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When Should You Really Start Using Anti-Aging Products? We’ve Got the Answer.

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Photo by Jun/Getty Images

Are you pondering when to get into the world of anti-aging products? Well, let's crack the beauty code together! We all have that one friend who has sworn by anti-aging creams since high school, but is that really necessary? Spoiler alert: probably not. But here's the deal—while you don't need to start slathering on anti-wrinkle potions in your teens, it's never too early to start thinking about preserving that youthful glow.

Think of anti-aging products as skincare superheroes, swooping in to save the day (or your face) from the clutches of time. The truth is that our skin starts its journey to the land of fine lines and wrinkles as early as our twenties. But don't panic! With the proper knowledge and a trusty skincare routine, you can keep that youthful glow strong. So, whether you're a skincare newbie or a seasoned pro, we've mapped out the best time to start incorporating those age-defying skincare heroes into your daily routine.


About the Experts:
Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, is an NYC- and New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist.
Rachel Lozina is a licensed esthetician who founded Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay, NY.

1.  What Are Anti-Aging Products?

Anti-aging products are more than just fancy potions in beautifully packaged bottles. As dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, explains, "Anti-aging products refer to products formulated with ingredients that are designed to prevent and treat signs of skin aging, which may include ingredients like retinoids, peptides, hydrating ingredients, antioxidants, and more." Essentially, they're your skin's best defense against the visible effects of aging.

Esthetician Rachel Lozina adds another layer of insight, saying, "Anti-aging products contain targeted antioxidants, peptides, growth factors, stem cells, and alpha hydroxy acids that help improve the appearance of color, texture, and quality of the skin." In other words, these products are like a personalized arsenal, fighting off wrinkles, fine lines, and dullness to keep your skin looking vibrant and more youthful.

2. When Should One Start Using Anti-Aging Products?

According to Lozina, the earlier, the better. "Surprisingly, you can start young. I start my young clients at age 10 using topical vitamins like A, C, and E in their daily moisturizer because these can neutralize oxidative damage and prohibit aging," she advises. It's never too early to give your skin a helping hand in the battle against aging.

Dr. Garshick states, "Anti-aging products may be considered in your twenties and thirties as a way to help prevent signs of skin aging." Even before you notice fine lines or wrinkles, incorporating anti-aging products into your skincare routine can help maintain your skin's youthful appearance for the long haul. So, whether you're in your teens, twenties, or early thirties, it's worth considering adding an anti-aging agent to your regimen to maintain your skin's elasticity.

3. The Best Time to Start Using the Following Anti-Aging Products:

Anti-Wrinkle/Firming Creams: When it comes to incorporating anti-wrinkle and firming creams into your skincare routine, timing is everything. "Firming creams can be considered, especially for those in their forties and fifties, as we begin to notice skin sagging. Ingredients to look for include peptides which help to firm the skin," says Dr. Garschick. This insight emphasizes the importance of addressing skin concerns like sagging and loss of elasticity, which become more prominent as we age.

However, Lozina suggests a proactive approach: "You can start using targeted anti-wrinkle and firming creams around age 30. You may not see the signs of aging until you hit 40, but start early to prevent it and help prohibit a lot of visible aging by the time you hit 40-45." This recommendation highlights the significance of early intervention in skincare to delay the onset of visible aging. By starting in your thirties, you can take preemptive measures against wrinkles and sagging, setting the stage for radiant, age-defying skin.

Emollients: These luxurious moisturizers that leave your skin feeling soft and smooth are a skincare staple that can benefit everyone, regardless of age. Dr. Garshick states, "While everyone should use them, they are essential for those dealing with dry skin." This means whether you're in your teens battling hormonal changes, in your thirties starting to notice fine lines, or in your fifties experiencing more pronounced signs of aging, emollients can be your skin's best friend. By providing intense hydration, emollients not only nourish the skin but also help to maintain its natural moisture barrier.

Eye Creams: According to Dr. Garshick, "Changes around the eye may start to become more noticeable in the thirties and forties, leading to the appearance of crow's feet, volume loss, dark circles, and puffiness, which is when many people start to incorporate an eye cream." However, the benefits of eye cream aren't limited to a specific age group. As Dr. Garshick points out, "an eye cream can be used by anyone who is starting to notice changes in the under eyes." Whether you're in your twenties dealing with late nights or in your fifties combating more pronounced signs of aging, incorporating an eye cream into your routine can help hydrate, firm, and brighten this delicate area.

Exfoliants: Lozina recommends beginning in the teenage years when hormones are at their peak and oil production is rampant. "You can start exfoliating at a much earlier age, typically during the teenage years, because this is when hormones are raging and oil production is at its highest. Alpha hydroxy acids are the most commonly used anti-acne ingredient on the market. Throughout your teenage years and in your early twenties, using a glycolic acid peel pad is always a good idea because it really removes the superficial dead skin and reveals healthier fresh cells underneath." This underscores the importance of exfoliation in combating acne and revealing fresh, clear skin during these formative years. 

As we transition into our twenties and beyond, the benefits of exfoliation continue to shine. "Exfoliants may be incorporated in your twenties and thirties as they help to boost radiance and brighten the skin overall. As skin cell turnover slows down as we age, using an exfoliate can help to keep the skin looking fresh and renewed," explains Dr. Garshick. Regular exfoliation promotes cell turnover, encourages collagen production, and reveals a smoother, glowing complexion.

Neck/Décolletage Cream/Masks: By incorporating neck creams or masks designed to lift and firm, individuals can maintain a youthful and smooth appearance in this area, ensuring a more cohesive and youthful overall look. "Typically, the skin starts rapidly aging from age 30 on, so utilizing specific creams targeted for lifting and sculpting the neck area is recommended," explains Lozina. This advice underscores the importance of proactive skin care measures to combat the effects of aging, such as sagging skin and loss of elasticity, before they become prominent.

Microcurrent Devices: "Collagen production slows down dramatically after age 20, and that's when the signs of aging really start to show. Microcurrent stimulates the muscles and helps remodel and tone the musculature of the face. It's like exercising—working out keeps the muscles in shape. Microcurrent does that for your face so the muscle tone doesn't droop," explains Lozina. By using microcurrent devices in your twenties and beyond, you can promote collagen production, improve muscle tone, and keep your complexion looking firm.

Retinoids/Retinol: Starting retinoids or retinol in your twenties or thirties allows you to take proactive measures to maintain collagen levels and prevent early signs of aging. "These are a vitamin A derivative that helps boost collagen production and improve overall texture and tone, improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discoloration. For this reason, they can be incorporated in the twenties and thirties, as we know that is when we begin to lose collagen," says Dr. Garshick. By incorporating these anti-aging products early on, you can effectively address fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

Sun Protection: Incorporating sun protection into your skincare routine is crucial, and the earlier you start, the better. "Sun protection should be incorporated even in childhood as we know cumulative exposure to UV can contribute to signs of skin aging," advises Dr. Garshick. Whether you're a child, teenager, or adult, wearing sunscreen daily and practicing sun-safe behaviors can help safeguard your skin against sunburn, skin cancer, and the visible signs of aging.

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About the author
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea is an NYC-based fashion and beauty writer with over 7 years experience. She has held roles at publications such as Harper's Bazaar, WWD, InStyle, and Marie Claire. Her writing has also appeared on ELLE.com and POPSUGAR.com.
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Article Last Updated May 17, 2024 12:00 AM