Skin care: Why it’s never too early and how to do it based on your age

Woman applying cream to her face

You probably heard your mother or grandmother nagging you more than once about how you should take care of your skin while you are still young. “Get out of the sun, you will regret it when you are older,” or “don’t go to bed before taking off your makeup,” and, “don’t touch that pimple, leave it alone or it will scar forever.”  Sound familiar?

We understand. It is difficult to learn from their experiences, but the truth is that ignoring these words of wisdom during our youth can come with a big price tag later in life.

And, we don’t only mean the financial cost of seeing a skin doctor on a regular basis to check up on that dark spot. There is a higher emotional cost to how we feel about ourselves when we get older.

Our skin is not only the largest organ of our body, it is also responsible for maintaining our whole system and keeping our other organs healthy. The state of our skin is a reflection of the state of our health. Our skin also reflects feelings and emotions like anxiety, fear, and stress – there is no way around it.

Skin care and a western obsession with youth

“We are living longer and we want a youthful image to come along with us. We not only want longevity, we want to look and feel good too. It’s almost considered an insult these days to call someone old,” says celebrity doctor Shino Bay Aguilera, cosmetic dermatologist and author of Be Youthful.

The good news is that no matter how late you are in the game, you can still take some steps to help your skin look and feel younger.

Although it is impossible to completely stop the natural process of aging (unless you are Cindy Crawford), experts agree that caring for your skin as early as your teens and twenties has a tremendous effect on how your skin will look when you blow out the candles at fifty. Easier said than done, right?

But before you start analyzing who’s been doing their homework at your next high school reunion, you need to understand a few things that play kind of a big role on our skin’s appearance, like genetics.

“We receive from our parents’ genes, an internal clock that determines many of the changes that will happen in our skin as we age,” says Dr. Aguilera.

This may explain why, in some cases, two people who are the same age may look years apart.

“However, thanks to studies on the new science of epigenetics, we know that in some cases we can alter genetic predispositions,” explains Aguilera.

“Regardless of your genes, it is essential that you take care of this organ for the bigger and more important physiological role in your life.”

What your skin says about you

“The lines on your face may be caused by genetics, but they also speak on their own about what kind of person you are, reveal if you´ve lived a troubled life, and whether you’ve spent too much time under the sun.”

“There are intrinsic factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress that are a very important aspect of the role of our skin. But the true aging occurs beyond the skin. It has to do with architectural changes of fat and bone, which can cause the face look tired or aged,” he adds.

Dr. Aguilera offers some basic tips to keep our skin healthy and youthful for each decade of our life.

Skin care during each decade

Skin care during your twenties

  • Take very seriously the use of sunscreen to protect against sun rays.
  • Avoid smoking and breathing in secondhand smoke.
  • Use an oil-free lotion on your face.
  • Towards the end of your twenties, incorporate a night moisturizer with retinol to help diminish the appearance of fine lines.

Skin care during your thirties

  • Use a mild facial scrub once a week to keep your skin clean and smooth.
  • Use a facial cleansing brush daily.
  • Use retinoic acid to prevent fragmentation of collagen and elastic fibers.
  • It is essential to use sunscreen every day.

Skin care during your forties

  • Incorporate vitamin supplements, especially for female patients. This helps prepare for menopause.  
  • Use retinoic acid and a deep moisturizer as a night treatment.
  • Incorporate antioxidants in serum or lotion.
  • Exfoliate your skin weekly to keep it clean and smooth.
  • It is essential to use sunscreen every day.

Skin care during your fifties

  • Supplement your diet with calcium and vitamin D3.
  • Get a bone density scan to check for osteopenia.
  • Use retinoic acid and a thick moisturizing cream at night. Focus on the eyes.
  • Continue the use of antioxidants either as serum or moisturizer.
  • It is essential to use sunscreen every day.

Following these simple tips to achieve healthy skin can have strong long-term results, but remember, you need to start right now.

“Both men and women who prepare for old age by eating well, exercising, and avoiding cigarette smoke and excessive sun exposure, always look younger than their actual chronological age,” says Aguilera.

For more information on Dr. Shino Bay Aguilera visit

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