It should come as no surprise that most people hit peak skin health in their 20s and 30s. It’s the sweet spot when most people are too old for the acne and blemishes that came with their teen years, but still too young to be fighting age spots and wrinkles. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just preserve our 20-something skin for the rest of our lives?
Good news: We sort of can. There are plenty of habits that, if started during your 20s and 30s at the peak of your skin’s health, will help it stay that healthy for many years after. Celebrity dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo of Skinfluence in New York City has helped countless people do just that. She chatted with SheKnows to offer some of her best tips for keeping skin healthy, and especially the ones we should all start using in those important decades. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Wear sunscreen!
“This point may seem beaten to death,” Peredo admitted. “But many underestimate the strength of the sun and the damage it can cause to your skin, even during the cooler seasons. Harmful UV rays can quickly age skin, so use products that have SPF as a base to protect yourself and stop the aging process the sun starts.”
Many people undervalue the positive effects a good sweat sesh can have on skin, Peredo said.
“Exercise promotes blood flow and nutrients to the skin’s surface, which helps with skin renewal,” she explained. “During exercise, live skin cells lying deep in the skin are pushed up higher to the surface of the skin. This continued process helps keep skin looking young and fresh.”
3. Drink water
It’s important to stay well hydrated all the time because that keeps your skin at its healthiest, Peredo said.
“Skin is one of the last organs to receive the water you intake daily, so increasing how much you hydrate will ensure it receives the water necessary for skin cell formation, which helps keep the skin looking young.”
4. Build sleep into your schedule
You’re building your career. You’re maintaining an active social life. Where is sleep even supposed to fit in? You just have to make room for it, Peredo says — it’s important for your skin.
“Skin repairs itself from daily damage while you sleep,” she explained. “It’s easy to table a good night’s rest for a late night at work, a party you just can’t miss or any of the endless items on your to-do list, but don’t make a habit of it. If you’re not getting at least eight hours of sleep each night on a mostly regular basis, your skin will start to look droopy and dull. Building sleep into your agenda while you’re young will ensure your skin stays vibrant and fresh as you age.”
5. Keep your diet balanced
What you eat can greatly effect how your skin looks, Peredo explained.
“Constantly missing meals and skipping out on foods with the nutrients your body needs can cause your skin to age faster and dry out more quickly,” she said. “Be sure to keep some healthy snacks on hand — vitamin C-rich foods like oranges will do wonders for your skin — to keep your day balanced. Additionally, minimizing milk products and eliminating sugars from your diet will keep your skin looking healthy for years to come.”
6. Collagen is your secret ingredient
In your 20s is the perfect time to start adding collagen to your skin care regimen, Peredo said.
“This fibrous protein is the secret to beautiful, healthy glowing skin,” she explained. “Our body has lots of collagen, but after the age of 25 our bodies become less efficient making it, leading to a need for us to find it elsewhere. Rather than relying on topical application, you can add it to your diet. Think bone broth, collagen-rich powders and supplements and an emerging category of bottled drinks.”
7. Elastin for the win
Another important ingredient to watch labels for?
“Elastin is a protein that improves the elasticity of the skin and its ability to recoil back, keeping it smooth and firm,” Peredo said. “As you age, elastin production diminishes, so it’s important to add products rich in this protein to your skin care regimen early on.”
8. When all else fails…
…think outside the box when it comes to treatments that could help your skin stay healthy and young-looking.
“[Some procedures] have been shown to help reduce and prevent the signs of aging and keep skin firm,” Peredo said. “We’re seeing a huge upswing in these types of treatments, as many are embracing prevention in their skin care treatments.”
While it may be more important than ever to take care of your skin in your 20s and 30s, the changes it takes to do so are pretty simple and so, so worth it.
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