In Your Twenties
What's going on?
Women in their twenties will start to see the first signs of sun damage, like freckling and brown spots, as well as fine lines around the eyes and mouth. "You need to start protecting yourself from the sun, if you haven't already," says Dr. Manjula Jegasothy, a dermatologist at the Miami Skin Institute.
Twenty-somethings may also see facial flushing -- a reddening of the skin -- as well as small broken capillaries or acne. "Some of that could be rosacea, a skin condition characterized by redness, but the most likely cause is sun damage," says Dr. Christopher J. Dannaker, director of dermatology at the Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Center in Beverly Hills, CA.
To avoid sun damage, stay out of the sun as much as possible and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays. "Your late twenties is not too early to start (treatment), especially if you live in a southern state. Those in northern states, or those who haven't had much sun, can wait until the thirties," Jegasothy says.
She also recommends using a mild anti-aging, anti-wrinkling cream that is retinol-based, such as Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream or Pore Refining Cream ($12, $13, drugstores.) Retinol is a form of vitamin A, an antioxidant that helps skin cells mature and keeps skin smooth.
In addition, she suggests a bleaching cream with hydroquinone to help fade sunspots, creams that build collagen, and an antioxidant serum, like Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum ($23, avalonorganics.com.) which you can apply under moisturizer in the morning.
For acne, consider laser therapy, an alternative to adult acne fighters like Accutane, which can have serious side effects including persistent headaches, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to the sun.
"Lasers decrease the bacteria that cause acne and minimize any scarring," says Dr. David J. Goldberg, a dermatologist in New York and the author of Light Years Younger: The Definitive Guide to Anti-Aging Skin Care (Innova Publishing, 2005.)
If you're in the sun a lot, Jegasothy recommends getting a chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatments once or twice a year in your twenties. Depending on the condition of your skin, she suggests getting these treatments every three months in your thirties and every two months in your forties. "If your skin issues are genetic, you'll need more intense treatments, like lasers, as you age," she says.