- Implement an anti-aging skin routine in your early 20s to nourish and protect your skin
- Antioxidants are important compounds in anti-aging as they help protect the skin by neutralizing damaging free radicals
- Choose skin care products that contain alpha-hydroxy acids to exfoliate, moisturize, firm and brighten skin
- The most important part of an anti-aging skin care routine is the application of a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or 50 sunscreen daily to protect against premature aging and skin cancer
An anti-aging skin care routine can provide multiple long-term benefits by protecting skin from external damage caused by sun exposure and pollutants. This routine can work to support skin health by including products that contain active ingredients that exfoliate, hydrate, strengthen and protect the skin.
What Makes an Effective Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine?
With age, skin loses firmness and elasticity due to diminishing collagen production – the protein responsible for skin’s strength and structure. This causes skin to become thin and lax, wrinkle and sag.
As well, with time, unprotected skin regularly exposed to UVA and UVB rays causes mutations in genes due to damage caused by free radicals. This can lead to age spots, dull rough skin, lines and wrinkles, and skin cancer.
In fact, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) damage is the primary environmental factor in prematurely aged skin.
An effective anti-aging skin care routine focuses on protecting skin from this damage and works to infuse skin with strengthening and protecting ingredients; doing so helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles and prevents dark, hyperpigmented spots from forming.
An important component of good skin care is to protect the skin barrier function which plays a critical role in protecting the skin from environmental threats such as allergens and bacteria, as well as moisture loss.
When imbalanced, the barrier function is compromised and skin will appear red, irritated, inflamed and hypersensitive. This also leaves it prone to skin conditions such as acne or atopic dermatitis.
To protect the skin barrier function and fend off skin damage, an effective anti-aging routine should contain a combination of active ingredients, including alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as vitamins C and E and retinol, a derivative of vitamin A.
Together, these agents provide effective anti-aging solutions by protecting against fine lines, wrinkles, lax skin, dark spots and age spots – caused by the natural aging process as well as external stressors such as sun damage and pollution.
When to begin an anti-aging skin care routine
The best time to begin an anti-aging routine is in your early 20s. While you can’t stop your skin from aging, you can help it age well by protecting it from environmental damage. As well, include skin care products that effectively cleanse, exfoliate and hydrate to nourish and moisturize skin.
Many anti-aging skin care products can influence collagen and elastin production to help strengthen and plump skin, and keep it supple as production naturally diminishes with age.
6-Step Anti-aging Skin Care Routine
It’s important to identify what your skin type is so that you can choose suitable products, and to understand what active ingredients would benefit you most.
Look for products that are free of fragrances, formaldehyde, parabens and phthalates. These can all contribute to drying and irritating your skin.
Unless you have very dry skin, wash your face twice a day to remove impurities, grime and flaky dead skin cells. Opt for a gentle low pH cleanser that is suited to your skin type and any specific skin concern.
For example, oily skin would benefit from a foaming cleanser containing salicylic or glycolic acid to increase skin cell turnover and remove excess oils; a cream-based cleanser formulated with glycerin and emollients will boost moisture, which is ideal for dry skin.
While cleansers typically do not offer any powerful anti-aging benefits, they do play a key role in an overall anti-aging skin care strategy. It’s vital to choose one that leaves your skin feeling fresh and comfortable, to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier function.
Toners can remove any residue that remains after cleansing and prepares the skin to better absorb serums and moisturizers.
These products are available in a wide range of formulations that are compatible for every skin type; you can choose one that is more astringent to clear and balance oily skin, a soothing formula for sensitive skin and a hydrating one for dry. These toners can also meet the needs of an anti-aging strategy through the inclusion of active ingredients.
A product containing antioxidant ingredients, such as vitamins C and E will help strengthen and protect skin to prevent the formation of age spots, wrinkles; both also stimulate collagen production and boost elasticity in skin.
Exfoliation with an AHA is an important step within an anti-aging skin care routine; regular exfoliation stimulates circulation to brighten skin, and prompts rapid skin cell turnover to slough off damaged and hyperpigmented spots. This all contributes to reveal a fresh, youthful appearance.
AHAs are also renowned for increasing collagen production and restoring hydration. This helps prevent sagging by thickening and strengthening skin; this also softens the look of lines and wrinkles for a rejuvenated effect.
Glycolic acid is an ideal AHA to obtain these results; for sensitive skin, opt for lactic acid as it is gentler and less likely to irritate skin.
Apply an anti-aging serum
Anti-aging serums are highly concentrated formulas that contain a number of active ingredients. Retinol is likely the most widely used as an anti-aging ingredient due to its strength in promoting skin cell turnover and stimulating collagen production. This helps achieve brighter skin and thickens skin to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinol is best used at night as it causes increased sensitivity to sunlight. Before applying moisturizer, wait a few minutes, to allow the serum time to absorb into your skin.
Vitamin C serum is another excellent option, and produces the same skin brightening effects
Hydrated skin appears smooth and plump and minimizes the look of lines and superficial wrinkles. They also retain and prevent moisture loss and support the skin barrier function.
Moisturizers are available in a wide range of consistencies to be compatible with all skin types, and can be found with a number of added ingredients that can contribute to an anti-aging strategy.
Opt for a moisturizer that contains the following: niacinamide which is a type of vitamin B3; vitamins C and E; and ferulic acid. This combination produces enhanced effects as the acid boosts the effects of the vitamins.
In one study, researchers found that a topical application of 5% niacinamide improved a number of skin concerns including elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, texture, hyperpigmentation, redness, blotchiness and sallowness.
Ferulic acid is a powerful antioxidant that can scavenge and neutralize free radicals to protect skin from cellular damage caused by photodamage. Combining ferulic acid with vitamin C and E is the optimal choice as it has been shown to increase the efficacy of vitamin C eight-fold.
Skin cell regeneration and repair primarily occurs during the night; it also tends to become dry during sleep. As skin is more receptive during this time, take advantage of this opportunity to apply a night cream that contains effective active ingredients to target any specific needs and restore hydration.
Apply a rich, nourishing moisturizer during your evening routine to provide skin with additional hydration, ideally containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides. This will also help counteract the dryness that may occur when using AHAs or retinol.
Don’t forget to moisturize the vulnerable eye area. This skin is thin and fragile, making it especially vulnerable to crow’s feet, fine lines and dark under-eye circles. An under-eye cream is rich in active ingredients and designed to firm, hydrate and protect this specific area.
Use a pea-sized amount of product and gently tap, not rub, into skin.
Lastly, in the morning before you leave the house, regardless of the weather, apply a 30 or 50 SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging UV rays. This is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your skin from photodamage and premature aging.
Anti-Aging Skin Care Routine Tips
You can design an effective anti-aging skin care routine by choosing products and active agents that are compatible with your skin type.
- Dry skin can appear flaky, dull and coarse but can be helped with hydrating creams. Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, a substance that is a powerhouse when it comes to attracting and retaining moisture and for its anti-aging effects. To lock in moisture and form a protective barrier on dry skin, look for a moisturizer containing ceramides, a key component of the skin barrier.
- Sensitive skin types should opt for gentle products that are as natural as possible, contain few chemicals and no fragrances. Look for bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol that can produce the same anti-aging benefits, without any peeling or stinging. One study demonstrated that bakuchiol significantly decreased wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
- Oily skin would benefit from lightweight products that are formulated to eliminate excess oils such as salicylic acid to slough off dead skins for a brighter complexion as well as to clear pores of oily residue. Retinol is also ideal for oily skin, not only for its anti-aging benefits but for its ability to regulate sebum production.
- Combination skin can safely tolerate retinol but should only be used daily if skin shows no signs of irritation. As well, look for moisturizers that contain peptides to stimulate collagen production and ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier and guard against moisture loss.
An effective anti-aging strategy begins in your early 20s to protect skin from sun damage and environmental pollutants, and to nourish and strengthen it for best skin health. Sun protection plays a key role in an anti-aging skin care routine.
Choose products that are formulated for your skin type and that contain active ingredients to encourage collagen and elastin production; speed up skin cell turnover; treat hyperpigmented spots; reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles; and target dullness and roughness.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C and E shield your skin from environmental damage, thereby slowing the development of age spots, fine lines and lax skin. As well, regular application of moisturizers help plump and hydrate skin, maintain the skin barrier function. Taking these steps contributes to a more youthful complexion.To achieve healthy, younger-looking skin, dermatologists recommend you specifically tailor your anti-aging products to your individual skin type.
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