Most of us only start thinking about skin care when anxiety pops up—a rogue brow wrinkle can lead you to invest in retinoids, and the first sign of your discoloration may make you finally realize what all the hype about vitamin C is. . But according to dermatologists, having healthy skin is beneficial active Instead of reactive — which means starting a longevity-promoting routine *now* so you don’t have to deal with damage control later.
Skin type and color can play a role in how quickly skin ages, but the environmental factors we’re exposed to throughout our lives, (think: sun exposure and pollution) are the main culprits for sun spots, wrinkles, dullness and hyperpigmentation. Most people begin to notice these visible signs of aging in their 20s, when their body’s natural collagen production begins to decline, so investing in a routine during this decade can be beneficial in the long run.
The good news is that taking preventative measures doesn’t mean you have to invest in a laundry list of expensive products. Derms recommend keeping it simple and budget-friendly by using a few effective ingredients proven to promote skin longevity. While you won’t be able to completely stop skin aging (remember: it’s a normal and natural part of life), creating the right routine early on can keep your complexion healthy for longer.
in the morning
to clean up
“When you are [in your 20s]you have healthy oil production, so you want to make sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly twice a day,” says celebrity esthetician and facialist Ildi Pekar, who adds that clean skin is the foundation of any good skin care routine. Your skin needs to be clean. So that any other products you use can penetrate the skin instead of sitting on the surface, which can clog your pores and cause acne. Not only can acne cause scarring, but the inflammation associated with it can also damage collagen, says Sarah Senak Jackson, MD, Audubon. says a board-certified dermatologist in dermatology.
For best results, look for gentle, moisturizing formulas, and avoid anything that strips your skin of moisture. If your complexion feels tight or “squeaky clean” after washing, your cleanser is too harsh.
Antioxidants should be a part of any longevity-promoting routine because they neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation—two things that inhibit collagen and elastin production and contribute to the visible signs of aging.
Vitamin C is one of the most popular antioxidants (you’ve heard all about it on TikTok), and is beloved for its ability to prevent free radical damage, brighten skin, and even out discoloration. “Niacinamide is another antioxidant that reduces inflammation and redness and protects the skin from oxidative stress,” Dr. Jackson says. “And then resveratrol is a compound that comes from grapes, it’s an antioxidant that you can use at night. It also helps protect cells from pollution and UV radiation.”
UV exposure, which comes from the sun, is the number one cause of accelerating our skin’s aging process—which is why any dermatologist will tell you that sunscreen is the single best “anti-aging” ingredient money can buy. UV rays from the sun cause free radical damage, which leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin and overactive melanocytes that lead to dark spots.
If you aren’t already, commit to wearing SPF every day (yes, even when it’s cloudy). As any dermatologist will tell you, sunscreen is the single best anti-aging ingredient money can buy. “At the very least, wear SPF 30 or higher every day,” says Robert Finney, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Entière Dermatology. Place it next to your toothbrush. Most people don’t forget to brush their teeth in the morning, so this is a good reminder.”
In addition to slathering on SPF in the morning, it’s important to reapply regularly (every two hours if you’re spending time outdoors) to ensure you’re properly protected. To make it as easy as possible, Dr. Jackson suggests people wear a “sunscreen wardrobe.” “You should have several sunscreens that you like and that you can use for different occasions,” she says. It looks like a tinted sunscreen for a no-makeup day, a light sunscreen before makeup, and water-resistant when you’re out for a jog. After all, the “best” sunscreen is what you actually wear.
to clean up
Throughout the day, your skin is exposed to dirt, grime and pollution. If that stuff stays on your face while you sleep, you’re more likely to experience breakouts. Plus, makeup traps free radicals under your skin, which cause fine lines and wrinkles. With all this in mind, it is extremely important to wash your face before going to bed.
If you’re wearing makeup, you can opt for a double-cleanse to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the gunk (start with a makeup remover or oil-based cleanser, then follow with a gentle foam), but if not, you’ll have yours to work on. You can use the same cleanser from am routine.
Dr. According to Finney, your evening routine is the perfect opportunity to focus on collagen-stimulating ingredients and repair any damage done throughout the day, which is where retinoids come in.
Retinoids are one of the best known ingredients for stimulating collagen production. They work by increasing cellular turnover, which kicks collagen and elastin production into high gear and brings healthy, new skin cells to the surface of your skin to replace any dead, dull ones.
It is worth noting that this particular active ingredient can cause irritation on some skin types, so you may want to start “low and slow” (with a lower concentration a few times a week) or choose a moisturizing formula to give your complexion. Time to adjust.
If your skin is very sensitive to retinol, Dr. Phinney suggests bacuchiol, a plant-based alternative or peptides. Both have anti-inflammatory properties and work to effectively stimulate collagen.
On nights when you don’t use retinoid, you may want to add an exfoliant to the mix. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface, which prevents breakout-inducing clogged pores and stimulates cell turnover to even out your skin’s tone and texture. It also stimulates blood flow and thus stimulates collagen production, which reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and bags.
For best results, “stay away from harsh scrubs because they can actually damage the surface of your skin,” says Packer. Instead, try chemical exfoliators that contain polyhydroxy acids and lactic acid, especially if you have sensitive skin. Just be sure to limit your exfoliations to three times a week, max, as doing too much can lead to inflammation, breakouts, dryness and flakes.
Whether you have oily, dry or combination skin, everybody Moisturizer should be used before sleeping. Exfoliating your complexion not only prevents dryness and cracking, but also prevents your skin from producing its own oils that can clog your pores and cause acne. What’s more, hydration is essential to keeping your skin’s barrier strong, which is important because it’s your first line of defense against the elements: it keeps the “bad” stuff, like pollution, out, while holding in the “good” stuff, like water. , inside. Also, fine lines and wrinkles are more visible on dehydrated skin, so moisturizing is essential.
Although the type of moisturizer you choose depends largely on your skin type (those with oily skin should opt for a light, oil-free lotion, while those with dry skin may benefit from a heavier cream) Pekar recommends hyaluronic acid-based formulas. board. The ingredient is found naturally within your skin, and binds with water to help retain moisture. Studies have also shown that in addition to increasing hydration, hyaluronic acid helps to plump the skin, increase elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Our editors select these products independently. Buying through our links can earn good + good commission.