What is the best age to start using anti-aging products? Dermatologists break it down here.
“Am I too young to start using these products?” This is a question we receive all the time, and the hesitation is understandable. Since the beginning, anti-aging products have been marketed for women in their 40s and 50s, reaching for eye creams and night serums to fight their already-existing wrinkles. But nowadays skin care approaches are becoming more preventative, and young people are looking to start fighting aging before it even starts to show.
But before you reach for your mom’s expensive AmorePacific cream, know that there are understandable concerns surrounding teens using products made for people in their 40s and 50s, especially with ingredients like AHAs and retinoids that work on a chemical level to stimulate cell turnover in the skin. From worrying about damaging the skin to your skin becoming dependent on the products really early, there are fears about starting these products “too young”.
To put your worries to rest, we reached out to two dermatologists to get expert advice on young people using anti-aging products. Read below to find out how, when, and what products teenagers should be using.
Is there an age that is too early for someone to start using anti-aging products?
Tina Funt, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, says no, stating that “there is no age that is too young to start taking care of your skin.” However, it’s important to choose products that are best for your skin type to ensure good results. “It’s important to tailor your routine to your individual needs; someone who is younger with acne-prone skin may get clogging of pores and other negative results with thick creams, which may be helpful in someone who is older or with dry skin,” says Michele J. Farber, a dermatologist in New York City.
But don’t be afraid to use anti-aging creams either, just avoid the super heavy ones (unless you have a a drier skin type that needs it). If you’re looking for a good anti-aging cream, try the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Cream—it naturally supports cell regeneration to prevent signs of aging, but has a lightweight, gel-like consistency.
Is it true that using anti-aging products earlier is a helpful preventative step to reduce signs of aging as you get older?
“Yes,” says Farber, “starting an anti-aging regimen is important for prevention. Your skin accumulates damage from sun damage, toxins, and well as natural aging. Anti-aging regimens can help slow these processes as well as reverse their effects.”
Funt agrees, emphasizing the importance of fighting against free radicals and existing sun damage, “Antioxidants such as vitamin C and B will help reduce free radical formation generated by sun and pollutants in atmosphere. Eliminating free radicals decreases signs of aging including fine lines, pigmentation and blotchiness.”
A great option for this is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum, which is made with pure vitamin C and works to fight free radicals, sun damage, and pigmentation.
Will your skin become dependent on anti-aging products?
“This is a tricky question,” says Farber. “Part of the natural aging process is that your skin loses collagen and elastin, so using anti-aging products will slow this process. Additionally, sunscreen helps reduce cumulative damage. So it may seem like your skin is ‘dependent’ on your regimen, but a healthy routine is helping to keep your skin in its best shape.” Funt agrees, saying, “Skin does not become dependent on these products, but psychologically you’ll love the effects and want to continue using these products.”
There is a case for switching up the products in your routine, though. Tachyphylaxis is when your skin adjusts to a product and it loses its effectiveness over time. So keep in mind that if you start a routine earlier in your life, you may need to change products more.
Other than the particularly thick creams you mentioned, can using anti-aging products when you’re young be harmful for your skin?
“Certain ingredients may be drying.” warns Farber. “While it is unlikely that any product will cause long-term damage, using the wrong product for your skin can cause a breakout, an allergic reaction, or irritation. It may be difficult to navigate the right regimen and figure out whether your skin is sensitive, acne-prone, or oily. A dermatologist can help you tailor to your needs.”
What is the number one anti-aging practice you would recommend people start as early as possible?
Both doctors love the benefits that retinoids offer and advise starting one when you hit 20. “For a beauty regimen, the best cream to start in your 20s is an over-the-counter retinol or prescription-strength retinoid. These creams pack a punch with the ability to help fight acne, stimulate collagen production, as well as anti-inflammatory activity,” says Farber. Funt seconds this, emphasizing that retinoids really are “the number one product to reduce signs of aging by increasing cellular turnover and decreasing pigmentation.”
However, what both doctors agree is the number one way to reduce aging is sun protection, and you should start using a sunscreen as young as possible. “The most important practice is sun protection” says Farber. “Use sunscreen or a moisturizer with sunscreen with SPF 30 or above and UVA and UVB coverage every day—it is never too early to start this!”
Your best bet is to look for a sunscreen that protects from UVA and UVB rays, but also provides anti-aging benefits. The Missha Near Skin Dustless Defense Sun Block boasts SPF50+ and PA+++ protection, but also uses botanical extracts to form a protective barrier to protect against pollution. Together, this prevents the formation of wrinkles, protects skin elasticity, and guards against discoloration.
The bottom line:
Long story short, if you’re a teenager who’s getting into skincare, you have the upper hand. Although all these formulas help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for those who already have them, they will also help to prevent the formation of wrinkles in the first place.
And, as evidenced above, these products are beneficial to use on young skin, as long as you are being conscientious about your skin type. So if you’re in your teens or twenties, don’t wait—grab that sunscreen and that vitamin C and do what millions of older people probably now wish they had done!