“OMG, is that a wrinkle?! Aren’t those supposed to appear when you’re like, 60?”
I was 25. I had spent most of my summers till then frolicking under the sweltering Italian sun – sans sunscreen. That was something you only wore at the beach and I HATE the beach. I didn’t need that stuff.
Until one day I looked in the mirror and I saw a HUGE (ok, it wasn’t huge, but it looked like that to me) crow’s feet in the corner of my eye. How did this happen?! You’re not supposed to get wrinkles at this age!
Or… are you? I mean, in the age of Photoshop and Kardashian facelifts, do we even remember what a human being looks like anymore? At what age is it normal to get your first wrinkles and how can you tell if your skin is aging faster than it should?
Let’s find out:
- At What Age Is It Normal To Get Your First Wrinkle?
- 3 Signs Your Skin Is Aging Faster Than You Should (And What To Do About Them)
- The Bottom Line
At What Age Is It Normal To Get Your First Wrinkle?
When you’re young, naive and your skin bounces back straight after a stretch, it’s easy to think wrinkles are something that happens only to old people.
Truth is, wrinkles WILL get you much faster than that. It’s TOTALLY NORMAL to notice your first wrinkles in your late ’20s, especially on your forehead, between your eyebrows or around your eyes.
WTH? Why so soon?
The main culprit is unprotected sun exposure. If you’re anything like me, you didn’t have parents who slathered you in sunscreen from the moment you were born. For most of us as kids, sunscreen was something we only used at the beach, not when playing in the backyard in the heat of summer.
Sure, if it were a particularly boiling day, your mum would force sunscreen on you to avoid sunburns. But no one knew back then that sunscreen helps prevent wrinkles, too. All that sun damage you got as a kid is already starting to show up in your late ’20s.
The other culprit? Repeated facial movements, like smiling, frowning or squinting overtime leave fine lines etched all over your face. But, I’ll take those. I mean, can you imagine a life without smiling?
From your late 20’s onwards, your wrinkles will slowly become longer and deeper. You’ll get new wrinkles, too. It’s after menopause, and the sudden loss of collagen that brings, that wrinkles start getting really deep.
P.S. People with darker skin tones (and more melanin) usually develop wrinkles more slowly and at a later age.
Related: Do Facial Exercises Prevent Wrinkles?
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
3 Signs Your Skin Is Aging Faster Than You Should (And What To Do About Them)
Truth bomb: when it comes to premature aging, your lifestyle matters more than your genes.
Those wrinkles you were blaming on your parents? A bad diet’s more likely to be the culprit. So, how can you tell if you’re doing something to speed up the aging process?
Here are 3 signs your skin is aging faster than it should (and what to do about them):
1. You’re Getting Fine Lines/Wrinkles In Your EARLY ’20s Or DEEP Wrinkles By Your Early ’30s
It’s ok to get fines line around your eyes, mouth and forehead in your late ’20s. But if they appear before that or they already look like deep craters by your early ’30s, your skin is losing collage faster than it should.
Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin firm. After you turn 21, your skin loses 1% of collagen every year until you reach menopause. But the wrong lifestyle habits can speed up the process and destroy collagen faster, making your skin sag and wrinkle before its time.
Here are the biggest culprits:
- Lack of sleep
- Repeated facial movements
- Unbalanced diet rich in processed foods and low in vegetables
- Unprotected sun exposure
HOW TO FIX IT
Your lifestyle has the biggest impact here. You can use the best skincare products in the world, but if you don’t slow down the overproduction of collagen-destroying free radicals, you’re fighting a losing battle.
Here are a few good lifestyle habits to pick up for younger-looking skin:
- Eat the rainbow: Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that fight the free radicals that give you wrinkles. Eat your 5 portions a day. The more, the better.
- Get 8 hours of sleep every day: Turn down all your devices (yes, even your phone) at least 2 hours before you go to sleep.
- Meditate: Any form of mindfulness (meditation, yoga, walking in the park) reduces stress, one of the main causes of inflammation and free radical production.
- Quit smoking: Few things generate more free radicals than smoking. The sooner you quit, the better for your skin (and health).
- Use skincare products with retinol: Retinol fights free radicals, boosts collagen production and speeds up your skin’s exfoliating process, helping wrinkles fade away faster.
- Wear sunscreen: Every single day, come rain or come shine.
P.S. Don’t try to change everything at once. Pick one habit at a time. And give yourself permission to fail. It’s normal to fall off the bandwagon or have a cheat day when you’re trying to pick up a new habit. Give yourself a big hug and try again the next day.
Best Skincare Products With Retinol:
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol ($34.00) (Beginner level): available at Paula’s Choice
- La Roche Posay Redermic Anti-Aging Dermatological Treatment (£20.65) (Intermediate level): available at Dermstore and Feel Unique
- Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65.00) (Pro level): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Sephora and Ulta
Related: What Strength Of Retinol Do You Need?
2. You’re Getting Sun Spots In Your ’20s
You can get freckles or melasma at any age. But getting SUN spots in your ’20s means you’ve got too much unprotected sun exposure and it’s making you age 2x faster.
Once UV rays hit your skin, they destroy everything in their tracks. Collagen. Elastin. Cellular DNA. At first, the damage is so small, you barely notice it. But overtime, it gets so bad, it shows up in the form of wrinkles and dark spots.
The worst part? These nasty buggers can penetrate through clouds and windows and even be reflected on snow. Don’t think you’re safe because you’re indoor or it’s raining. They can still get you!
HOW TO FIX IT
- Wear sunscreen: Every single day, come rain or come shine. Reapply as often as needed. You can use the best skin-lightening creams in the world, but dark spots will keep coming back if you keep exposing your skin to the sun.
- Use a skin-lightening cream: Hydroquinone is the most powerful, but in most country it’s available only by prescription. Arbutin, azelaic acid and kojic acid are all good alternatives. They inhibit the production of melanin, so your dark spots can slowly fade away.
Best Skin-Lightening Products:
- Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener ($10.99): available at Ulta
- Paula’s Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster ($36.00/£37.00): available at Dermstore, Net-A-Porter and Paula’s Choice
- Skinceuticals Phyto Plus ($86.00): Blue Mercury and Dermstore
Related: Battle Of The Skin-Lighteners: What’s The Best Alternative To Hydroquinone?
3. Your Skin Is Dry And Dehydrated
Hydrated skin = younger-looking skin. Moisture plumps up fine lines and wrinkles, makes skin softer to the touch and gives your skin a natural glow.
But when skin starts losing moisture, everything goes south. Your skin dries out and shrivels to an old prune. The wrinkles you already have look 10x worse. Overnight.
How does this happen? You lose moisture when your protective barrier is damaged. Moisture evaporates through the cracks, leaving your skin dry and flaky.
HOW TO FIX IT
Fixing dryness is a two-step process:
- Strengthen your skin’s protective barrier: Rich moisturizers with niacinamide, ceramides and natural oils patch up the holes in your protective barrier, so that moisture can’t escape.
- Use a hyaluronic acid serum: Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. It’s the quickest way to give your skin the hydration boost it badly needs. Just make sure to follow up with moisturiser. No point adding moisture back in if it evaporates through the cracks!
Best Skincare Products To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier:
- CeraVe AM Face Moisturiser SPF 30 ($16.40): available at Ulta and Walmart
- Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster ($42.00): available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($34.00): available at Dermstore, Nordstrom, Paula’s Choice and Selfridges
- The `Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA ($6.80): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique
Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)
The Bottom Line
There are lots of things that can make your skin age faster than it should. Using sunscreen + moisturiser on a daily basis goes a long way to slow down the aging process, so you won’t need to worry about anti-aging for a long time.