If you're in your 20s or 30s, it's prime time to prevent the signs of aging.
"What you do for your skin or against your skin will have ramifications as you age," dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD, says.
Two of the best things you can do for your skin are not to tan or smoke. Don't count on quitting either habit later; that won't protect your skin from what's happening now. "Unfortunately, younger women are still smoking," dermatologist Doris Day, MD, says. "It’s one of the worst things -- after sun -- you can do to your skin."
Signs of aging may still be subtle in your thirties, Day says. "But it’s a nice time to start to address it because a little bit goes a long way."
10 Anti-Aging Tips
Keep your skin looking youthful every decade with these tips from top dermatologists.
1. Wear sunscreen every day. Rain or shine, in every season, wearing sunscreen should be an automatic part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 and says "broad-spectrum" on the label. That means it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreen should also offer some water resistance. The UVA rays cause the sun’s aging effects, Waldorf says. To get UVA protection, check the ingredients list for avobenzone, mexoryl, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.
Reapply the sunscreen as directed on the label. Most people don't put on enough, so be liberal when you apply it, and reapply it every one to three hours, depending on the amount of sweating, swimming, or direct sun exposure you get. "Nothing is going to work if you don’t put on enough and use it often enough," Waldorf says. Don’t forget your neck, hands, and arms.
2. Avoid tanning, both indoors and outdoors.
Tanning is one of the biggest skin mistakes that younger women make, Waldorf says. "Damaging your skin with ultraviolet radiation will make it look worse." And too much sun, she says, can also cause skin discoloration and damage to elastin and collagen.
If you want a tanned look, Day recommends you use sunless tanners. They come in sprays, gels, creams, lotions, and wipes. Just remember, they don't protect you against sunburn, Day says. "You still need to wear sunscreen every day, all year round."
3. Wear sunglasses.
They will you protect your eyes from the sun and also the delicate skin surrounding them. Plus, you won’t be creating more wrinkles by squinting all the time.
4. Wear hats, visors, and sun-protective clothing.
Wear them along with sunscreen. Hats with a broad brim are a good choice, Day says. You could even rock a parasol to keep sun off your skin.