Imagine a grape shriveling up and becoming a raisin. It starts off juicy, round, and smooth, and gradually becomes dull, rough and wrinkled. That’s essentially the grim reality of what happens as you age. One day you look in the mirror and think to yourself, “How did that happen?”
Your twenties are the time to establish good habits and set up a sturdy foundation for a lifetime of smart skin care. You probably haven’t seen any real signs of skin damage yet, unless you are a hard core party girl like Lindsay L. The epidermis renews itself every twenty-eight to thirty days. What lies beneath, however, are changes taking place that will reveal themselves when you least expect them. The stratum corneum, or the top layer of dead skin cells, becomes slightly thicker. Smokers may see the beginning of fine lines near the eyes and mouth. If you are a squinter, you may see crow’s feet and small furrows on your forehead.
What should you do?
Women often look fondly back on their twenties as a time when they could stay out all night and get up for work in the morning looking fresh and rested. But that doesn’t last forever. The real challenge is convincing your 20-something complexion that the more you abuse your skin now, the more you will pay for it later. Regular exfoliation is nothing short of mandatory – your Clarisonic will be your new BFF. Glycolic acid has been used in skincare since the 80s and it works great for active, acne prone skin in a variety of forms. DDF Glycolic Exfoliating Wash 5% will also help remove dead cells and keep skin smooth and soft.
The number one anti-aging product for 20-somethings is a daily dose of SPF which it will protect you from having sun damage. Since you haven’t yet seen much evidence of it (yet), it may be tempting to skip it. But the earlier you start, the more cumulative damage you can prevent. Precancers (called actinic keratoses) can show in your 20s and 30s, particularly if you are fair and have spent a lot of time in the sun. Some of these lesions can also turn into skin cancers if you are not careful. There is no such thing as a safe tan – a tan is a burn which equals damage to your skin. St. Tropez Auto-Bronzant Lotion is a classic all time favorite for flawless wearable color without the UV rays.
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This is the time to focus on prevention, and keeping your skin clear. Vitamin A based products and antioxidants should be applied topically and a light moisturizer with sunscreen should be worn daily. Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF15 will do if you spend your days in the library or at your desk. Clinique City Block Sheer Daily Face Protector SPF25 is better if you walk to work or take your lunch in the park. Stay away from heavy, rich creamy formulas yet because your natural oil glands are in high gear and you don’t need more moisture.
If acne persists into your 20s, some of the best medical treatment options include peels, microdermabrasion, photo rejuvenation or blue light treatments. Once your skin is clear, stubborn acne scars can be treated with a host of lasers – but that gets expensive. Treating acne is the best approach to avoid having to repair scars for acne that was left untreated. It may seem to be too early, but signs of frown lines, forehead wrinkles and crow’s feet can be stopped short by using Botox® or Dysport, if your facial muscles are working overtime.