We deal with sunburns as kids, zits as teenagers and as we get older, fine lines, sun spots and, yes, wrinkles. What’s the point of growing up?
While we’re told to take care of our skin at an early age -- my fourteen-year-old stepsister uses an anti-aging moisturizer to fight the non-existent wrinkles she’s convinced she has -- sometimes aging skin has nothing to do with how we prevent it and everything to do with our genetic make up.
Those of us with fair skin can expect to age differently than those of us with dark skin. Acne changes the way our face ages, too, as well as previous sun damage.
Ready to see what you’re going to face in the next few years? Check out below (and bookmark these tips ASAP).
If your skin resembles a volcano:
Don’t think your acne-prone skin won’t affect how you age.
"The most important aspect of acne in aging skin is the product regimen and procedures used to treat the acne,” Dr. Jessica Weiser of the New York Dermatology Group says. "Because collagen and elasticity of the skin wane during the aging process, it is important to treat acne gently in order to maintain skin quality and prevent excessive irritation and potential scarring."
Put away those heavy scrubs, soaps and cleansers -- all they’ll do is give you lizard skin. Instead, use simple formulas that won’t damage the integrity of your skin. One must-have? Retinoids.
Dr. Weiser explains:
Retinoids are the most important treatment for aging skin and acne because they serve multiple purposes: collagen production, skin turnover, and reduction in oil gland productivity.
Do what the doctor ordered and gently exfoliate your skin twice a week — it’ll help battle both aging and acne.
If you do have acne, though, don’t lose your sh*t just yet. Very oily skin, which usually goes hand-in-hand with acne, can be somewhat helpful in staving off fine lines and wrinkles.
If you thought your pimple days were over:
Adult acne is a thing and it sucks. Acne can develop (and persist) at any age, so you can be battling wrinkles and blemishes at the same time. Sorry, but those zits you had a sixteen-year-old will haunt you.
There is a difference between adult and teenage acne, though. Dr. Weiser explains:
"Teenage acne most commonly affects the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) whereas adult acne typically occurs on the chin and jawline."
Abandon all hope of having a cute chin, I guess?
If you have naturally darker skin:
Just because you’re a black beauty doesn’t mean you’re immune to the effects of aging. While Dr. Weiser believes while having more melanin is somewhat protective against sun damage, it can still cause other sun-related issues.
Darker skin types tend to develop melasma and other pigmentation changes and are more prone to long term discoloration.
Fairer girls, on the other hand, are totally f*cked:
Fair skin has little if any innate protection against UV exposure and thus typically shows early onset signs of aging including pigmentation or freckling, but may also have accelerated collagen breakdown, wrinkling and loss of elasticity.
Basically, bathe yourself in sunscreen if you don’t want to look like a pug in 20 years.
If you live in the sun:
If you’re a beach bum or one of those creeps that always tans on the lawns at Central Park, you’re probably going to develop sun spots. Those pesky dark spots are created by prolonged sun exposure — particularly UVA radiation — that increases melanin production in the skin.
Freaked out? Try the abstinence approach: Keep yourself out of the sun for as long as you can help it. If that sounds like an awful lot of "no can do," just slather on broad-spectrum sunscreen with awesome UVA protection every 2 hours. You know the drill.