You may have always heard it’s important to clean your face in the morning and to never go to bed with makeup on, but it’s even more important in your 30s when cell turnover slows down. When you’re younger, new skin cells are created and slowly work their way to the surface over a 28-to-30 day period. As we age, this period gets longer, allowing the dead skin cells to clog your pores and make your skin appear dull.
To combat this change, look for a foaming cleanser that’s soap-free (and stay away from milk or lotion-based cleansers that are too hydrating and rich for younger skin). You don’t need to waste your money on cleansers that claim all kinds of fancy active ingredients. A cleanser is rinsed off quickly, so you don’t really get to reap any of those supposed additional benefits.
No matter your skin type, you must moisturize your skin. (For those with oily skin, try gel creams, which offer the benefits of moisturizing without the heavy feeling associated with traditional creams.) You may also want to find a product with hyaluronic acid (also known as sodium hyaluronate), which is greatest moisturizing ingredient available today—it draws up to a thousand times its weight in moisture from the air and binds it to the lower layers of the skin.
Collagen plays a key role in firming to our skin but, after age 25, the amount of collagen produced by our bodies drops more and more each year. Don’t turn to products that claim to contain collagen (the collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed and used by our skin). The trick is to use ingredients that can get your skin to increase the production of collagen, such as L-ascorbic acid (i.e., the purest form of vitamin C).
The sun triggers production of melanin, creating uneven skin tones and age spots, and, as a result, accelerating the signs of aging. While many makeup products inherently have physical sun blockers like titanium dioxide and mica, you should still use sunscreen under your foundation, preferably one with zinc. Also, always use an SPF of 30+, but don’t waste your money on those claiming SPF 50 and above—research has found they don’t offer much more protection.
Your eyes don’t show the signs of aging yet, but that doesn’t mean you can skip taking care of them. Start using an eye gel or a light gel-cream that will target puffiness, dark circles, and hydrate the delicate eye area. Don’t jump to the heavier creams yet, as these will weigh down the skin around the eye. Stay focused on the key ingredients you need to protect your youthful appearance and to prevent future damage like Argireline (an acetyl hexapeptide that features a mechanism that rivals Botox injections) and hyaluronic acid to properly hydrate the skin around your eyes.
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In your 20s, your beauty routine matters...but there's room for error (a consoling fact for those of us who still go to bed with our makeup on sometimes). But, once you hit 30, it's time to make some important changes to your day-to-day regimen, especially when it comes to preventative care. To find out what modifications need to happen, we chatted with chemist and beauty industry expert David Pollock, who shared the following five tips.