Technically, as a young 20-something, I'm in the heyday of my youth—i.e. I can still get away with a one-vodka-tonic-too-many/four-hours-of-sleep kind of night without it being written all over my face. But I know the key to preventing wrinkles is all about starting early. So what *exactly* should I be doing? I looked to skin expert and anti-aging sensei Renée Rouleau to break it down.
Skin Care Regimen
Find something formulated for your skin type. Pay attention to what kind of skin you have—is it oily? Dry? Acne-prone? Using products that cater to those issues will keep your skin healthier overall.
Do not break the cardinal rule of skincare. No matter what, you always have to wash off the day's makeup, oil, and bacteria. Before bed, you must cleanse, exfoliate, tone, and apply a serum with anti-aging properties under your moisturizer.
But you should actually go easy on the anti-aging products. Now more than ever, young women are conscious about taking preventive measures for anti-aging. While that's a good thing, we can overdo it. "Many anti-aging products have potent active ingredients in them that increase the metabolism of the cells and may be too active for a younger complexion," explains Rouleau. "Since skin in the 20s is already metabolically active, the stimulation of anti-aging products could possibly increase breakouts." Instead of slathering on products that are too mature, concentrate on the basics of washing, moisturizing, and protecting skin against the sun.
Get facials. Monthly deep pore cleansing facials are a must, says Rouleau. They're ideal for women in their 20s as they not only prevent aging, but destroy bacteria to prevent acne blemishes. If you can't spring for monthly, try going four times a year to sync up with the seasons.
Use eye cream. By starting at a young age, you can help prevent the formation of wrinkles in the eye area, which is the first part of the face that shows signs of aging. "If you are in your 20s and are starting to see fine lines appear around the eyes, you should use a well-formulated eye cream to keep the delicate area nourished and protected." Try: Renée Rouleau Total Eye Repair Cream ($61.50).
The Food and Drink Plan
Eat foods rich in antioxidants. By minimizing cell damage, they fight aging from the inside, out, plus they're high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and a good source of vitamins. Look to leafy green veggies, fruits, anything with Omega-3 (wild salmon), avocados, nuts/seeds, and berries.
Drink plenty of water. We've been trained to believe that eight glasses a day is a one-size-fit-all number for how much water we should be drinking. But in reality, there is no magic number. "Water needs are actually individual and can vary according to your body weight, activity level, health status, and temperature outside," says Rouleau. One rule of thumb you can follow is 1oz per 30 kcal of calories consumed. If you're not one for a math equation, download the iDrated phone app, which will determine exactly how much you should be drinking according to your age and weight.
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
- Keep water next to your bed when you go to sleep at night.
- Keep water at your desk at work.
- Put a sticky note on your computer to remind you to drink up.
- Carry a water bottle with you in your bag.
- Drink before, during, and after exercise. If exercising for longer than 60 minutes, consider a sports drink.
Not to sound like a broken record, but sun protection is without question the best way to prevent aging for young skin. You must use sunscreen every single day of the year, not just when it's sunny. "At the beach, people often focus on the SPF number, but it's really about applying sunscreen generously and reapplying often (at least every two hours)," says Rouleau. If you have sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin and require a sunscreen that dries to a matte finish, use a formula with zinc oxide. For normal to dry skin, us a chemical-free, all-mineral formula, she says Rouleau. If you err on the size of lazy, dusting on an SPF-infused mineral powder onto the face is a fast and easy way to instantly protect the skin from the sun
"Sleep is the time when your body repairs the damage from the day, and interrupting that process will slow down cell turnover and interfere with proper blood flow to the skin making the complexion sallow," says Rouleau. Lack of sleep can also aggravate virtually all skin conditions including acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Beauty sleep is a real thing, guys.
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