At this moment I have twenty-five days, three hours, five minutes and twenty-two seconds until my twenties are officially over, but really who’s counting? For the past few years, the topic of turning thirty has been a hot conversation among my friends. Some can’t wait to enter a new decade while others loathe the idea that they’re hitting an age where they need to “have it all figured out.” Luckily, since I know I’ll never “have it all figured out” and I’m okay with the fact that I still consider pizza its own food group, I fall on the excited end of the spectrum. While I plan to welcome thirty with open arms (and a whole lot of champagne), the beauty editor in me is a little more apprehensive about the whole thing, because whenever I get older, my skin does too.
It’s a scary thought, and it’s even scarier when you hear what happens to your complexion on a physiological level. “As you age, the fat pads that make our cheeks look full and youthful begin to thin and shift downward, and we experience facial bone loss,” says Orlando-based dermatologist Allison Arthur, M.D. “This leads to changes like the hollowing of the eye area and dropping of the cheeks. When the cheeks deflate, it causes deeper lines to form around the nose and the mouth.” I mean, who knew losing fat could be bad? Then there’s even more bad news: Dynamic wrinkles. “These lines are created due to repetitive folding of the skin with facial expressions, such as furrowing the brows,” explains Dr. Arthur.
- The Best Anti-Aging Products for Sensitive Skin
- 5 Double-Duty Skincare Products
- Yes, Face Yoga Exists—Here’s How It Helps Fight Wrinkles
But before you frown, grimace, or show your displeasure about any of this, remember that all these negative expressions only make matters worse—and there is an upside. I talked with Dr. Arthur about the skincare “rules” every 30-something should start doing ASAP. Fingers crossed these tips will still have me still getting carded in another ten years.
1. Wear sunscreen
It seems obvious, but SPF needs to be your best friend if it isn’t already. Wear a sunscreen containing zinc with SPF 30 or higher (my personal favorite is IT Cosmetic’s Anti-Aging Armour since its tinted formula instantly brightens skin). Remember: UV rays can wreak havoc even if you’re in car.
2. Always pack your sunglasses
Luckily, this one is easy down South. Your go-to shades are a secret weapon against crow’s feet. Not only do they protect against the sun, but they also stop you from squinting. “Squinting causes wrinkles to form around the eyes,” explains Dr. Arthur. “Your goal should be to never squint, so even if it's a cloudy day, take your sunglasses with you.”
3. Stop tanning
While I admit I like to lay-out (with SPF of course!), Dr. Arthur says that’s also a big no no: “A tan is a sign that the skin has been damaged.” So instead, I’ll be reaching for self-tanner. Also, if you still go to tanning beds, excuse the caps, but STOP NOW. The chance you’ll get melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, goes up by seventy five percent.
4. Sleep on your back
“Compression and tension applied to the face when sleeping on the side or stomach can cause "sleep wrinkles" to appear over time,” explains Dr. Arthur.
5. Don’t use a straw
This one hurts, I love a good straw. Plus, it’s the best way to avoid ruining your lipstick. Sadly, when the circular muscle around your mouth contracts, the skin pulls and creases like a drawstring bag, leading to lines.
6. Reach for a retinol
After sunscreen, retinol is the second most important anti-ager. It stimulates collagen production and skin cell turnover, which helps prevent fine lines and clogged pores. “When I meet a new patient in her 60's, I can always tell right away if she has been a devoted retinoid user for the past two to three decades, as her skin is firmer, tighter, and more even in color compared to other women her age,” explains Dr. Arthur. Start using one now, so you’re that woman down the road.
7. Give your lashes some TLC
“Do not underestimate the importance of the eyelashes in the overall appearance of the face!” says Dr. Arthur. They instantly can make you appear more youthful. Thicken up them up with a volumizing mascara or a prescription lengthening solution like Latisse.
You might also be interested in:
8. Tailor your regimen to your needs
Depending on your skin type and lifestyle, it’s key to choose a skincare routine that addresses your specific issues. For example, since I have dry skin, I should opt for a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid (like Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel) to retain moisture. Don’t know what your biggest complexion concerns are? Go visit your dermatologist.