Consider this a PSA for you, young 20-somethings: As my 20s have already passed me by, I realized (regrettably) that I did not spend enough time worshiping my wonderfully elastic and line-free skin until it was too late.
I know what you’re thinking: 32 is not that different than 28. That’s where you’re wrong, my youthful friends. Eighty-four is not that different than 80. One hundred and six is not that different than 102. But just like a 4-year-old and a fresh newborn have very little in common, the four years that separate the late 20s from early 30s feel similarly vast.
Every morning in my 30s I wake up and find new surprises that weren’t there the day before. Like when I’m washing dishes at the sink and notice my lower back start to ache. Or when I wake up and see lines on my neck that were literally not there when I went to bed. Or when I find a snow-white eyebrow hair. I could go on forever.
Since I wanted to make myself even worse, I reached out to Dr. Jessica Weiser of Weiser Skin in New York City who clued me in on what I should have been doing with my skin during my 20s.
If you’re under 30, there's still time to heed her advice.
Weiser said there are two easy but impactful things 20-somethings can do, neither of them requiring a ton of money or effort. Consistency is also key, she pointed out.
To start, “daily sunscreen will help prevent ultraviolet damage and avoid collagen breakdown and pigmentation,” she told TMRW. And yes, you need to wear sunscreen even in the winter and even when it’s raining. Getting into the habit will pay off in big ways in the future. A sunscreen with SPF 30 and up is great, and make sure you’re using a real sunscreen and not relying on makeup that says it has SPF in it.
But the most important thing?
Wash. Your. Face!!!!!
Take off your makeup every single night and “hydrate at bedtime to help skin regenerate overnight,” Weiser begs. This is something I never did in my 20s and I could kick myself. Even though I now wash my face and hydrate at night religiously, it can’t undo the decade I spent treating my skin as an afterthought.
And a bonus tip, this one from me: wash your pillowcases more often than you think you should to avoid dirt and grime and sweat sitting on your face all night.
In short, let's all channel Baz Luhrmann, who recorded his his iconic commencement speech dubbed “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" in 1999.
“Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it," he advises. "The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”
He later underlines the point, reiterating: "Trust me on the sunscreen!”
I wish I had (and I wear it now). So 20-somethings, heed the call! It’s not too late for you.