Sagging skin, age spots, crow’s feet, forehead furrows, bags under the eyes -- we’re all familiar with the signs of aging on the skin. And we know there are a number of products and treatments that can help to prevent and remedy these signs. But when should we start an anti-aging skin care routine? Does it make a difference to start when you’re young? Learn the ideal time to start caring for aging skin and some tips for creating your future skin care routine.
The short answer to, “When is the best age to start your anti-aging skin care routine?” is “Now!” Your skin starts to show signs of aging in your 30s and 40s, as your skin starts to lose elasticity and fullness, fine lines form, it gets drier and thinner and has pigmentation issues. So, starting a basic skin-care routine in your teens and 20s is a good idea. But, if you are older, it’s not too late to start caring for your skin. Forming healthy skin-care habits and routines will help you at any age. You can adjust your skin-care routine to meet the needs of your changing skin and seek help from a dermatologist if your anti-aging skin care routine is not providing the results you desire.
The most important thing you can incorporate into your anti-aging skin care routine is limiting your exposure to the sun. Most of the damage to your skin that appears as you age is caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The American Society for Photobiology performed a study which found that around 23% of American’s sun damage happens before the age of 18, with about 10% more happening in each following decade. So, while you can’t undo the damage done to your skin while you were a child, you can always take measures to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays, preventing many of the signs of aging. And no matter your age, you should start these preventative measures now. Dermatologists recommend daily wearing of a lotion that is “broad spectrum” and has an SPF of 30 or higher. You should do this whether it’s cloudy or sunny, hot or cold. UV rays will affect your skin no matter the weather. And don’t forget about having skin protection when you are in a sunny window, such as in the car. Wear protective clothing as much as possible, especially if you are in the sun for prolonged periods of time or when the UV rays are the strongest, from 10-2. Parents: do your kids a huge favor and protect their skin from the sun during those days at the park, the zoo, the pool and in the yard. Help them avoid having to seek sun damage treatment when they’re older.
There are other environmental factors you can control as part of your anti-aging skin care. First, avoid smoking and drinking a lot of alcohol. Smoking quickly and prematurely ages skin, causing wrinkles and a yellowish complexion. Alcohol dries out the skin, leading to older-looking skin. Avoid a diet that contains a lot of sugars and simple carbohydrates -- this can hasten signs of aging skin. Replace sugars and simple carbohydrates with fresh fruits and vegetables. The American Academy of Dermatology points to studies that have shown a well-balanced and healthy diet can help prevent skin damage. And finally, do not use tanning beds. Contrary to popular belief, the exposure to UV rays from tanning beds is as dangerous as the rays from the sun. Time in tanning beds damages the skin, increasing the risk for skin cancer and bringing on signs of aging skin like age spots and wrinkling.
Before you delve into pricier creams, lotions, serums, and anti-aging treatments, establish a basic skin care routine. This can be one of the best wrinkle reducing treatments. Start with how you wash your face. Wash gently with a mild cleanser. Scrubbing can irritate your skin and accelerate the signs of aging. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests you wash your face twice daily and after sweating heavily. Sweat can irritate your skin, particularly if you’re sweating while wearing tight clothing or a hat. Keep your skin moisturized by applying a daily moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher. Dermatologists recommend using a moisturizer with antioxidants, which can help counteract the damaging properties of free radicals from the sun, pollution, or cigarette smoke. Look for antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, polyphenols, niacinamide (vitamin B3), resveratrol, or coenzyme Q10. After moisturizers with antioxidants, dermatologists suggest using a prescription retinoid or over-the-counter retinol. Derived from vitamin A, retinoids stimulate your skin’s production of collagen, as well as treat acne, reduce and prevent wrinkles, shrink pores and smooth skin tone. It is important to know that while retinoids are a great wrinkle reducer, they cause photosensitivity, making your skin much more susceptible to sun damage. When using retinoids, you must wear a broad-spectrum lotion with SPF of 30-50.
Are you ready to create your anti-aging skin care routine? Contact Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area. The board-certified dermatologists at Vanguard can work with you to design a skin care routine uniquely suited to your skin’s needs.