Sure, a furrowed brow adds distinction to your appearance, but one wrinkle too many and you’ll force her to wonder: Is he too old for me? Fine lines do come with age—the older you get, the less collagen your cells produce and the thinner and looser your skin appears. But paying a little extra attention to your skin can stall wrinkles until it’s time. Start by taking a good look at your lifestyle. Smoking, skipping sunscreen, not getting enough sleep, and being lax about grooming habits can speed up skin’s aging process. (See our list of 10 Skincare Do’s and Don’ts.)
Still, there’s no need to steal your girlfriend’s messy green face mask or schedule an expensive facial. Skin upkeep can be quick and easy. Adopt this routine now—and know that there are strategies for smoothing out wrinkles when they pop up.
1. Wash Twice a Day
Your face needs a little more than just a rinse in the shower. Aim to wash it both in the morning and at night (plus after workouts). Here’s a no-frills approach: Use lukewarm water and your fingertips to suds up, then rinse and pat dry. Opt for a cleanser that contains glycolic acid to help slough off dead skin cells, which can make skin look dull. Try Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser ($7, drugstore.com).
2. Don’t Forget to Moisturize
No, you’re not being high-maintenance—a good moisturizer plays a key role in keeping skin hydrated after washing. And hydrated skin helps make wrinkles less noticeable. In the morning, slather on a lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher that offers both UVA and UVB protection—even during the winter months. Sun exposure ranks as one of the top causes of wrinkles. At night, try an antioxidant-rich moisturizer, like Olay Regenerist Regenerating Lotion ($22, drugstore.com).
3. Look for Retinol in the Ingredient List
Don’t just play defense when wrinkles arrive. Add a collagen-boosting retinol cream to your skincare routine as you approach your 30s. At this age, collagen production begins to slow down, which means skin starts to lose elasticity—but retinol cream helps reverse that. Apply it at night rather than in the morning because it makes skin more sensitive to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Look for a cream with a moisturizer in it and use it after you wash your face at the end of the day. We like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream ($17, walgreens.com). Or if you’re looking for something stronger, ask your dermatologist about prescription retinoid cream.
4. Make Time for a Microderm Session
When skin starts to look sallow, an at-home microdermabrasion kit delivers a quick tune-up. Kits include an organic mineral crystal spray, which is applied to skin using your fingers, and a rotating brush that you use to gently rub the spray into your skin. After scrubbing, rinse your face clean, and you’ll also rinse away the outer layer of damaged cells, leaving you with tighter, younger-looking skin. To cut down on the mess that microdermabrasion kits make of your bathroom sink, try the treatment in the shower. Or ask your dermatologist about in-office procedures that buff away even more damaged skin.
5. Laser Away Lines
If the above skincare strategies aren’t packing enough punch, ask your dermatologist about pulling out the big guns—or at least the big lights. A procedure called non-ablative laser therapy helps tackle acne scars as well as wrinkles and fine lines. It targets and stimulates the dermis—the collagen-producing layer of skin—so you produce more collagen and get tighter, plumper skin. Because the process improves skin elasticity, you’ll continue to see improvements for two to three months after the procedure. More aggressive ablative laser therapies get rid of dead or unhealthy skin cells on the surface at the same time they stimulate the dermis.
6. Try a DIY Massage
Lasers a little too techy for your face? Massaging skin stimulates blood flow and temporarily tightens muscles, so skin appears tighter, too. Use your index and middle fingers to gently rub skin in small, circular motions. Don’t rub too vigorously or you’ll risk irritating your face. Results don’t last long, so do DIY massage daily to keep skin looking fresh.
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