What Every 26- to 29-Year-Old Needs to Know About Their Skin

Prevent skin from aging prematurely with these tips.

Photo: Getty Images

My 26th birthday recently came and went. And, obviously, I'm still young. But that doesn't take away from the fact that as I age, so does my skin.

Science says that 30 is the age when our skin starts to dry out and become dull in color. Fine lines begin to form around our eyes and mouth, and collagen and elastin (my two favorite things) weaken. Since I'll soon have to check a different box on every form I fill out, I chatted with Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group about a few helpful tips, products, and vital ingredients to keep my face as plump as it was when I was 18 (when I cared more about sneaking out than skin care).

1. Retinoids

This always makes the list, and for good reason. Retinoids, like retinol, help stimulate new collagen production—helping restore the plump, youthful look to skin. It will ease fine lines, wrinkles, even darker sun spots, but it doesn't happen overnight. Start as soon as you can, as tolerated, to reap the benefits. It makes getting older a little less painful.

2. Eye cream

This delicate area starts to show major wear around your late twenties and early thirties. Make sure you're using a good eye cream to help minimize darkening, decrease puffiness, and help rejuvenate this sensitive skin. I like Lumiere by Neocuts and Cerave's new eye cream.

3. Sunscreen

It's better late than never, people. Get on this bandwagon if you're not already. Despite what you're thinking, it's for year-round use, not just summertime. A minimum of SPF 30 will help protect you from daily radiation that causes cumulative damage and aging.

4. Hydrate

Inside and out. Water intake is incredibly important to keep skin healthy—water maintains the elasticity and plumpness that makes skin glow. Additionally, moisturizing is vastly overlooked. Every time you shower, the natural oils and moisturizers from the skin are stripped off, and ideally you should moisturize with a cream or lotion containing ceramides (such as Aveeno) to help maintain a healthy skin barrier.

6. Glycolic Acid and Salicyclic Acid (or any other topical peel)

Dead skin cells sit on the skin and dull it, aging the appearance and enhancing fine lines and pores. As we age, the natural cell-renewal process slows down. Using a topical peel regularly helps to exfoliate the skin gently, and removes light discolorations. Add it to your regimen!

7. Exercise

Research has shown that people who vigorously exercise (think hard, not long) a couple times a week actually showed improvement in fine lines, and obviously there are plenty of studies to show it is good for your overall health, too. Don't worry about sitting at the gym all day long, even thirty minutes, three times a week will help.

8. Cut down on sugar (and wine)

High levels of sugar and wine in your diet will enhance inflammation of your skin and make conditions like rosacea worse. Limit yourself and replace those items with antioxidant rich foods that will improve your skin tone and redness—like omega-3 (salmon), pomegranate, and green tea.

9. Cut out harsh cleansers

Skin loses the ability to retain moisture as we age. Rather than using harsh foaming soaps to wash your face, switch to a hydrating cleanser like Cetaphil. Keep the water lukewarm (avoiding HOT water) to prevent excess irritating and stripping of natural oils.

This article originally appeared on MIMIchatter.com.

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