It may sound funny to talk about “aging” and “your 20s” in the same paragraph, because wrinkles and other signs of the years going by tend to require just that: the years actually going by.
Truly, though, we could start a series on how each decade of your life impacts your appearance (and what you can do about it) in your childhood, discussing the importance of applying sunscreen regularly, even if you’re not spending a day playing at the pool or making shell-studded sand castles at the beach. As Bay Area plastic surgeons, we can attest that building a foundation of good habits, from eating well to staying hydrated, goes a long way toward lifelong skin and body health, as well as maintaining a youthful appearance.
Your dreaded teen years, too, impact your face. Up to 50 million people suffer from acne in the United States, where something like 80 percent of the population deals with the prom-jeopardizing skin eruptions at some point. Problem cases aside, though, your first two decades are generally years of fresh faces featuring youthful fullness.
But your 20s are when things start to get serious. Your skin, which for so long has been there for you no matter how little thought you’ve given to it, starts to ease up on its duties. It’s nothing too major, but drops in estrogen and hyaluronic acid production indicate that the carefree days are over. Hyaluronic acid, by the way, is a major player when it comes to looking young. The naturally occurring substance provides hydration and, along with collagen, supports the parts of your face that look best when supported. The less of it you have, the more you’ll see those dreaded wrinkles and hollows.
It would be great if someone could invent a way to stop the clock on aging (or at least the toll it takes on us physically, because the whole “gaining experience and wisdom” gig is a pretty good one), but in the absence of a sci-fi-level time-freezing breakthrough, here are some tips for your 20s. (Pssst: Can you keep a secret? These tips also apply to your 30s, 40s, and beyond. Don’t tell the 20-somethings reading this.)
- Hydrate. Much of skin health is essentially a moisture game, so whether you sip it through a straw or guzzle it from a jug, keep the water flowing.
- Get plenty of rest—and we’re talking physical and mental. Exhaustion and stress will age you beyond your years by hampering your body’s ability to repair itself.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss later in life might shed the pounds, but take a toll on skin that has lost its elasticity, leaving loose, sagging areas that cover up your otherwise sleek and defined lines.
- Stay clean, but be gentle about it. Avoid harsh cleansers and punishing your face when you take that makeup off. (And you are taking that makeup off, right?) This world throws a lot at your face each day. Don’t carry it around with you.
Want more tips on facial health and beauty? Keep checking here for additions to the series (30s here we come!). You can also contact Dr. David M. Lieberman, Dr. Sachin S. Parikh, and their staff to discover what you can do for your face no matter your age. Call (650) 327-3232 or visit one of two offices in the San Francisco area: 805 El Camino Real, Suite A, in Palo Alto, or a new 5,000-square-foot South Bay office at 3425 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 100, in Campbell.