With the rise of skin care enthusiasts and specialised products, it feels like the age we’ve been told to start targeting our age-related skin issues has gotten younger and younger, to before we can even see the effects ourselves. But is this the way to go, starting to worry about wrinkles and saggy skin as early as our twenties?
To answer this, I think it’s important to start with some changes our skin goes through when we age…
Making up around 70% of your skin’s mass, collagen fibres provide firmness, and structure for Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid; responsible for skin elasticity and hydration. At around 30, the degradation of collagen outweighs production, and increases even more so into your 40’s. For women, there is a reduction of 1-2% every year post menopause. In fact, it is linked directly to hormonal changes (less oestrogen, less collagen, basically), which can start in your mid-twenties.
One of the most common lipids (essential components of the skin which are particularly crucial for barrier function) produced by your skin cells, Squalene is effective in protecting the skin from free radicals, especially when caused by UV exposure. At 30, the production of Squalene slows dramatically.
With the loss of Squalene and Collagen, your skin’s ability to retain moisture follows suit. Hyaluronic Acid is such a wonder ingredient because of its unique ability to bind and retain moisture molecules, as well as aiding the skin repair process. Photoageing, or the effects of repeated UV exposure, diminishes the Hyaluronic Acid content in your skin.
It seems like 30’s is the appropriate time to start making up for degradation, but at risk of not answering my own question, my advice is that you should tailor your skincare routine, and your anti-ageing ingredients, around your skin type.
For those with dry skin, most of the products you’ll see for anti-ageing will benefit you just as much; especially Hyaluronic Acid and collagen boosting Peptides, as the ageing process is dehydrating.
Oily skin? You’re probably sick of people telling you that you’ll appreciate it when you’re older. But, as it happens, you probably don’t want an intense hydrator, and instead stick to antioxidants which are still going to help fight free radicals for a little while longer.
Buying into anti-aging products doesn’t have to be a dramatic step whereby you have to admit you are ‘getting old’, and if you’re already cleansing and moisturising your skin, then you’re already giving yourself a leg up.
If you smoke, or are drinking alcohol excessively, you might want to think about their effects on your skin, and how they are accelerating the ageing process. Air pollutants are also a worry, and your diet is an influencer. And then there’s the kicker… UV exposure. Accounting for around 80% of facial skin ageing, it is an unavoidable truth; you need to wear sunscreen, or a product with SPF. Every day (And no, ‘it’s cloudy’ isn’t an acceptable excuse).
On Monday, we posted a poll on the Q+A Instagram to ask you when you thought was the right time to start using anti-age products...
There was an overwhelming majority for your 20’s. I think this speaks to our proactivity.. It’s always easier to be ahead of the curve than retroactively trying to undo damage and change. But like I said, there’s no expectation to start on an anti-aging focused routine. If you’re worried, there are plenty of versatile ingredients, like Hyaluronic Acid and those rich in antioxidants, which can target your more pressing worries, with the peace of mind they’re also protecting your skin from ageing accelerants.
We use skincare products because we want our skin to be healthy, and that shouldn’t change as we age. Continue to tailor your routine to your skin’s needs, and it doesn’t matter if the label says anti-age or not. For those of you who answered our poll with ‘never, age gracefully!’ I love your confidence! But I’ll take a stab in the dark and say you’re already using something that’s helping against signs of ageing anyway.
If you're looking for something to help with signs of ageing, whatever your age, I'd recommend checking out our Rapid Rejuvenator Bundle - a trio of products to help you achieve that youthful glow!
Farewell for now,
Amy @ Team Q+A
Online community coordinator at Q+A and logophile