I just finished up season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I can’t stop thinking about a scene from season 2, episode 3 where Jacqueline says to Kimmy, “We’re just friends helping each other out. I’ll go first. Stop sleeping on that side of your face.” It never occurred to me that sleeping on the same side every night could cause half of my face to be more wrinkled than the other side. I sleep face down with my face smushed against the pillow all night. I rationalize this by saying “Not getting enough good sleep gives you wrinkles too!” But unfortunately, it does make a big difference.
I know some wrinkles are totally natural, even in your 20’s. I look at other people in their early 20’s and they have the same wrinkles too. Most people start getting fine lines on their foreheads, under their eyes, and between their eyebrows when they’re really young.
If you’re in your 20’s your skin is resilient and can repair a huge amount of damage that you may have already caused. While it’s never too late to improve your skincare routine, it’s best to start paying attention as soon as possible!
Tips for Preventing and Treating Wrinkles in Your 20’s
Seriously, stop sleeping on your face
There’s some debate over how much this affects wrinkle development, but plastic surgeons and dermatologists can usually tell immediately if you’re a stomach- or side-sleeper based on where your skin shows signs of age. Plastic surgeon Alex Kardis says, “If you sleep on your side or face down, pressure on the face literally causes the skin to wrinkle. This is particularly true of the nasal-labial fold, which is the line that runs from the nose to the mouth. Laughter lines can also form from sleeping this way as the skin around the eyes is particularly thin.” If you’re a woman, this also prevents vertical wrinkles on your chest from sleeping on your side. This is probably one of the most important habits to break since you spend a third of your life sleeping. I’m a stomach sleeper and this is a really uncomfortable habit to break, but there are a lot of skin benefits of sleeping on your back.
Remove your makeup every night. Really!
I am guilty of coming home late, falling into bed, and just using a makeup removing wipe to get any mascara and foundation off of my face before going to sleep. While this is a little bit better than falling asleep with makeup on, it’s certainly not a substitute for actually washing your face with a gentle cleanser. We all know we’re supposed to do this but many of us don’t make it a habit. Makeup is already not that great for your skin so it’s important to wash it off completely along with any toxins accumulated from the day. Your skin repairs itself at night and leaving makeup on exposes your skin to free radicals that cause collagen breakdown. It also leaves you prone to eye infections, acne, and broken eyelashes–yuck!
Find a good under-eye cream or serum and use it
I had a manager who was in her 40’s who had beautiful skin. She attributed her beautiful skin to using under-eye cream every night since she was 16 years old. I didn’t really believe these made a big difference until I made it a habit to use my StriVectin SD Advanced Concentrate every night for several weeks. At the beginning I had three deep forehead lines and one day I noticed they were almost completely gone after a few weeks of using the treatment! I was blown away by this; I didn’t know they could go away! I thought it would just prevent them from getting worse. StriVectin is particularly expensive but if you have a Costco membership you can get it discounted. Whatever brand you decide to use, make it a habit to actually use it. They will prevent a lot of damage and even repair any damage you currently have.
This is also something we all know we should do but we don’t do it. Putting on sunscreen every day is tedious and expensive, especially if you live in a hot climate.
The internet seems to be divided when it comes to how much of wrinkling and skin damage is actually caused by the sun, but the medical community is not. Studies have shown that up to 80% of skin aging is caused by sun damage. “Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibers in the skin called elastin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. The skin also bruises and tears more easily — taking longer to heal.”
It’s recommended that you wear SPF 15 or higher every day, but I personally think that might not be enough during hot summers. My favorite sunscreen to use is Neutrogena’s Age Shield face lotion because it sits well under makeup and is great for all skin types. It’s thick, but not sticky or oily. During the summer don’t forget to put sunscreen on your neck, chest, hands, and feet because the skin there is also very delicate (and usually exposed).
An additional note! If you’re going in the ocean make sure to use a sunscreen that doesn’t contain ingredients such as Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3), Butylparaben, Octinoxate, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), or 4-methylbenzylidene camphor which were shown to kill or bleach coral (more information here). Instead, look for sunscreens that use titanium dioxide and zinc oxide rather than chemical sunblock. Our actions always have larger impacts than we think. Be conscious of the chemicals you consume and put on your skin and learn to read labels.
…And wear sunglasses
While discussing sun protection, get a pair of sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays. Squinting all the time can result in crow’s feet. If you squint a lot while trying to see clearly, it may be time to see an eye doctor and have your prescription adjusted. When it comes to squinting in the sunlight, “lines develop because of the motion of the muscles; it’s called the orbicularis oculi muscle — a circular muscle around the eye that causes the wrinkles and crows feet to develop. The more you squint, the deeper the lines get.” Sunglasses won’t only protect your skin, but it’s just good for your eyes. UV radiation is related to developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases.
Stop rubbing your eyes
Ughhhh another terrible, terrible habit that I need to break. I wear contacts, have very dry eyes, and allergy flare-ups several times a year. I rub my itchy eyes way too often because it feels sooo good This rubbing is too rough for the delicate skin around the eye and causes it to stretch eventually causing damage. If you have problems with dry eyes, see an eye doctor and have them recommend you eye drops that can help with the itchiness.
In your 20’s it’s easy to eat fast food and junk food all the time because you have a fast metabolism and generally good health. Remember that your skin is your largest organ and your diet affects its overall health. Work the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet and you’ll notice a big difference in how healthy your skin, hair and nails look. Your skin goes through a lot taking care of you so return the favor and nourish it well.
Thanks for reading! What do you do to take care of your skin? Anything I missed on this list?