It’s never too early to develop good skin care habits, but around age twenty-five is a smart time to focus your efforts on the prevention of premature aging. Beginning in our mid-twenties, we notice changes in the skin due to decreased collagen production. Without ample collagen, the skin has less elasticity. This results in fine lines and wrinkles. Over time skin can appear less plump because of a loss of fat and bone under the skin. This loss of volume eventually causes sagging.
Darkness, hollows, or even bags under the eyes are one of the first signs of aging many of us see. Smile lines or crow’s feet are other symptoms of this decline in collagen. Or if you are more of a worrier, you may see lines forming between your eyebrows. We all have lines when we frown or laugh. But aging skin will have faint lines that remain when the face is at rest.
Another early sign of aging is increased hyperpigmentation. These irregularities in skin color are sometimes referred to as age or sun spots.
Taking strides early on to delay the onset of aging is the best strategy. After all, it is much easier to prevent damage from happening than it is to repair damage that’s already been done. Unfortunately, early signs of aging often go unnoticed and aren’t addressed until they become more substantial. Waiting can cost more money and time in the long run, and you’re less likely to be satisfied with the outcome of this “too little, too late” approach.
Sunscreen, and not just any sunscreen
UV rays wreak havoc on collagen and collagen production, and even incidental exposure makes hyperpigmentation worse.
The most important step you can take to preserve your skin is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every single day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or higher. Read more here about what to look for in a sunscreen. It’s essential that the product has the right amount and combination of active ingredients to truly protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays.
Make sure to apply sunscreen liberally to your face, neck, and chest daily. New research has shown that blue light from our phones, computers, and televisions causes damage to our skin as well. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will also safeguard you against this wavelength.
It’s a good idea to purchase an affordable sunscreen since you should use it often and not sparingly. An excellent resource for sunscreen recommendations is the Environmental Working Group’s website.
Retinoids are creams or gels containing high levels of vitamin A that improve collagen levels and repair sun damage. Used consistently, they reduce fine lines and wrinkles and make the skin glow. Countless studies have shown they are capable of doing amazing things for the skin.
Retinoids are available both over the counter or with a prescription. Prescription retinoids are the strongest and include tretinoin (Retin-A) and tazarotene (Tazorac). The main retinoids found in over the counter products are retinyl palmitate, retinol, and retinaldehyde. The previously prescription-only retinoid Adalpene (Differin) is available over the counter at .1%.
It takes some trial and error to figure out which retinoid works best for your skin. Retinoids are known to cause irritation and dryness, so they must be used judiciously. Read about how to get started using a retinoid here. Start with a low potency and allow your skin to adjust gradually. With consistent use, retinoids deliver impressive results.
P rejuvenation: Injectables and more
Prejuvenation is a term coined by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. It refers to young adults starting non-invasive treatments with the goal of preventing aging. There are many non-surgical solutions to treat facial aging, and early intervention has many benefits.
Physicians agree that patients who seek early treatment end up with fewer lines and wrinkles down the road. It’s not unusual for people as young as twenty-something to visit an aesthetic practitioner. The key is to treat minor concerns before they become larger, more challenging problems.
It’s all about maintenance. If you purchased a brand-new car, you would take it in for routine oil changes and tune-ups. You wouldn’t wait until it stops running to bring it to a mechanic. By tweaking small issues as they appear, you maintain a fresh and youthful look rather than having a drastic change happen at fifty. Starting early with injectables also means you’ll need less product than those who wait until later in life.
Botox relaxes key muscles in the face, discouraging hyper-mobility that leads to wrinkles over time. Getting a Botox injection is like pressing “pause.” If started early enough, it will prevent lines from ever forming. Many people now get “preventative Botox.” Fine lines can be softened and usually disappear after injected, while deeper lines can require multiple treatments with more limited results.
Studies show that Botox also increases the elasticity of your skin while it’s in effect. Starting Botox younger is also advantageous because over time it trains the muscles responsible for the lines to move less. You’ll want to choose a skilled injector who allows some natural movement to remain. Botox lasts anywhere from three to four months. You can read more about it here.
Dermal fillers can correct lines, wrinkles, folds, hollows, and loss of volume. There are many different fillers from which to choose. Most are made of hyaluronic acid (a sugary substance that occurs naturally in the body and can hold 1,000 times its weight in water). What sets them apart is the way the particles of hyaluronic acid are linked together. This variation changes the density, lifting capabilities and movement of the product slightly, which gives a different result when injected under the skin.
There have been studies showing that the presence of fillers encourages your skin to produce more collagen. They also help in the fight against gravity; preventing the excessive sagging of skin that would otherwise lack support.
Dermal fillers also have use outside of rejuvenating the aging face. They can plump thin lips, give volume to cheeks, tweak the look of your nose (like here), or even change the shape and size of your chin. Hyaluronic acid fillers last about six to eighteen months, depending on which product you choose. Bellafill lasts five years or more. Sculptra is said to last up to two years. Read more about fillers here.
PDO threads are like dissolvable sutures that are strategically injected under the skin to provide lift and promote the formation of collagen. They can lift and improve a sagging neck, jowls, cheeks, eyebrows and more. They help tremendously in the fight against gravity and can help thicken up thinning skin. They can be done in a matter of minutes and require no real downtime. You can read more about them here.
Lasers, peels, and microneedling
Lasers like the Aerolase lighten hyperpigmentation, tighten and resurface the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help clear up broken capillaries, acne, and rosacea. Chemical peels or microneedling can be done at regular intervals to help with discoloration and to boost collagen production.
There are many strategies to help maintain our appearance. While facial rejuvenation is a personal decision (and there are no rules about when to begin), there are several advantages to getting a head start. In the words of the wise Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In other words, don’t wait until your face is practically falling off and then expect there to be a simple fix for it. That’s definitely what Ben Franklin was getting at, right?
References and further reading:
(also find references at some of the highlighted links throughout the post)