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The skincare drill that makes you look like you've not been working OT

Start these 5 skincare habits in your 20s, to minimise the wrinkles, dryness and pigmentation that comes with ageing (and long hours at work)
 

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When you’re in your 20s, anti-ageing skincare might seem like a foreign concept to you. After all, you’re still battling breakouts and trying to settle into a sound skincare routine. Plus, you're working long hours in the office, and playing just as hard outside of it – all you have time or energy for is skincare basics.  

Yet, beneath your skin surface, the process of ageing might have already begun. At about age 25, the rate at which the support matrix of your skin regenerates itself starts to slow down. This means that the level and quality of collagen and elastin begins to drop as early as in your 20s.

Add to that, a chronic lack of sleep and inadequate self-care and what you see is dull and tired-looking skin — nothing a dab of concealer cannot hide, right?

But all this can accelerate the process of skin ageing and take a toll on your skin later on. That's why taking appropriate care and prevention is so vital in protecting and maintaining your skin now.   

Here are the 5 skincare habits you should be cultivating – as early as in your 20s – to ensure that your skin ages gracefully:

 

Cleanse thoroughly


When you’ve spent an entire day in an urban environment like ours, it’s inevitable that your skin is laced with a layer of sebum, dirt, pollutants, dead skin cells and sweat. Factor in that layer of makeup you applied in the morning and you’ve got a great breeding ground for bacteria.

And while it might be tempting to just hit the sack at the end of a very long day, the price you might be paying is more than just waking up the next morning to find a couple of new zits. The truth is, when you go to bed with your makeup on, it prevents your skin from regenerating itself.

This is because your skin is at its most porous and receptive of skincare ingredients while you sleep, so if it’s being “suffocated” by a layer of makeup, dirt, grime and other nasty things, it ends up being unable to repair and renew itself.

And even if you’re not wearing any makeup, the build-up can accumulate and clog pores, not to mention seal off your skin surface so skincare products don’t get absorbed.

To make the most of your skincare routine, it is key to gently yet thoroughly remove all traces of makeup, dirt, sebum, sweat, pollution and dead skin cells from your skin surface.

Opt for a mild cleanser which does all that without stripping skin of its barrier layer. Shu Uemura Porefinist2 Sakura Refreshing Cleansing Oil, $115 for 450ml, not only dissolves the most stubborn of makeup, it also contains botanical extracts which help to regulate sebum glands for a more refined skin texture.

It also rinses thoroughly with no greasy residue and leaves skin feeling refreshed. Then, follow with Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro pH Foam Facial Cleanser, $29 for 120ml, which uses naturally-derived surfactants to eliminate impurities from deep within pores. Plus, it’s pH-balanced so it’s gentle and suitable for all skin types.

 

Exfoliate regularly


As we age, it’s only inevitable that our skin’s renewal rate slows down. And if you’re not getting enough rest and not being conscientious with your skincare routine, it means that dead skin cells tend to accumulate on skin’s surface and within pores, leading to congested pores, a rough and dry skin surface and dullness.

To keep skin in tip top condition, try exfoliating once or twice a week, depending on how oily your skin is. Not only will it help with breakouts and large pores, it can also improve skin texture and luminosity.

We like Pixi Glow Tonic To-Go Exfoliating Toner Pads, $28 for 60 pieces. It’s soaked in a solution that contains glycolic acid, which loosens dead skin cells from the skin surface, enabling them to be swept away to reveal softer, smoother and brighter skin.

Aloe vera is also used to soothe and hydrate skin. If you prefer physical exfoliants, try Clé De Peau Beauté Cleansing Clay Scrub, $89 for 70ml.

Instead of irregular granules that might be a tad too harsh on skin, this uses ultra-fine botanical granules to gently buff and lift dead skin cells.

Mineral clay that draws out impurities, together with a host of skin-conditioning ingredients, help to soften and brighten the complexion at the same time.

 

Hydration is key


If you want your skin to be healthy, then you have to first make sure it’s well-hydrated before anything else. When your skin is adequately moisturised, it remains smooth and plump.

This means that fine lines and wrinkles are less likely to deepen. In addition, it also keeps your sebum glands in check so they don’t go into overdrive and produce excessive sebum.

Opt for a hydrating serum like PCA Skin Hydrating Serum, about $80 for 29ml. Formulated with components of skin’s natural moisturising factor (NMF), humectants, antioxidants and soothing agents, this serum not only instantly hydrates skin but also improves skin’s ability to retain moisture for healthier, more resilient skin.

 

Never skip sunscreen


The thing about being consistent with sunscreen is that you probably don’t see the beneficial results within months. Yet, the signs of photo-damage are gradual and accumulative.

This means that you also won’t see the visible signs of photo-damage until several years later.

So instead of spending large sums of money on lasers to stimulate collagen synthesis and to eliminate age spots, why not start early and delay the onset of these with daily sunscreen use?

Plus, sunscreen isn’t just a must on hot and sunny days as it is estimated that 80 percent of UV rays still penetrate the clouds and reach us even on cloudy or rainy days.

We like Vichy UV Protect Skin Defense Daily Care Anti-Shine Cream, $36 for 75ml, as it offers long-lasting SPF 50 broad spectrum protection without leaving behind any greasy residue or a white cast.

Moreover, it is infused with antioxidants and anti-shine ingredients for a well-balanced, mattified complexion.

 

Load up on antioxidants


On top of sticking to sunscreens, it is also important to choose skincare products that are enriched with antioxidants. This is because they are essential in fending off free radical assaults to keep skin healthy.

Some common antioxidants to look out for the next time you go shopping are vitamin C, vitamin E, polyphenols, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 and niacinamide.

And just like how it’s important to have a balanced diet which includes various foods, you should also incorporate a mix of different antioxidants as they each neutralise specific groups of free radicals.

We like Dr. Barbara Sturm Super Anti-Aging Serum, about $529 for 30ml, at Net-A-Porter. Packed with Purslane and Skullcap, two potent plant-based antioxidants which target cellular inflammation, this double-duty serum also contains long- and short-chain hyaluronic acid molecules to deeply replenish skin with lost moisture.

Lightweight and easily absorbed, it leaves skin more resilient against external sources of damage like pollution and UV rays.

 

 

ALSO READ: THE BEST SKINCARE INGREDIENTS TO DEAL WITH SKIN AGEING