Of the dozens of products a collegiette stocks her bathroom shelves with, chances are very few of them have the words "anti-aging" on them. And why should they? Collegiettes are young and things like wrinkles and sunspots seem worlds away! While it's true that physical signs of aging aren't in your near future, the irreparable damage that leads to crow's feat, wrinkles and discoloration is happening now.
There are a few practices and products that you can add to your beauty routine now that will keep your skin looking young and healthy for years to come. Of course, aging, wrinkles or gray hair are not things to be ashamed of—aging is a natural process and the lines on your face are really a roadmap of your emotions and life experiences! At the same time, there's nothing wrong with wanting to look youthful and keep your skin healthy as you grow older, and most of these techniques and tips are beneficial for the overall health of your skin, no matter your age.
Eat your way to more youthful skin.
Celebrity esthetician and skincare expert, Scott-Vincent Borba, stresses “It’s never too early to start taking care of your skin!” Borba has worked with celebrity clients including Mila Kunis, AnnaLynne McCord, Ashley Greene and Lucy Hale and is known for his "inside out" approach to skincare and beauty, meaning that what we put in our bodies is the first thing to consider when looking to prevent premature aging.
“One of the most important things you can do to prevent the signs of aging is having a healthy diet,” says Borba. “[A healthy diet] provides the proper nutrients to help your skin generate as healthy a protective barrier to external damages as possible.”
A “healthy diet” for your skin consists of many of the same foods and nutrients you should be eating anyway to maintain overall health, but Borba points out five key super foods you should be adding to your diet for youthful skin:
- Water for hydration
- Polyphenols, like pomegranates, grape juices and acai berries, for free-radical fighting power
- Avocados for omega-3s
- Pink grapefruits for lycopene and healthy skin-balancing acidity
- Leafy greens for beta carotene
Incorporating some of these foods into your diet will not only make you feel better, but it will improve the health and appearance of your skin and help build defenses against premature aging. For even more tips on how to eat your way to clearer skin, check out Borba's book, Cooking Your Way to Gorgeous: Skin-Friendly Superfoods, Age-Reversing Recipes and Fabulous Homemade Facials.
Treat yourself to a facial regularly.
While healthy lifestyle habits are a great way to consistently take care of your skin, it's helpful to give your skin a little extra love every now and then."In your twenties, it's important to think about your skin in terms of proactive prevention," says Borba. "I recommend a good facial every six weeks." If the idea of shelling out big bucks for a facial once every month and a half makes you cringe, try an at-home facial once a week to clear blocked pores and help stabilize your skin.
Add eye creams to your beauty routine.
It may seem like the only people using eye creams are your moms and aunts, but that isn't the case. Tons of celebrities and mid-20s YouTube gurus swear by eye creams to reduce puffiness and prevent signs of aging. The skin around our eyes is incredibly thin and delicate, so it's important to take care of that area to prevent premature crow's feet and wrinkles. When removing your makeup, try to use an effective makeup remover, like the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($5.99), to remove eye makeup effortlessly without having to tug and rub to remove stubborn mascara.
You should also be using a rich eye cream both morning and night underneath your faciail moisturizer to keep the skin around your eyes hydrated and soft and to reduce puffiness. We love the Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($28.50), which moisturizers and cools while protecting the skin around the eyes. You only need a tiny bit dabbed very gently underneath your eye and over the lid to do the trick.
Protect your skin from the sun.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: make sure you're wearing SPF (even during the winter)! According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 90 percent of signs of premature aging are caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun, and people who use sunscreen daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not. This is because "repeated sun exposure depletes the body's antioxidant content, allowing for free radicals to attack cellular lipids, protein and even DNA," says Borba.
Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Clinical Associate Proessor of Dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and consultant to Coppertone explains that, "An ‘age spot' is actually a solar lentigo - a small bit of pigmentation caused by sun exposure. That’s why using sunscreen earlier on in life, especially during your late teens or early 20s, is vital to skin health and will help protect your skin against excessive sun exposure." Dr. Hale recommends Coppertone CLEARLYSheer For Sunny Days Face Lotion ($9.99 at Walgreens) to protect your skin without clogging pores or feeling greasy.
While any sunscreen containing a high SPF is a safe bet, using products with anti-aging properties, like the Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70 ($13.79 at Walgreens) will help you get the most protection. Borba suggests a suncreen in the form of an oil with a high protection factor: "I currently recommend to my clients (and personally wear) SPF 50 ... I love dry face oils [for sunscreen]."
If you wear makeup, apply a lightweight sunscreen or dry face oil to your skin before applying makeup—don't rely on a BB cream or foundation with SPF to do the job! "Although makeup with SPF is a popular product on the market right now ... it can give women a false sense of security," cautions Dr. Hale. "While it may have a certain level of sun protection, [women] likely don’t apply it with the same precision they would with a sunscreen or reapply it to ensure protection."
While it may be a pain to remember to apply sunscreen daily, over time it will become a habit that will make a world of difference down the line. Next time you're slathering yourself in tanning oil for a day at the beach, remember these words from Borba: "A suntan will fade, but the damage doesn't."
Use products that promote greater elasticity and rapid cell turnover.
One of the first indicators of age is skin that has lost elasticity and plumpness. As we age, our cells renew themselves at a slower rate, making our skin look less youthful and glowing and allowing wrinkles and age spots to develop. Borba recommends looking for "products that contain between 0.5 to 1 percent salicylic acid or 2.5 to 5 percent glycolic or lactic acid," to promote cell renewal and greater elasticity.
A facial cleanser containing salicylic acid that Borba recommends is the Bioré Complexion Clearing Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser ($7.99 at Ulta). While you're at the drugstore, check out products that contain Vitamin C, as well, as these "will also help to enhance your skin's renewal process," says Borba.
Don't neglect your neck, décolletage and hands.
The hands and chest are some of the very first places signs of aging can appear, even as early as your mid-20s (eek!). According to The Huffington Post, one of the best ways to help prevent premature aging on your hands is to get in the habit of slathering the backs of your hands with rich hand creams as often as possible, particularly at night.
We often forget about our necks and chests when speeding through our beauty routine, but it's important to make sure that you're bringing all of the moisturizers and serums down your neck and chest in addition to your face. There are actually products at the drugstore specifically designed for your neck and chest, like the Nuance by Salma Hayek Age Affirm Neck & Chest Balm ($17.59 at CVS).
Also remember to take the same precautions with your hands and neck that you do with your face; that means apply sunscreen daily to the backs of your hands and your décolletage to prevent premature wrinkles and age spots.
You don't need professional facials or pricey Botox injections to prevent premature aging; most of the products you need can be found at the drugstore and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. While you may not see the effects of your hard work now, fifteen years from now you'll be glad you started today!