The ever-changing landscape of social media has — without a doubt — influenced how we see ourselves. It is partially responsible for the influx of preventive ageing procedures many women in their 20s and 30s are currently using to ward off the early signs; scientific progress and easy access to clinical data are also factors. “Prevention is more effective than reversal,” notes board-certified dermatologist Dr Jenny Liu. And while categorically “younger” patients are oftentimes open to more invasive treatments, Dr Angela Lamb, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, advises beginning with a product-based preventative ageing routine (integrate retinol into your regimen, she says, before you turn 30). Ahead, Dr Liu, Dr Lamb, and Dr Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, explain how the ageing landscape is different for women below 40 — and how to remain proactive as you age with grace.
Millennial women are more diligent with their preventative ageing routines — but our experts still see damage every day
Today, we know more about what causes skin ageing — sun exposure, free radicals, stress — than ever before. The most pressing question, however, is this: How are younger women really using this knowledge? According to Dr Engelman, millennials have played a role in making self-care, which often involves a strict skincare regimen, mainstream; younger patients are more likely to layer serums, antioxidants, oils, and retinol, she says. While some of her patients certainly are taking preventative measures, Dr Engelman points out that “there are always more who come in to repair damage after it has been done.” The main reason? Top-of-the-line technologies and treatments for reducing or even eliminating specific signs of ageing are widely available. “These tools alleviate some of the pressure of being diligent about preventative skincare,” she explains. According to Dr Liu, sunscreen is a critical precautionary factor — one that many women in their 20s and 30s understand as a key player in their anti-ageing routine. “Hopefully they are wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, using enough, and reapplying it,” she notes.
Women are experimenting with anti-ageing treatments earlier than ever before
Patients are asking for certain anti-ageing-centric treatments earlier and earlier, explains Dr Engelman; this is the new norm, she says, as cosmetic procedures are widely published and discussed more openly online and on social media. Younger women, adds Dr Lamb, are also more willing to try new things. Dr Liu agrees: “I’m seeing a shift in my patient base: Younger patients are more open to invasive procedures like Botox/Dysport, fillers, and laser resurfacing. Microneedling is another treatment that younger women are gravitating towards,” she explains, due to its ability to improve acne scars, skin texture, and tone. Our experts say that the majority of their patients begin asking for these preventative ageing treatments in their mid-to-late 20s, when they notice the very first signs of ageing, which are brown spots, crow’s feet, and forehead creases, notes Dr Lamb.
Retinol is the first line of defence
It’s not necessary to jump straight to neurotoxin, though. Retinol, which stimulates cell turnover and collagen synthesis, is the first line of proactive defence — and all three dermatologists urge their patients to start using it in their twenties. According to Dr Liu, a rich moisturiser with hydrating, nourishing properties is also important. “It aids in the rebuilding of the skin’s barrier, and when skin is healthy, it appears less dull and fine lines are less visible,” she explains.
Sunscreen is the “not-so-secret” secret to preventing premature skin ageing
The golden ticket is still sunscreen. Wearing SPF each and every day is the most important preventative measure of them all, since it can stop the leading cause of premature skin ageing (and prevent cancer), which is sun damage. For an extra dose of antioxidant protection and to avoid sunscreen-related breakouts, Dr Engelman encourages her patients to wear a vitamin C-based serum underneath their sunblock. “Early intervention could also involve utilising at-home peel products a few times per week,” Dr Lamb adds; these products effectively exfoliate dead skin cells, fade dark spots, reverse dullness, and promote healthy cell turnover, notes Dr Engelman.
Avoid the most common pitfalls
When it comes to the most common mistakes women in their 20s and 30s make, our dermatologists unanimously note that not using sunscreen and generally ignoring your skin (such as not washing your face before bed) are the true issues. “You should have the basics down first (cleanse, moisturise, and protect),” says Dr Liu, before moving onto more ambitious measures (which will be moot without that baseline). Another common blunder, says Dr Engelman, is relying on corrective treatments, rather than practising healthy skin habits. “They also don’t always moisturise as well as they should,” shares Dr Lamb.
Skincare isn’t the only factor
Exercising, eating healthy foods, practising stress management, quitting smoking, getting enough sleep, and drinking plenty of water can also ward off the early signs of ageing, agree all three dermatologists. “In my opinion, patients who have a high percentage of those components have the nicest glow,” notes Dr Lamb.
This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com
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