory
Age Prevention At Every Stage
Science says aging starts as early as 21. Yikes. I bet that’s a lot younger than you thought. With this in mind, it also means that we can start slowing down signs of aging...as early as 21. Maybe we really can look young forever??
Today in Beauty School, we’re going to break down how to prevent signs of aging from your 20s to your 60s and beyond. Here’s to getting carded well past your 20s!
Aging prevention: Your 20s
The key to preventing early signs of aging in your 20s is to start incorporating more antioxidants into your life, and I’m not just talking about your skin care routine. Your diet has a big impact on the appearance of your skin (ahem face mapping) and a diet full of antioxidant rich foods will have a positive effect on the plumpness, elasticity, and texture. Age prevention products are generally target towards those with drier skin types, so be aware of that and understand that products formulated specifically for anti aging may not be what you need. So let’s talk about what you do need!
1. For those us still struggling with acne, especially in our early 20s, incorporating a retinol into your routine will help fight breakouts, unclog pores, build collagen and elastin, and exfoliate any hyperpigmentation or sun spots. Since it’s great for stimulating collagen growth, it works to stop fine lines and wrinkles from developing. Retinoid sound intimidating but they’re simply vitamin A. Be aware that if you don’t experience acne, it’s not necessary to incorporate retinol into your routine. I experience a break out or two every once in a while and one of my favorite brands added a retinoid to a facial moisturizer I was excited to use. After about two weeks of consistent use, my face was red, blotchy, and broken out in areas that I would otherwise never break out. That’s how I found out retinoid weren’t necessary for my skin.
2. Chemical exfoliators are amazing for preventative aging and another key aspect of anti aging for us 20-somethings. Glycolic acid and AHAs are the ones most commonly found in anti-aging products. These help increase cell turnover and encourage a healthy glow!
3. Exfoliating in general is the key to good skin at any age. It helps remove dead skin, making way for new skin cells, and allowing for deeper hydration. It’s also great for stimulating blood flow, which helps give the skin a brighter, healthier appearance. Not all exfoliators are chemical, though. Physical exfoliators are excellent as well, just be careful with the coarseness of some physical exfoliators. Some brands (I’m looking at you St. Ive’s) use particles that are too big, which cause micro tears in our skin, allowing more bacteria in, leading to big, painful, cystic pimples.
Don't know how to exfoliate? This video is super helpful.
4. Don't forget about SPF! Sun protection is a necessity at every age, for every skin tone and type! UV rays do a number on our skin, and with the ozone layer depleting pretty much on a daily basis; those UV rays are only getting more intense. Tanned skin is actually injured skin, hence the sensitivity to touch, extreme dryness, and peeling you experience after spending a day in the sun. SPF works to protect your skin from the damaging UV rays. Above all though, developing a consistent routine is key to keeping early signs of aging at bay!
Aging prevention: Your 30s
The general consensus around age prevention tips for your 30s is that your skin needs as much moisture as possible. Women’s bodies start to go through a lot of changes once they reach a certain age and one of those changes, unfortunately, is drying out. Scary, huh? Women naturally begin to produce less collagen in their 30s, so including more collagen in your regimen could help your skin retain elasticity for a bit longer. Your 30s are another age where retinoid are helpful, since they help stimulate collagen production. By now, you should have a pretty consistent skin care routine. That is: cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer, at the very least. Here are some tips that are going to help with preventative aging in your 30s!
- Exfoliation is just as important in your 30s as it is at any age. You always want to get rid of dead skin cells and allow newer ones to flourish.
- Moisture is definitely what you want to focus on the most, though. Getting as much hydration into your skin will keep it looking as youthful as possible. Opting for products that contain hyaluronic acid is a great way to get deeply hydrating benefits from something that already exists in our bodies. Hyaluronic acid is cool (and probably my skin care obsession) because it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. It’s a humectant (like honey!) so it’s quite literally a magnet for moisture.
- Aloe and honey are great, natural ways to get more moisture into the skin, and both have amazing benefits besides helping with aging.
- It’s around this time that the skin around the eyes starts to show signs, too. This particular area is super delicate, making fine lines that much more noticeable. Investing in a good eye cream, getting lots of sleep, and drinking water can help keep the eye area bright and hydrated!
- Last, but certainly not least, there’s SPF. It’s necessary at every age. Use it, please!
Aging prevention: Your 40s
This is the age where most women start to experience symptoms of menopause, a hormonal change as intense as puberty that has some pretty profound effects on our minds and bodies. In short, women’s bodies go through a lot in a lifetime. And because of these hormonal changes, we start to show signs of aging more prominently in our 40s. I’m talking fine lines, crow’s feet, and maybe even some skin discoloration. For women in their 40s, it’s super common to experience these signs of aging because by this point, cell turnover has slowed down significantly. Slower cell turnover leads to more fine lines and wrinkles, as well as more hyperpigmentation, something you may not have experience before. AKA sunspots or age spots, incorporating more glycolic acid into your routine can even out hyperpigmentation.
- Glycolic acid is the holy grail of chemical exfoliators. Despite its intimidating name, it’s surprisingly gentle enough to use everyday, and helps slough off dead skin cells to reveal brighter and more youthful looking skin. This is a huge plus since skin starts to look duller around this age, due to a drop in hyaluronic acid and natural oils.
- In your 40s, it’s important to get as much hydration into the skin as possible. Opting for anything with hyaluronic acid or a different humectant is a yes!
- Also, retinoid and vitamin A are super helpful for rebuilding collagen. Using a retinoid in your 40s is highly recommended, especially if you feel that you’re showing more prominent signs of aging than you’d like. These are going to help plump and refine the texture of your skin.
- The skin around the eyes, as delicate as it is, starts to show fine lines (hi crows feet!) more distinctly, so a good eye cream goes a long way!
- Antioxidants are stellar for your skin around this age. They keep out the free radicals that cause further damage and signs of aging, while also allowing the skin to get as much oxygen as possible. If you live in a big city, you know how much pollution can get to your skin no matter your age. Your 40s are a delicate time, almost as delicate as puberty. Be nice to your skin around this time. Give it more of what it needs.
Aging prevention: 50s and beyond
By this point in a woman’s life, she’s experiencing all of the wonderful (lol) symptoms of menopause. Our reproductive hormones have slowed down significantly, we’re getting hot flashes like it’s nobody’s business, and our skin is most definitely starting to show our age. Probably a bit more than we’d anticipated. In terms of your skin at this age, it’s important to use antioxidants to your advantage. After decades of sun exposure, UV rays have taken a toll on our skin, even with consistent SPF use.
- Incorporating more antioxidant-rich products into your routine will help reduce the appearance of aging.
- It’s also important to get as much moisture into the skin as possible, since dryness is a thing as we age. Think serums, oils, rich, creamy moisturizers. This is a time when luxuriating your skin is encouraged. Be as bougie as you want.
- Many face masks targeted at “mature” skin are full of moisture magnetizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, honey, and aloe. Take advantage of the benefits of humectants. It’s their job to deliver the highest amount of moisture possible. The skin on our faces has thinned out significantly by this point, making it appear dry and crepey. Moisture is your best friend and wants to help you!
- Eye creams are a must since our eyes show our age more than we’d like. They help to hydrate and brighten the area!
- And of course, there’s collagen! By this age, collagen production has diminished a ton; so in order to keep our skin looking tight and youthful, find products that aid in collagen production and help increase cell turnover.
- In your 60s and beyond, the key is just being gentle to your skin. It’s much thinner at this point, and more prone to wrinkles, spots, and sagging. Continue to give it what it needs with a consistent routine using gentle, deeply hydrating products.
So what are a few things we can take away from all of this? For one thing, collagen production is the key to keeping your skin looking youthful and plump at every age. Also, moisturization and hydration are your best friends. Most importantly though, consistently applying SPF and avoiding excessive sun exposure is going to save you a trip to the dermatologist. Aging is a beautiful thing. Don’t feel pressured by all the perfect looking 30-somethings on your Instagram feed. Going to the extreme to preserve your age isn’t accessible to everyone. Consistency and prevention are what will keep you looking 35 well into your 50s!
The Streets Are Talking
Papaya contains BHA (or beta hydroxy acid) that acts as a mild exfoliator. It gently removes the top layer of dead skin cells from your face and makes your skin radiant and younger looking. Yes please!
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