Why You Should Start Your Anti-Aging Routine In Your 20s

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It turns out, it’s never too early

Back when I was a teenager, my mother was always very adamant about me taking proper care of my skin. Letting me borrow her daily moisturizers and night creams in my late teens, and always making sure I took off my makeup before bed, I followed her ways in order to help keep my complexion looking fresh and healthy, in hopes of keeping it youthful as long as possible.

However, once I moved out and went off to college, I let my skin-care routine take a bit of a back seat. I let excuses like “I’m too busy” or “I’m too tired” take reign and pretty much breezed through my early 20s without taking too great of care of my skin. From sleeping in a full face of makeup, to never cleansing properly, to popping all of my term-paper-stress-induced pimples while chain-smoking at my desk—which at the time, felt so Carrie Bradshaw-esque (the smoking, not the pimples)—I was definitely guilty of multiple wrinkle-inducing (and gross) habits.

Now that I’m 26, I’m terrified of the day that my first big wrinkle makes its debut. Over the past year or so—you know, right about when I hit the quarter-life crisis mark—I really began thinking about my mother's advice (who looks incredible at the age of 61, by the way), and focused on taking better care of my skin. I've tried out a number of different, powerful products, but still, I was curious—are they actually helping? Is anything I’m using actually hurting me? Is it actually necessary to start a preventative aging routine early on, and if so, when?

It was time I turned to the experts for answers, so I spoke to some of the best dermatologists and skin-care gurus out there. Click through below to read on.

While most of us don’t begin to see any signs of aging in our 20s, we may wonder why we need to make such an effort to be so meticulous about our skin.

Well, while it may not be visible, our bustling lives as young adults are already beginning to age us. Vicky Tsai, founder of Tatcha, stresses that in terms of when to start using anti-aging skin care, the earlier the better. “Premature aging is the acceleration of aging caused by diet, stress, lack of sleep, sun exposure, and so forth,” says Tsai. “Premature aging usually becomes visible in your 30s, but the actual damage can be done in your teens and 20s.”

While we may be past the teenage acne and don’t have any visible smile lines just yet, we see signs of aging in less noticeable ways. Whether it’s a duller complexion, larger pores, or rougher texture, our skin is beginning to lose its glow—which Wendy Brooks, director of Origins global product development, describes as “quarter-life crisis skin.” “It’s imperative to begin a comprehensive and high-performance skin-care regimen during your quarter-life years to prevent future damage,” says Brooks.  

In terms of prevention, it’s best to think of anti-aging skin care and why it’s so important now. While I may not have crow's feet at the age of 26, I sure as hell want to stave them off for as long as possible. “The earlier you begin an anti-aging regimen, the more you can prevent premature aging,” says Tsai.

Well, I’m sold.