It started happening to me when I was 28 or 29. One day it occurred to me that my skin was somehow…different. Not on the outside, but from within. I’d gone through my twenties with oily, acne prone skin. Now my skin could best be described as oily combination. Some parts of my face were starting to be more dry than oily. I still got breakouts but they were less predictable in nature. I started to feel a dry tightness in my skin at night. Did I need night cream? Serum? What the what? Wasn’t I too young for all of this?

No. I wasn’t. According to Dr. Julius Few of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, I was right on time.

“Women should start using anti aging serums and creams in their 30s before the signs of aging take hold. A good analogy for this early effort is to think about shifting from the normal lane of aging to the slower lane of aging. I actually don’t use the term anti-aging because it implies that aging is bad. Aging itself isn’t a bad thing—it’s a fact of life! The key is to find ways to do it gracefully, and that starts with good products, early on,” says Dr. Few.

And according to Dr. Brooke Jackson of Skin Wellness Center of Chicago (AKA the first dermatologist I ever went to), if the question is in your mind then you should start using anti-aging skincare products ASAP. The best, most important kind? SUNSCREEN.

Dr. Jackson went into detail about it.“Start using anti aging serums. The best anti-aging serum/cream is sunscreen and that should start at 6 months of age. If you are not using a sunscreen on a daily basis (regardless of your intent to be outdoors) then you are playing catch-up rather than being preventative and it is always easier (and cheaper) to be preventative!

Your skin dries out as we get older, so the moisturizer you used in your 20s is probably not going to do it for you in your 40s or 50s. As estrogen decreases, the need for moisture increases so this means you should use heavier creams.

Creams and treatments are complimentary to each other but not interchangeable. Treatments such as peels, lasers, and injectables target specific concerns and this is dictated not by age, but by need. To reiterate my first point, I generally start doing treatments on patients who have had significant sun exposure about 10 years earlier than I do on patients who have practiced sun protection in their teens and 20s. Injectables are treatment for volume loss (cheeks, smile lines) and most patients could probably use a little something in their late 30s to mid 40s.”

So there you have it, from the pros!

Now I’m 33, and I use a serum or night cream every night – or at least I do my very best to slather something on before going to sleep. I’ll do a follow up post on my favorite brands and varieties, so you’ll know what I’m working with! My skincare issues continue on – especially now that I live in Chicago, climactic changes have led my skin to become even dryer although my oil/acne issues continue. If you thought you stopped breaking out past the big 3-0, allow me to gently talk you down off the ledge. These things happen. Thankfully, there are amazing products to help us deal with them.

Revisit my vintage post The Grown Woman’s Skincare Regimen. These struggles are real and they’re ongoing! I’ve shared mine. Please feel free to share yours in the comments!


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