Your 20s can be a very confusing time: you think your struggle with acne is over, and then you get hit in the face, literally, with adult acne. And as if that’s not enough, you start noticing fine lines appear as well – yikes!
Before you despair at the thought of your worst possible skin days, here’s the good news: you can prevent the onslaught of wrinkles without having to struggle with thick anti-ageing creams that clog up your pores!
It’s important to understand how your skin is changing and how you can prevent wrinkles in your 20s.
Why do wrinkles appear as you hit your 20s?
As a young 20-something, we sometimes think that wrinkles are the least of your worries, but the truth can’t be further from that.
In your early 20s, your skin may look bright, bouncy, and plump due to the favourable levels of collagen, but take note that collagen production rate starts to slow during this time, which sets the stage for the appearance of wrinkles in your mid- to late 20s.
Hence, even if you can’t see any wrinkles on your skin right now, you’re not free from the danger of getting wrinkles just one or two years later!
Besides natural biological changes that occur with age, an unhealthy lifestyle is usually the main culprit of wrinkles appearing in your 20s:
Some of these bad lifestyle habits include:
- Insufficient sun protection – undergoing frequent sun exposure triggers a type of ageing called photo-ageing
- Smoking – damages collagen and therefore causes your skin to age faster
- Facial expressions – frequently raising your eyebrows and squinting to read something far away can cause lines on your face to deepen
- Sleeping positions – if you sleep on your stomach or side, you may develop lines on your face
- Stress – stress hormone breaks down collagen in your skin
- Lack of sleep – sleep deprivation accelerates skin ageing
Expert’s tips to prevent wrinkles in your 20s
1. Start when you’re 25
We know many people are eager to start an anti-ageing skincare routine in their early 20s – chances are, you may have already started using products that ‘lift’ and ‘firm’ your skin once you turn 21.
However, skin experts strongly discourage you from using intensive anti-ageing products before your mid-20s.
Skincare products that promise lifting and/or firming often signal a heavy concentration of peptides, which stimulate collagen production and cellular turnover. These are great for someone in their 40s and maybe 30s, but will actually put your skin cells into overdrive if you’re in your 20s – think major skin irritations and acne breakouts caused by out-of-control hormones!
Hence, experts recommend 25 as the sweet spot for incorporating (read: not a full regimen) anti-ageing products into your beauty routine.
2. Use eye cream if you haven’t already
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Although using thick and intense anti-ageing creams are not encouraged in your early 20s, the one exception to make is eye cream.
The eye area is the first area to show wrinkles and fine lines due to wear and tear from facial expressions, as well as the fact that the skin here is much thinner. Hence, keeping this area hydrated and nourished is essential for preventing premature lines and wrinkles.
In your early 20s, use a lightweight eye cream, preferably of a gel consistency, so that you do not end up clogging your pores. Examples include Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream and Tatcha The Silk Peony Melting Eye Cream.
In your late 20s, your skin tends to get a little drier – that’s when you can start using a more moisturising and active eye cream, such as Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream EX.
3. Slather on sun protection everyday
Never skip sunscreen, especially not in a country as exposed to the sun all-year-round!
If you’re still skeptical about how sunscreen can prevent wrinkles from forming, there is scientific proof to back it up: a study conducted over four and a half years showed that those who applied SPF daily had ageing scores that were 24% lower than those who applied SPF as and when they felt like it – that could mean up preventing up to a quarter of wrinkles just by applying sunscreen!
The type of sunscreen that works best differs from person to person due to factors such as skin type and daily exposure to the sun, but you may take a look at our list of non-greasy sunscreens that work in Singapore’s hot and humid weather.
4. Load on antioxidants inside out
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Antioxidants are the hardest-working skincare ingredients that you’ll need in your fight against wrinkles in your 20s. They not only fix fine lines but also give you a brighter and more even complexion so that you can look young and fresh throughout the decade.
For skincare, look out for the following ingredients that work well for your 20s skin:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Green tea extract
Vitamin C, in particular, is a powerful antioxidant that protects against environmental aggressors, which break down collagen in your skin. In fact, research has shown that as little as 0.6 percent of Vitamin C can help prevent skin damage by free radicals and minimise skin sagging!
Beginners to Vitamin C can start off with more affordable options that are well-suited to all skin types, such as The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum. If you find that your skin is adjusting very well to Vitamin C and you want to amp up your anti-wrinkle game, you can opt for the supercharged Allies of Skin Vitamin C 35% Collagen Rebuilding Serum.
In addition to using skincare products packed with antioxidants, you should also ensure that your diet includes a good proportion of antioxidants as well.
A poor, unbalanced diet is also one of the main culprits behind a plethora of skin problems, so you’ll definitely want to stock up on leafy green veggies, fruits, anything with Omega-3 (salmon), avocados, nuts, seeds, and berries if you want wrinkle-free AND blemish-free skin in your 20s!
5. Adopt good skincare habits
The habits that you form in your 20s are very likely to follow you for the rest of your life, so make sure you get the basics right.
Good skincare habits include:
- Having a skincare routine: What this means is that cleanse, tone, and moisturise, and also use a sunscreen in the day.
- Regular exfoliation: Exfoliating your skin at least once a week helps get rid of dead skin cells, which can help your skin look brighter and be able to absorb your skin products better.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Have a balanced diet, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and have adequate rest – you already know these in Health Education classes!
- Avoid touching your skin: Your hands are possibly the most grimy part of your entire body. Avoid introducing bacteria to your skin by keeping your hands off. Of course, you also shouldn’t be picking at your zits or squeezing your blackheads, to prevent scarring.
- Go for regular facial treatments: Facial treatments help give your skin the booster that it needs. Regular treatments help keep your skin in check and keep it looking at its tip-top condition.