You’re walking down the skin care aisle and all of a sudden you start to feel a little overwhelmed. You get the occasional break out, but you’re not as acne-prone as your high school days. You don’t necessarily need the highest benzyl peroxide blast you used to rely on, but you want something to keep your skin looking fresh. And what about those slight wrinkle-esque lines starting to form around the corner of your eyes? Is it weird to buy eye cream before you’ve even had your 21st birthday?
We’ve all been there. The beauty aisle is a scary place, especially when you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. But, it’s an important place. After all, they wouldn’t devote that much space to something that wasn’t a big deal. As young women, there are plenty of ways to start caring for our skin now to prevent the signs of aging. So, the next time you find yourself wondering through the skin care aisle, here are a few anti-aging product tips to keep in mind.
Load up on the SPF.
Since we’re still young and most of the work we’re doing is preventative, natural ingredients and basic sunscreen may be the best call. As I’m sure you already know, sun protection is unbelievably important. Look for moisturizers and foundations that have an SPF of at least 15 and put them on, even when it’s cloudy. They should be broad spectrum to block both UVA and UVB rays.
What to look for on the label:
If it doesn’t say specifically on the label that it’s broad spectrum, look through the ingredients list for oxybenzone or benzophenone-3, which block UVB rays, and avobenzone to shield you from UVA rays. I use Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 for daily use which I love because it goes on so smoothly under makeup. Because it is just a 15 SPF product, I like to have SPF in my foundation as backup. I’m a huge fan of Covergirl’s Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation which has a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen built in, and in my opinion holds its own against upscale brands. These products keep your skin healthy while not compromising appearance.
We like this Neutrogena Beach Defense sunscreen.
Toners, moisturizers, or creams that contain Vitamins C, E and antioxidants are great because they block and prevent free radicals that can wreak havoc on collagen, a protein that supports your skin’s smoothness and elasticity. Here’s a little organic chemistry lesson: free radicals are unpaired electrons that can break apart other molecules in order to gain another electron to become more energetically favorable. This is a propagation step in a chain reaction, meaning that it will cause more and more free radicals to form until it is terminated by two free radicals coming together to form a molecule with all paired electrons. This happens on an absolutely huge scale in your body and can rip apart lots of necessary molecules, especially those needed for healthy skin as the skin itself absorbs tons of free radicals from pollution and sun exposure.
What to look for on the label:
Look for ingredients like acai berry, blueberry, pomegranate, green tea, or avocado oil. Vitamin C is sometimes listed as L-ascorbic acid, which just means that it’s in a form that’s stable to air exposure. Alpha-lipoic acid is another great antioxidant. Check out Origin’s A Perfect World antioxidant cleanser with white tea and the Body Shop’s Vitamin C Daily Moisturizer complete with SPF 30. Both of these products are a great transition for acne-prone skin to anti-aging products because of their lightweight formulas and revitalizing ingredients that will fight fine lines and acne simultaneously.
Give me the strong stuff.
If you’re looking for something a little more intense, the next step is introducing a retinol cream or serum to your daily regimen. Retinols are Vitamin A derivatives that stimulate collagen production and are one of the most tested and used anti-aging tools. Retinols are available over the counter, while their more potent cousin, the retinoid, requires a prescription from a dermatologist. 40 Carrots, a company that specializes in retinol products, makes a great Vitamin Serum that contains retinaldehyde, a form of retinol that is actually easier for the body to convert to a usable form. It also has Vitamin C built in that can make the retinaldehyde a little less harsh on the skin. It is important to use extra care with sunscreen because retinol products make the skin much more sensitive to sun exposure.
We like this Retinol Surge moisturizer by Body Merry.
Feature image source: true-md.com
Ellen Harris is a pre-med bio major at the University of Chicago. She enjoys drinking good coffee, exploring Chicago, and napping.